Non-Alcoholic – A Guest Post by Matthew Pitt

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My name is Matthew Pitt and I have not had a drink of alcohol since February 15, 2012. Yes I am the friend Lee talked about in his recent post Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr.

You may be smiling to yourself right now, amused that I started this reply with the stereotypical line from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It was deliberate, because I guess I was exactly that – an alcoholic – and guess what?

Most of you are too!

The problem with the term alcoholic is that it conjures up the image of a pissy-smelling tramp in threadbare clothing, staggering around the town centre glugging from a bottle of cheap sherry at 07:28 in the morning. But in reality many alcoholics are 30-year old men with perfectly good jobs, have three kids and never drink before 18:30 in the evening.

Alcoholics are ordinary people like you and I

When it came to drinking I was a late starter. Many of my friends had already been hitting the pubs and clubs for at least a year, some of the freakishly older looking ones for a year or two before those, but I stayed away until I had reached 17-years young. Of course I had downed the odd drink but I never went out drinking until I was 17.

My first actual memory of going out drinking, pits me in a now-defunct pub called The Wellington, a huge public house in Hunslet, Leeds that was a den for underage drinking. They were selling bottles of Carling for the paltry sum of £1 and I remember thinking how cool I was with my bottle of lager surrounded by burly men and scantily dressed ladies. Whilst I do not remember what went on during the night I do remember heading home to my parents’ house before proceeding to spew the contents of my stomach all over my bedroom.

How cool did I look now?

I’m not going to bore you to death with my drinking stories, of which I have plenty, but you need to know that since the age of 18 and up until February 15, 2012 I had not gone more than three days without consuming an alcoholic beverage. My parents are drinkers, all of my partners have been drinkers and I was one of those who liked a drink in the house on an evening after work. I would have just a glass or two of wine or sometimes the entire bottle, sometimes a couple of cold cans of beer, sometimes six, seven or eight.

You get the picture

Of late I had become more aware of my drinking habits and whilst I was not overly drinking a lot, the manner in which I drank, and the effects it had on me, were becoming a problem. Actually that’s inaccurate because my drinking was a problem for quite some time before I realised it and decided to take action. Whenever I drank, even in small quantities, I lost control. Now don’t think I had two pints of ale and then became so inebriated that I was a gibbering wreck, but whenever I drank it seemed to wake up this horrible little demon inside of me. This demon wanted more alcohol even when I myself knew I did not. It did not care that by drinking more it would upset my fiancé, it also had a complete disregard for how I would be tired, irritable and snappy at my kids and it certainly didn’t give two monkeys about me feeling rough.

I had tried, and failed miserably, to cut down on my drinking but I always found an excuse to carry on and would reason with myself by saying things like “I like the taste ,” or “I only drink to be sociable,” and other lines of complete nonsense! But two things happened that made me realise something had to change and change immediately. I had started to sneak alcohol into the house so that my partner would not see it. She is teetotal, for differing reasons, and although she mentioned my drinking to me on more than one occasion, she was not someone who would demand that I stop. But why was I sneaking alcohol into my own house, sometimes leaving it out of view at the back of the house so nobody would see it? Surely drinking is a perfectly acceptable thing to do and my drinking was not a problem was it?

The signs were obviously there

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was not, as it is with many, a massive drinking session that got out of hand. Instead I decided to stop drinking after I had gone out for a curry with some friends. Although I was driving I drank three pints of Abbott’s Real Ale – naughty I know but I was a hardened drinker so felt invincible – had my curry and drove home. But on the way home I drove past my house and headed to the 24-hour Asda where I bought two large bottles of Magners cider, which I believe are 750ml. On the way I remember actually saying that I didn’t need to drink any more alcohol because I’d feel rough and I had a lot of work on the following day. But remember that little demon I mentioned earlier? Well he wanted a drink and he was in control so we were drinking whether I liked it or not.

The cider was consumed and I stayed up until 01:30 in the morning playing on the Xbox before heading to bed stinking of alcohol and curry and apparently snoring like a pregnant sow. The following morning the kids woke me at 06:00 and I felt awful and vowed, once again, to sort my drinking out – to regain control. Notice how I never said I was going to stop; just retake control. This is when I downloaded the book, Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allan Carr, after a recommendation from Lee Davy. I already knew from speaking to Lee that part way through the book he tells you that you cannot control your drinking but I was going to be different. In fact I started the book with the intention of being able to say to Lee that I had managed to exorcise the demon inside and I had become a “normal” drinker again.

I’m not going to write about the book, in this forum, because it is up to you to read it and apply it to your own life. But as I sit here, typing, I can honestly say, hand-on-heart, that I cannot ever see myself drinking alcohol again! I even have a bottle of non-alcoholic beer in my fridge that I cannot bare to open – it seems so pointless. Nor am I going to sit here and preach to you about the negatives of alcohol, and there are many, because every person is different – all I can do is quickly explain to you the effects stopping drinking have had on me.

I have a new lease of life, a renewed passion for everything I do. My energy levels are at an all-time high and I am churning out work at an alarming rate. My blood pressure, which used to be on the high side, is now almost perfect, I’ve lost 7lbs in weight and I feel like a completely new person. Actually that’s not entirely true because I just feel like me again. For so long I was living in a mist, a fog that clouded absolutely everything that I did or couldn’t be bothered doing and the urge to have a drink is completely non-existent, it’s quite spooky to be honest and I still cannot get my head around how quickly and seamlessly this change in mindset happened to me.

I’m so happy about my current alcohol-free state. When I first told Lee I was reading the book I admitted to him that I was scared. Maybe that’s not the right word maybe I should have used apprehensive or anxious? I just could not imagine my life without alcohol and I am sure there are people who read this who are sat like a nodding dog thinking they might read the book and try to control their drinking, or maybe they want to read the book but are worried that without drink their lives would not be complete. My personal advice would to for everyone who has ever been near alcohol in their lives to read it, whether or not you have any intention or inclination to stop or reduce your alcohol intake, because if anything it will open your mind and let you realise a few things about alcohol and the drinks industry.

I am more than willing to share my experiences with you, such as going to the pub as a non-drinker, my observations of drinkers now I am free of the shackles drink attaches to you but those will have to be for another post as this one has dragged on longer than expected. Feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer anything I can as soon as I can.

My name is Matthew Pitt and I have not had a drink of alcohol since February 15 – the day I got my life back.

If you are interested in quitting alcohol then contact me at lee.davy@btopenworld.com to enquire about my six-week programme aimed at helping you create better habits surrounding your drinking.

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