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Anyone have any strategies that have helped them either quit or reduce alcohol intake? I'd like to lose some weight and take my training/racing to a higher level while I still relatively young. Maybe just reading some personnel accounts would be helpful. From the social drinker to those who are/used to be dependent...any insight would be appreciated. Thx!
 

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I was a binge drinker so each week I'd consume nothing from Mon-Thu and then convince myself that that proved I didn't have a problem & then get wasted Fri/Sat/Sun. I tried cutting back, social drinking etc. but it never worked. In the end I just quit, while on vacation (the hardest time for me to skip booze). That was just over 16 years ago. It was much easier to just not drink compared to drinking responsibly.
 

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Never Give Up!
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Growing up, getting married, having kids, drink responsible, lost the taste, lost the desire, lost the hangovers... stopped drinking!
 

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While young I drank to get wasted. One night as I was being taken to jail (again) the booking guy started talking to me like an old friend, I guess he had seen me often enough. Shamed the hell out of me, never drank again, that was 33 years ago.

OP if alcohol isn't a problem for you than just stop drinking, simple as that. Now if you have a problem with alchol then everyone's ones advise will be different.

Regardless of your alcohol consumption the short answer is if you don't want to drink then don't.
 

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The only way to stop is to discontinue.

Depending on what your relationship with alcohol is, it might be unfathomable to say goodbye forever. Best friend and worst enemy all in one.

So resolve instead to take a break for a period and revaluate. I committed to 3 months, extended to 6 months, at that point I decided to go a full year and re-evaluate. At that point you've tricked yourself and discovered you can live just fine without it.

It was hard out of the gate, but got progressively easier. Hard to imagine, but it becomes a non-thought. Life is good. It would be silly to regress and open that door again, there's nothing missing here now. 2 years.

Think about a replacement special drink. I went Perrier, but got tired of lugging bottles around and constantly recycling. Got a SodaStream machine and have 4 bottles in my fridge at any time. I love the bubbles.

Last, for some reason I did not see a weight drop despite the massive removal of calories and increased exercise time when not in a bar or hungover. Hardly matters anymore.
 

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You just gotta quit. Don't try to quit because without the commitment a try is almost sure to fail.

In my case a minister told me that "I was a detriment to society", and I felt that the only way to prove him wrong was to quit. That was about 30yrs ago and he may have saved my life. I'm still gonna die one day, but the quality of my life improved immeasurably.
 

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Quitting beer was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was drinking at least a 6-pack during the week and over a 12 pack on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I had some blood work done about 8 months ago and my liver enzymes were through the roof. My doctor said if I continue on my current pace of alcohol consumption... my liver would be toast in 10 years. I quit in March and my latest blood test (June) showed normal liver enzyme levels. I'm 43 now.. and I'd rather live into my 80's without beer than die in my 50's with beer. I still crave a beer after a bike ride.. or after mowing the lawn or after a steak dinner, but it's getting easier to cope with as time goes on.
 

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If you have the will power to quit, why don't you have the will power to just have one drink?
Well, the thing is that it's too big of a gamble for me to make. Maybe I can just enjoy one drink occasionally, but maybe that one drink will awaken the demons.

One drink ain't worth that kind of a gamble.
 

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drinkings never been a problem for me, stopping, that's the problem.
 

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Like many here, when I was younger and single, I did not use alcohol responsibly. Often, when I went out I went out to get drunk. There were a couple of reasons for that:
- It was a habit. IOW, that's what "going out" or "partying" meant to me.
- I was lonely, and that feeling kind of went away while drinking.
- I'm very introverted, so being drunk was often the only way to "loosen up" (related to the previous, obviously).
- I went out with friends who got drunk, did drugs, etc.
- It was a way to relieve stress.
- It was something to do.

When I started dating my future wife, that changed many parts of the equation.
- When we went out, we went out to be with each other. We might have wine or beer with a meal, but being drunk alters your personality, and we were trying to get to know each other - and we were liking what we were finding. Not to say we didn't get drunk on occasion, but it wasn't the reason why we went out.
- I wasn't lonely.
- I was dealing with one person, or a small group of people, rather than a crowded bar or club.
- I didn't go out with my "party friends" as often, and soon stopped altogether.
- Although I'd always had other ways to relieve stress (exercise, reading, etc.), now I had someone to talk to when I was stressed (or, just to hold).
- I had better things to do (and, better things to do the morning after).

Your situation may be totally different from mine - you don't provide much information, so instead of giving advice I'm just relating my experience - it may have no relevance to yours at all. In my case, reducing my consumption of alcohol was organic - it was a matter of becoming more mature, finding better things to do on the weekend, getting out of the habit of getting drunk, and hanging out with different people.

I'm fortunate that I am not an alcoholic, so although I certainly abused alcohol, I never needed to do so. Within the past 4 years, a close family member began having trouble with alcohol, and that person is an alcoholic, so I now drink very rarely and only when I'm not around that person (i.e. when I'm in another city). The experience of watching someone struggle with addiction, and being seriously affected by that person's addiction myself, has completely changed my attitude towards alcohol. It is no longer a stress reliever, in fact when drinking I'm very self-aware and so rarely have more than one drink, and I haven't had more than 3 drinks in one sitting in years. So, the heartbreak of dealing with an addict can also lead to a change in the way you deal with alcohol, but I sincerely hope that you never have to go through that.



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spend all your money on bikes or bike related items. Then you won't have money to spend on alcohol or food for that matter.
 

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Anyone have any strategies that have helped them either quit or reduce alcohol intake? I'd like to lose some weight and take my training/racing to a higher level while I still relatively young. Maybe just reading some personnel accounts would be helpful. From the social drinker to those who are/used to be dependent...any insight would be appreciated. Thx!
This is a good thread. Of all the most successful years of cycling for me (racing as a Cat. 3 for instance in my mid-20s) I was a non-drinker. Honestly, and I'm not sure what it is, when I drink even if moderately I'm actually a pretty shitty rider. I don't recover as well and feel sluggish. I will also tend to eat more even after one beer. The last 7 months or so I've had about 4 or 5 beers per week but have realized that I'll never be the masters athlete that I want to be even with that intake. I completely understand and sympathize with your situation.

In terms of strategies, I would really try to delve into your passion, which I assume is cycling. Get involved more in the social aspect of the sport and find some non-drinking friends on a cycling team if you can. Maybe even find a good coach. All those things really helped me stop thinking about partying at all anymore when I got serious about racing again in my mid 20s and stopped drinking.

Finally, I would also suggest meditation as a way to relieve stress, instead of alcohol. There are tons of great meditation books out there these days. Start with some of Jack Kornfield's titles.

The biggest reason to not drink for me at this stage, honestly, is my weight. They are just these empty calories piling up on one another, especially at night. I have friends who are amazing cyclists and athletes who drink quite a bit, but for others of us it just doesn't work.

Good luck! PM me if you need any other ideas. I've been through the whole struggle.
 

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For those that have suggested merely "stop drinking" or "if you have the will power to quit, why don't you have the will power to have just one drink?", you haven't experienced addiction.

I remember in high school biology class back in the '70's, we had a substitute teacher who talked to us about his alcohol addiction. He explained to us that even if you have ONE drink a day, and you never get drunk, merely the NEED or desire for that one drink a day classifies you as an alcoholic.

To the OP, I don't have an answer yet I understand the difficulty of quitting ANYTHING. You could try reading some self-help books to understand your issue, and often understanding the source is enough to provide the cure.

I grew up with an alcoholic parent; that was enough to cure me of ever desiring alcohol. I'm 56.
 
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