Club Soda members were astounded with member David’s before-and-after photos five (or now six!) months into his alcohol free journey. We talked to him about giving up the booze, his day-to-day life and his goals for the future.
How long have you been alcohol-free? What made you stop drinking?
I will have been alcohol free for 6 months on Saturday 8th April. Before I gave up drinking I had known for a few years that I was drinking too much and too often. I had tried to cut back, have days or weeks off but I found that soon I’d be back to drinking most nights and weekends. The reason I finally stopped was over an incident on a night out. I don’t like to recall the events of that evening but that was certainly the moment I said to myself “this has to stop now”.
What was your biggest fear about quitting?
I don’t honestly think I had any fears, I knew it was time to stop drinking and so my mind was as ready as it could be. I suppose I had a concern about being around people and alcohol but I made the decision to not change any other aspect of my life other than keeping it sober.
How has going alcohol-free changed your day-to-day life?
Going alcohol free has been one of the best things I have ever done. Sure, I had great times drinking alcohol but being AF has given me so much more. As a family, we have much more time together. One of the things I enjoy the most is being the driver anywhere we go. My health has certainly improved, I don’t feel as tired. I think one of the biggest changes is how positive I feel about everything. My mind is free and clean and it makes everything in life much more enjoyable.
Do you think there is a stigma around men who don’t drink?
I thought there would have been more of a stigma yes, but I haven’t encountered any negativity since going AF. I still do all the things I used to do i.e. going to watch the rugby, nights out with ‘the boys’. The bonus is I go home with change in my pocket and a clear head and no regrets.
You got a big reaction to your before and after photos. How has not drinking changed you physically and in terms of self-confidence?
That photo was a real eye opener for me. I knew that while I was drinking I was putting weight on, I just never realised how much. When I stopped drinking I thought I needed to stay focused, and one way to do that was by exercising. I dusted off the weights in my garage and was bought an exercise bike for Christmas. I never realised how much weight I had lost until I compared the 2 pictures. My confidence is now at an all-time high. I can shop without feeling self-conscious and find I hold my head just a little higher than before. I have a son who is 4 and I was always worried I’d be the ‘fat dad’ picking up in the playground, and hopefully now he won’t think that. He loves his superheroes and I want to be a hero in his eyes.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to give up drinking but didn’t think they could do it?
I think the best advice I could give is to talk to people, family and friends especially. Don’t have any secrets. I know I probably talk more about not drinking then I ever did about drinking. I tried AA for a while and while it gave me a great start on my AF journey, I personally found it wasn’t for me. Club Soda however was perfect, a wide range of people of different backgrounds all pulling together and sharing their advice and needs. I have also found Club Soda has given me a platform to offer advice and opinions to people just starting out on their own personal journey. The Facebook page is helpful as you can pretty much speak to someone 24/7 so any time you need to chat, rant or just say hi theres someone there for you.
I know this is a more personal choice but I have also avoided any AF beers or wines. I was of the mindset that if I’m giving up I’m giving up completely first. In the future I would like to try the AF drinks out there but personally I needed to ‘drain the body’ of everything in order to succeed.
My goal is to remain alcohol free and grow stronger both mentally and physically. I’d also like to be able to both inspire and help others who are wanting to reduce or stop their drinking habits. I’ve been successful through being open and speaking to people in similar positions. Ultimately I want to be around for my family and my son especially for a long time. I want him to be proud of his Dad.
If you want to share your own before and after story, get in touch! You can email Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.