1) I did have a drink in June of 2016. More or less fell off the wagon for the rest of 2016, but hell Donald Trump was elected POTUS, so I cut myself some slack.
2) I've cut way back. I no longer drink alone - which has eliminated most of my drinking. I still might (or might not) imbibe if I'm around friends or doing something social. But all of my good friends live two timezones away, and I've been occupying my mind doing other things.
3) I still struggle with stopping at two drinks when around friends, but I don't really push past 5 anymore.
4) For me personally (and this is just for me) I found it unrealistic to say I'm never going to have a drink again, because I don't want to give this thing that much power. If I'm out and want to have a couple of beers, I'll do that but I'll stop at two. It's not always easy when you're "feeling it" to stop at two, and sometimes I don't. But when it's over, it's over. I don't go on three-day benders anymore.
5) The reason I don't go on three-day benders anymore is because as I've broken the habit of drinking every day, I got used to being in a better mood, feeling less toxic and having more patience with people. In other words, I missed it less and less. To the point where I almost am bummed when another friend comes to visit, because it's prolly going to interrupt my sobriety. Because that's what we do when we're together - we drink. I realize I can change that and have abstained sometimes, but also imbibe on those occasions and then quickly forgive myself.
6) Probably most helpful for me is a point system I've devised. My goal is to get 10 points every week. So every day, I get:
1) 1 point for working out
2) 1 point for not drinking
So for instance, if on Monday I do weights, an hour of walking on the treadmill, and don't drink, that's three (3) points right off the bat. If I only do treadmill and abstain, I get two (2) points. If I have my shit together, I can usually reach 10 points by Friday. But if it takes longer (like a friend is in town) it might take til Sunday. As long as I reach 10 points, I don't beat myself up. If I do nothing else except don't drink for a week, I get 7 points. Then I just have to get 3 workouts in and I'm good.
7) Again, this personally works for me, but I realize a lot of people can't stop once they start, in which case it's best to just not start.
8) I've realized I was in a very bad place (new state, just being fired, toxic relationship) and I used alcohol to self-medicate and escape. But even before all that, I drank every day anyway, even with a job and stable relationship. I was just a drinker.
9) After really examining my moods, I've figured out that somewhere along the line, alcohol was still fun, but I got very down the next day. Hangovers at my age last a minimum of two days. I don't know if I've developed some kind of alcohol intolerance, or am just old, but it seems inconceivable to me now to plan my weekend around drinking (something I used to do just a couple of years ago).
10) Professionally, I've opened a consultancy and work from home. I make less money, but also have a lot fewer meetings. I think this has helped me cope as well, as I don't come home pissed off at idiots I work with and bolt straight for the Skyy.
Again, I don't really have it all figured out, but I do like how I feel physically and mentally by eliminating...I don't know...90-95 percent of my drinking? I remember giving up alcohol for Lent the last 8 straight years or something and *craving* it, especially early on. I think I had dreams about it, because I made it forbidden fruit. I no longer have the cravings. If I crave anything, it's wanting to hurry up and get a few days of sobriety under my belt after drinking again.
Hope some of this makes sense to people. Again, I struggle now and again, especially with this idiot in office. But I know if I drink it'll help for a few minutes, but I'll never get to that mythological happy buzz peaking "place" I used to reach in my younger days. I just know I'll feel like shit tomorrow.