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    Does it usually take several attempts before you realise what you need to do?

    I remember five years ago going into a clinic visibly shaking and nervous with a hangover and off sick from work. I’d been binging every night for six months and had trashed my body. I wanted to quit because I didn’t like the hangover. I went back to drinking, avoiding being hungover at times when I needed to be “with it”. I’d just have a few drinks when I was in work the following day rather than a binge.

    Three years ago I decided to cut back as I had become fat, I didn’t want to be the fat drinker as I had lost all confidence. I went back to drinking but irregularly and having more dry days than drinking days, avoiding drinking all the time but saving up for the weekends when I would go hell for leather at it.

    A year ago I decided to cut back further as despite no hungovers at crucial times (eg, work, family events) and losing the weight, I was seemingly always unhappy, irritable until the next drinking session. I enjoyed having the few weeks off at a time and getting my life back in order – then of course I could drink again, things weren’t so bad. But I couldn’t enjoy things like I used to, and a few days drinking again would set me right back a year or two.

    Now I feel like I don’t want to drink because I just don’t want to. I’ve done all the things I used to do while drinking and found them as much fun, and didn’t leave me down, depressed, bloated for ages afterwards. I want to stay sober, confident, happy and myself.

    It actually feels in a strange way that my alcoholism has got better over the last five years – of course the physical symptoms have got worse, but I’m sure my averaged intake has been gradually declining. I never hit the severe bottom, instead it has been a gradual grind down. The realisation was probably made five years ago, but I needed to learn for myself what the best way through this was, and that was just not to drink full stop.

    I’ve noticed how when I’m not drinking, I have better friendships with better people than when I’m drinking and having drunk friendships with fellows drinkers.

    I think I’m ready. Thanks to all the posters who have said words of wisdom, they do take a while to sink in but eventually they work for us.

    3 days today, but not counting any more.

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