6 Years

Hourglass and calendar

Apologies for the lack of recent blog posts. For those of you who are familiar with my posts you’ll know that, for me, they are predominantly a way to explore new ideas and theories. The reason for there not being any posts for so long is that, having written Alcohol Explained 2, I don’t really feel like I have much more to say on this subject. I have no idea how long this will last, maybe I really have written all I can on the subject, or maybe I just need a bit of time to mull and think before getting stuck in again. I hope the latter is the case because I enjoy dissecting, analysing and writing about this issue, but who knows.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that today marks 6 years of me not drinking. The 16th of February 2014 was my first day not drinking. I went out for a business lunch on Tuesday or Wednesday and just didn’t stop drinking for 5 days. I called in sick at work and drank until I passed out and started again as soon as I came to. Over and over and over. To this day I don’t know why it happened. I had previously arranged days off work to just sit around drinking all day, but this was totally unplanned. It almost felt like something that happened to me and was outside my control, rather than something I planned and instigated. I went for a long boozy lunch, went back to work, went home, then it all becomes blurred.

I remember at one point waking up in the middle of the night and getting up to drink more. While I was doing that I looked at my emails and saw I’d been invited to an interview at 9 the following morning. For some reason instead of declining I decided to go along. I remember having vodka and redbull in the Wetherspoons in Liverpool Street station beforehand in an effort to sort myself out. Initially, I felt ok but by the time I got into the interview, it all started to fall apart. I realised when I was in there that I wasn’t going to be able to take my overcoat off without running a serious risk of falling over so I just wore it for the whole interview. I dread to think what I must have looked like, physically intoxicated, stinking of alcohol, sweating away with my overcoat on.

Another memory is waking up in the middle of the night and being afraid to move because when I did so my wife would realise I was awake and the arguments and recrimination would start.

man holding his neck is distress

I laid there without moving for as long as I possibly could but eventually I had to get up to go to the toilet. When I did so I realised there was no one else in the room with me, and when I walked past my boy’s room I saw that they weren’t there either. So I got up and drank some more.

I remember getting Chinese food delivered at one point but being unable to eat it. I remember drinking over the sink and being sick into it. I remember my first night not drinking, lying there awake all night long, and being unable to eat or sleep for several days afterward.

And here I am now 6 years later. Life isn’t perfect, far from it, but I am far better at dealing with all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. It isn’t all plain sailing, sometimes I still feel like I’m going to pieces, but it happens far less often. And even when things really do start to go wrong at least I know that they are going wrong because life is sometimes like that; it isn’t going wrong because of something I’ve done that I ought not to have done. Yes I make mistakes, but I don’t make the same mistake over and over again, week in and week out. My mistakes now are genuine errors and I don’t beat myself up over them. I’m not deliberately making the same mistake again and again and again and justifying it with excuses.

I am fitter than I was 6 years ago, I’m slimmer than I was 6 years ago, I have less grey hair than I did 6 years ago. I also used to suffer from sores in my mouth, I was plagued with mouth ulcers and a sore tongue. I had it all the time. I went to the doctor who didn’t seem to have any idea what it was. I suffered from this for several years. Whatever it was it cleared up, never to return, when I stopped drinking.

For those who are wondering, I didn’t get that job. But after I stopped drinking I did end up getting another job, then another one after that. Would I have got those jobs if I’d still been drinking? Who knows. But what I can say is that I would never have flourished in my current job in the way I have had I still been drinking. My current job is hard work and I know it would overwhelm me if I was suffering from post-drinking anxiety half the time. As it is I am able to approach it with just the right mix of confidence and apathy that is required for those slightly more stressful jobs.

Spring daisy and sunshine.

And that’s it really. 6 years have gone by. My marriage has survived which it wouldn’t otherwise have, my two boys are having a very different upbringing than they otherwise would have, and I’m waking up feeling good (most of the time) and that positive feeling lasts all day long (again, most of the time). When times get bad I no longer reach for a chemical to change the way I feel. I go for a walk, I read a book, or I just put up with it. And sometimes, when you strip all the rest of it away, that’s exactly what it comes down to; just gritting your teeth and putting up with things instead of looking for some short-term relief that’s riddled with downsides.


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50 Responses

  1. I so needed this today! It is the middle of the night and I am struggling not to drink. You reminded me why I don’t need to. I loved your first book. I have the second but haven’t read it yet. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. You have set an excellent example for us. I so appreciate everything you have done. Wishing you all the happiness you so richly deserve!

    1. Here’s a tip for you ( it worked for me at times) Imagine the bottle of booze, be it beer, spirits or whatever you drink, crawling with bacteria and slime from a scummy pond mixed in with it, all that yuck swirling around in there, close your eyes and imagine you can see it all magnified. It is a great way to rewire the subconscious into seeing it as poison. Good luck, and remember, it doesn’t matter how many times you try, as long as you KEEP trying xx

  2. Well done you ! 18 months for me, your book was and still is one of the most powerful tools in my toolbox for recovery, I can absolutely relate to all you have said. I would drink for days at a time, the last binge I came round from was the worst shock, there were 5 empty litre bottles bottles of vodka in my kitchen and I had no idea where or how I got 4 of them , I remember the first then that was it . I can also relate to the drinking while vomiting, isn’t it just the most bizarre thing, our body is desperately trying to expel the poison, and our head is telling us to keep drinking it . Now I wake up sober, healthy and grateful to be alive. Thank you for this today, It is always a happy reminder that I beat addiction.

  3. What an excellent post. Thanks William.
    Very much enjoyed your book, and indeed have been plugging it to everyone I meet.
    Didn’t realise there was a AE2.
    Those stories about multiple day drinking and the horrors and delusions during the night make me shudder. As a journalist, I had an expense account for business lunches; in fact, it was my job to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with people – as long as I got the story. There was one occasion where a ‘lunch’ lasted over 12 hours.
    I used to have a 3-day thing. The first day started with a long lunch. When I woke up on the 2nd day, I felt so bad I had to have a Guinness as ‘hair of the dog’. I stubbornly rejected the hangover and drank to postpone it. (My wife would dutifully go out and buy me a 4-pack. She hoped one day I would stop.)
    By the 3rd day, if I was being responsible, I would face the hangover and would try to ‘come down’ with a combination of low-strength lager and ‘sipping’ whisky until I felt calm enough to sleep.
    It’s only been two months for me, but I have found it pretty easy thanks to your book.
    As you say, this cannot be done by willpower alone; you have to analysis the chemical processes, freeze frame the drinking day/ occasion and change your fundamental beliefs.
    Once you’ve understood that, it is hard to contemplate going back.
    Thanks again for your excellent work.

  4. Good on u. I am hoping to get where you are in terms of being sober for 6 years. Life is stressful and alcohol would be my release.

  5. The therapistol I used to see was such an AA groupie and it annoyed me so much. It was AA or nothing . You really are a breathe of fresh air!

  6. Thank you for the e mail. I never binged for days but am dealing with a beer hangover right now. Funny how one wakes up and thinks “I have to stop drinking” only to stay sober for a few days to a week and then do it again.
    Your first book is great! I will be looking for the second one. I’ll keep trying one day at a time.

  7. That is exactly what I needed to read today. My dr told me I cannot drink anymore and sometimes that drives me crazy. It’s only 1 month so far. I don’t want to relapse, if I want a functioning liver… I’m on Librium for now. I feel like I’ll always need something like that. Thanks for the update and so glad you’re doing well now!

  8. Hello William,
    I herewith want to express my gratitude to you for taking your time to write and to explain the black side of how alcohol works in our body and brain and how in the end it succeeds to make us its hostage.
    Thanks to you I have stopped all consumption of alcohol.
    And only by doing so I realise now that our society needs still a lot of time to evolve its position versus alcohol. Just look at how much time was needed to change the public opinion on smoking.
    You did really a lot these past years and I can fully understand that you need a break to load your batteries ;-).
    I think that you a very precious person for the development of public opinion. We need more people like you that are generous and invest their time to spread information on how alcohol really works.
    Thank you again and I hope to hear from you in the future.
    Warm greetings,

  9. Congratulations upon achieving six years of sobriety, but most of all for the contributions you have made to those of us in recovery and to those that are still suffering. I look forward to your postings.


  10. Take care of yourself
    I’m in awe of what you have done for you and your family
    It’s a marvellous achievement and not at all easy
    Louise ?

  11. Congratulations Will!

    That’s truly amazing! I enjoyed reading your blog today. I can relate so much. I read the story of the girl who nearly opened the door of an aircraft and was sentenced to two years in jail! I know it was dangerous and probably very scary for passengers, but the responsibility for the passengers lies with the airline surely? It could have easily been anyone of us when drinking to the point they blackout or can’t remember a thing. About time they stopped serving alcohol on flights and take some responsibility. I just hope she gets the support she needs. I wish I could pass on to her your book and all the other amazing books that got me to 8 months sober. Keep going Will. You’re an inspiration. Emma

  12. Haven’t been on this site for a while but really enjoyed the read. Thanks for posting your 6 year point. Inspirational.

  13. Perhaps the science of alcohol can be explained and over with but your support, dry humour and frankness is absolutely intriguing and soooo comforting that yes we are in the right track and I am so inspired by you . Thank you

  14. I’m overwhelmed at the honesty of pieces like this which I still find so inspiring and encouraging, so thank you for sharing. ?

  15. Thank you for your post. It has given me a glimmer of hope that I too can regain control of my life. I have purchased AE 1 & 2, and, if I’m honest, I’ve put off reading as yet as I’ve wanted to continue drinking! However, today I’ve, yet again, woken up full of self loathing and remorse after drinking to get drunk last night..again. Your 6 year achievement is fantastic, congratulations. I feel confident yours books are going to play a big part in helping me one day being able to say the same. Best wishes.

  16. Thank you for your honesty! I really enjoy your posts but I understand if you are moving on too! You are one of the many people/authors that have helped me get where I am today at 2 years 4 months and a day without alcohol! Thank you for doing what you do! Thank you for your help!
    Congratulations to you on 6 years! I wish more people I love would ditch alcohol but as we all know it has to be the individual’s decision to do so! The best decision I have ever made! ?????????

  17. I can only concur. 100 percent concur mate. Great job all round and more so for dragging so many kicking and screaming into the light! Cheers CW

  18. SIX MONTHS for me after reading (listening) to your book on Audible. After hearing what alcohol really is… and REALLY DOES TO THE HUMAN BODY (honest, I did not know!) … that was it, and I stopped swallowing poison that day! It was EASY!!! seriously EASY! There are so many difficult things in life. Not swallowing poison is not one of them. My “I want a glass of wine right now thoughts” last what, 15 seconds and don’t return. Bit deal. Today, I am happy that I did not have a glass of wine last night. And tomorrow I will be happy that I did not have a glass of wine tonight. It is over. OVER! I have my life back. I look SO much better. I feel so much better. (Night and day really!) And I enjoy so much more than I did when I swallowed poison nearly everyday. Eyes are open now to the advertisements, the ads, people, etc. Ha. I feel so strong and feel that I have a beautiful strength that other people don’t have. They cannot buy this strength. You earn it by not swallowing poison.

    1. Wow! What a great post! ? I totally agree, my life is back, I’m a better mum, friend, work colleague, everything from not drinking poison.

  19. Wonderful to read your blog. I stopped drinking at midnight this past New Year’s Eve so it’s only been 6.5 weeks. I read both your books and they have been a great help to me. My husband and I are currently in Mexico on vacation, where the booze flows everywhere. Tequila drinks, two for one, buckets of beer, everyone seemingly walking around with a beer in their hands. I realize and know alcohol is a poison and governments make billions of money off the revenue. I love waking up with “no” hangovers and ready for the day.
    I must say I’m still very much recovering but have support of my whole family and friends which is a huge help. Talking about it is the most important part for me.

  20. Happy Soberversary, William! Your book was extremely helpful to me when I quit 2 years ago. And you’re right-a bad day sober is better than a wonderful day spent drunk as a skunk (& then enduring the hangover). Thank you for all you’ve done for others!

  21. I thank you for this latest blog. In spite of you thinking you may no longer have anything to say about stopping drinking and alcohol in general, it seemed to me you said quite a bit here. Well put and well said

    Thank you

  22. Wow- this blog was definitely worth waiting for William! Awesome read and quite inspiring! Love both the Alcohol Explained books and getting ready to order the book on eating and dieting! Both of your books have turned me around and I hope to be able to write to you one day and say I have 6 years under my belt. Going on 10 months now. Thank you a hundred times over!!!!

    1. Isn’t that the truth! Ten months is super great. I’m at six. Now just fleeting micro urges to drink which dissipate like whisps of smoke in the air. No question life is MUCH better without wine in it. (Society is a drug (drink) pusher!)

  23. Thanks so much for sharing that with us William. It has been very helpful to me in terms of cementing my decision not to drink.

  24. Thank you – you’ve given so much with both your books and your posts. You need to take time for YOU as well. Wishing you and your family much happiness xxx

  25. I was so excited to read your post because , as you said , you haven’t posted for a while . Just seeing your name and knowing that you’re still alcohol free gives me immense encouragement .
    Keep posting ( even if you think you have nothing to say ) . Just seeing your name reminds me of why I stopped drinking .
    Thank you for you .

  26. William, you are a legend, thanks for your very honest post. I am so grateful for your recovery and that you went on to write your books. Well done on your six years, you have helped me reach nearly 14 months and counting. And every day I’m thankful. I bought your book for my friend the other day and she’s just texting me to say she’s looking forward to reading it. I don’t understand why your book has not been picked up by a publisher and loads of newspapers – you are a hidden
    gem. After quitting drink 28th Dec 18, I re-read your Diet and Fitness book in December and decided to start 2020 meat free – another new year project! Your book made so much sense and I am loving my new lighter and easier digestion! Haha. If you could just write a book on compulsive gambling for a dear friend of mine that would be the icing on the cake. Thanks again and bless you x

  27. Thank you so much, you give us all hope, and it does matter when you try to not drink, that indeed, you can do it.. and have a happy life.

  28. Hi William (and everyone else!)
    Congrats on your 6 year milestone and all the accumulated proof of concept insights that you have gained along the way and shared in both your books. I have not posted before but I wanted to take a moment to say how much of a powerful force your writings have been in helping me finally eliminate the desire to drink, not to simply muscle through the overwhelming urge using sheer will power. As we all know, pushing that boulder uphill constantly is difficult if not impossible to continue long term. Once the understanding occurs of how alcohol is working inside of us (like a wrecking ball) regarding the brains chemical response to the toxin and the resulting imbalance and need for more it really hits home. Once you know how the tricks work the magic show isn’t quite the same and that relates to the whole concept of not being able to start again after a long break and expect things will be ‘reset’ and you will be back to normal. I have done that in the past and sure enough I’d be pretty much right back where I left off with going from a few beers a night (that lasts about a week and was a mighty effort that I was feeling proud of…a warning sign in itself…but I would be back to 15-20 beers a day in no time. Like riding a bike, it all comes right back to you!)

    I was just out for a run today with a friend who has also stopped drinking and I referenced your points about the subconcsious being easily triggered to respond to a reminder to drink which alerts the conscious mind in the form of a craving. We can’t help the subconscious from doing what is has been programmed to do but the conscious part we can recoginixe adn think about with the knowledge that it’s a normal function that we by no means need to give into. That new habit becomes much easier through repetition until it happens with barely any effort.

    Your points on FAB is important stuff as we all share the same tendency to filter out the bad and only remember the good in life which is a great trick of the mind in most ways but not when it means wiping out the endless reasons and examples of why drinking is not a fit in our life in any way.
    At any rate, you could charge any price you wanted for that book and it would be a fair deal for the benefits it brings to not only the reader who uses it to stop drinking and get their life and best version of themselves back but also for all the spouses and children who are a beneficary of the outcome. I know I reccommend your book to everyone I speak with that is looking to “cut back, slow it down, lay off , take it easy, chill out, dial it down, etc” or any of the other expressions we use when first starting to come to the realization what we started doing for fun and relaxation has shifted into something that is no longer either of those things.
    To use a literary analogy, we are all the author of our own life stories and each day is a fresh page in which we get to choose what’s to be written. I know my finished book will have plenty of chapters filled with plot twists and interesting characters soaked in alcohol and while I have no desire to rewrite any of those chapters I also have no interest in repeating them. I can say with certainity that the story has moved on…and what good is a book where the story never changes anyway?

  29. Thanks William, what you wrote sounds exactly the sort of things I did when drinking.
    9 months sober here and hope to get where you are, any advice would be appreciated.

  30. This is a brilliant blog post, thank you so much for sharing it with us, we can all relate in some way, I’m sure. I am 3 and a bit years alcohol free and sometimes I think ‘could I have just one’, what would it be like, maybe I’d be sensible this time? Posts like this remind me that it just isn’t worth it and it wouldn’t add anything to my life, far from it. This post reminds me that all alcohol does is take away. Thank you again.

  31. Way to go mate!
    Let us know when you will be across the pond here in the US.
    I would love to shake your hand.
    Sincerely , Lark

  32. Thank you William. I read excerpts from your books each night. Good hearing from you again and Congratulations…

  33. Thank you William, I am now on Day 12 AF, having started drinking again before Christmas….
    I know you said that AE2 will be available on Audible, but I haven’t managed to find it yet.
    You have helped so many people understand about alcohol, in a way that other resources haven’t. I look forward to reading or listening to AE2 – I know it will be brilliant. I am in the process of psychotherapy to work through the reasons why I was using alcohol to cope with life. I think I will get there this time…
    Congratulations on six years and thank you for helping us on our journeys!

  34. Another great post William, thanks for writing. After reading your first book I am 2 years AF and I am happier now than I ever have been. It’s the only writing on the subject that really spoke to me enough to motivate me to give up. I love hearing your updates and reflections it prompts me to do the same. I have so much more energy now, I can think clearer and my fitness has improved more than I thought was possible. Life isn’t always plain sailing, but similarly I see it as part of what is and don’t turn to alcohol now which only made it harder and longer to overcome the bumps. Always grateful to you for that huge gift!

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William Porter

William wrote Alcohol Explained to share his approach on recovering from alcohol dependency.

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