I wake up on the morning of day 1. I remember the plan. Today I make an important change to my life. No more beer or wine.

Today is the final day of my holiday and the day I set to quit.

Previously I had set it to be the first day of my holiday (so that I would be fully present for my wife on our break).

Previously to that, I had set it to be a couple of weeks prior to the holiday (in order to lose a few kilos and be beach fit).

Previously to that, I had set …blah blah blah so many dates, for so many reasons, none of which came to pass.

Enough is enough. End of talk. Stop stalling.

Shit, shit, shit, bloody shit, shit, panic … No, let’s be positive, this is great, it will be fine. Shit, shit, f**k, shit.

The clatter of panicked negotiation, second thoughts and double talk in my head is intense. I am scared and full of doubt. I remember I want this but I begin to forget why.

Why should the thought of ceasing to poison me and slowly screw up my life cause me such a reaction? If ever I needed confirmation that I do, in fact, have a problem with alcohol, this is it.

I argue with myself:

Right. Here we go…

I can do this.

But then maybe I can’t?

I don’t want to do this.

Yes, I do.

Or maybe it would be better to start tomorrow?

No. Today.

OK, today. Sure. Sure? No. Yes. Yes, today. Get on with it!

Will I be able to?

Yes. Definitely. Hopefully. I’ll try.


OMG! NO WAY! Impossible! Crazy! Not necessary. Help! Shit, shit, crap, help. What am I doing!?

The idea of permanently stepping away from alcohol is beyond me today. Panic begins to creep in, and with it, thoughts of defeat before I have even started

Breathe Duncan. Calm down Duncan, breathe. This is fine. You have this. You can do this. Slow down. Baby steps are all that’s required right now. Slow the f**k down Duncan!

I re-negotiate the plan.  I amend it to: get off the alcohol-merry-go-round, for a nonspecific length of time, and, whilst off it, re-evaluate my relationship with it.

I re-negotiate again. Forget about days or weeks or months. Let’s concentrate on the present. After all, the past is gone, the future isn’t here yet, and all we have is now. This moment. This day.

Let’s go with 24 hours (of which I’ll sleep through at least 8 of them). That’s a good enough target! It’s much less scary. It feels achievable. I’ll start with that.


 Quitting alcohol forever is the ‘big fight’, and big fights are made up of smaller fights. Today I begin with a smaller fight.

Right now I just need to get my wheels rolling. Not necessarily fast, just moving. I just need to begin and get through today. I will make tomorrow’s decisions, tomorrow.


Head down. Get through it. Get it done. Go to bed as soon as possible.

Drink water like it’s going out of fashion. I can easily go through 3-4 litres per day. Beautiful, cleansing, refreshing, life-giving water. Wash your system through. Re-hydrate. Sluice those toxins out. Think of water as a gift which you are bringing your body.

Be MEGA kind to yourself. Keep the bar low where duties and chores are concerned. Do enough to cease the world from combusting around you, and only that. Less is more.

Treat yourself to something nice. A bubble bath, a movie, a toasty, a stretch …


Avoid feeling overwhelmed.

I found that in the early days one of the biggest dangers was feeling overwhelmed by ….stuff! ..worries, deadlines, duties, taking on too much, fears, thinking too far into the future, difficult conversations, intense high adrenalin TV shows, other people’s stuff going on around me etc.

Avoid scenarios that wind you up, raise your blood pressure or worry you.  They are for another day.