How to stop binge drinking
The peculiarity of binge drinking is that you cannot be sure for a while if you have quit drinking because you might have been in between binges anyway. And how do you know you’ll avoid the next binge that would have been? Also, in the befuddled state of a recently stopped drinker you may have trouble remembering when your last drink was. For this very reason my true last drink date is a mystery to me, but I estimated October 6 and this has stuck for 23 years as my anniversary.
Since my binges were virtually every weekend, by the time a month to six weeks had passed I thought there was a possibility I had stopped – and so it proved. Previously I was only staying sober for three or four days a week to earn the money to spend on booze at the weekend. I would just go to a hotel room and drink myself into a stupor.
During the early stage of the process it did occur to me that if I had drunk a good deal more than usual I could have been admitted as a publicly funded emergency to the same clinic where I couldn’t afford to be an inpatient – but was scraping by as an outpatient every Thursday for six weeks.
I was quite jealous of those pitiable creatures – mainly because they were off work – who didn’t know who or where they were for many days and then could hardly walk for another week or so. However, I later sponsored someone in a similar state and once I knew more about what it was like to be in that condition I wouldn’t have wanted it after all. He couldn’t get up the stairs except on his hands and knees for a solid week and he was an invalid for a good while after.
So, you can’t count the days as a binge drinker because of the thought that you might not have been drinking that day anyway. But otherwise stopping is the same for a binge drinker eventually: as the days stack up you reach a point you can hardly believe and you certainly don’t tell anyone else in case it’s bad luck, but it seems as though you could actually have stopped drinking and there’s a secret excitement and brief feeling of pleasure that it could be happening. That’s how I remember it now, but at the time my feelings were extremely numb. In any event, there was a realisation that this stopping drinking could be happening.