• Mark Mathews

5 ideas to help you quit booze


The other week I wrote a blog post about my abstaining from alcohol. If you've not read it you can read it HERE.

Now, I'll be honest, I was mildly concerned about posting it. There is a real peculiarity towards non-drinkers here in the UK. They are somewhat mistrusted and they get tarnished as boring and weird and so I did think to myself, "Does anyone really want to know about this?". I mean, I didn't want to bore people or put them off their end of week drinks! Also, does anyone actually give a flying fuck about what I do in my personal life when this is a music site?

I posted it anyway.

And it turned out people are interested.

Who'd have thunk it?!

Within a short space of time from it being published, it became one of the most popular blogs I've written! I've been inundated with messages from people (some I know and many I don't) with words of encouragement, support and complete acceptance. It has been really lovely and really took took me-a-back.

So thank you to those people! X

But the thing that has been most intriguing and notable is the amount of people that have gotten in touch to explain to me that they too would love to give up or cut down the booze for a bit. Their only problem being that they simply do not believe that they would be able to.

Now, I am not professing to be some booze abstaining guru here and I'm certainly not preaching about a single sure fire way to kick the booze. I have gone into this experiment blind and I have fumbled around like a teenager trying to remove his girlfriends bra for the first time, to work out what works for me. I certainly don't have all the answers and do not profess to be an expert in this field at all and if you have a serious drink problem, I suggest seeing an actual professional...or maybe a Guru, I dunno?!

What I did think I could do though, is explain the things I have done that have worked for me and if any of that helps then great! You're very welcome.

If none of it helps, well, what ya gonna do, huh? It was all free advice anyway, so deal with it!

I'd also like to say I'm not anti-booze, (as some seemed to believe!). I couldn't care less if people were drinking and getting fucked up. I took a personal choice as a teenager to get on the booze wagon and had a great time doing so. I have equally made a personal choice this year to change all that. Call me selfish, but essentially I do what I want to do and what makes me happy. End of.

So, anyway here are the things that have helped me deal with the challenges of giving up drinking

Have something to fill your time

This has been absolutely key for me and in many ways I am absolutely blessed and fortunate to be such a driven person....verging on the workaholic I guess, but let's just skim over that bit shall we?! Thanks.

Yes, my music, and notably my #newmusiceverymonth project, has kept me busy and focused beyond belief. It isn't just the writing of the songs, demoing them and then recording them, but all the promotion, artwork and content that surrounds it as well. I have a new, to do list, every single day of things that I need to get done and so this stops the old devil coming up with things for my idle thumbs...such as booze!

By having these lists to focus me, I know that any successes or failures are purely down to me, which gives me an impetus to think before I make a decision - I could drink, but if I drink, I won't get that to do list done and therefore I fall behind by a day and then if that happens the next day I'm two days behind...and so on and so forth.

Shit basically doesn't get done.

Essentially, by having a project to focus on hands you the responsibility and thus a reason to stay off the booze. A focus like boxing is a perfect example. When I was learning Chinese Boxing called Sanshou (I know, right?! Again...Who'd have thunk it?!. Just don't fucking mess with me!) it was in my own interests to keep up with the training and diet plans, because if not I was going to get my arse kicked. As I progressed and got better the successes began to pile on top of each other and the temptation to slack off became smaller and smaller as I saw me get better and better....

And more 'ard, innit!

A project, pursuit or passion has been really important in curbing a life spent in a boozer and whether it is music, education or sport I think it is well worth exploring.

Keep Fit

Following neatly on from the boxing analogy - keeping fit has been another tool that has served me well to put a stop to my drinking. Running, going to the gym and yoga have not only got my body in better shape but mentally I've felt happier and better about myself, which breeds more desire to do it again and again. Like anything you do enough, it becomes quite addictive and now my early morning runs to the gym are something I actually look forward to! The thought of having a big boozy night out the night before, resulting in missing the morning work out, is a worse thought than not drinking now! Utterly bizarre but true!

Treat yo'self!

So you've become a genius at your craft, you've now more ripped than Schwarzenegger and you've shown restraint and control when it comes to booze.

You HAVE to treat yourself!

That's what I reckon anyway and it's easy to do so because of all the cash you save! Other than buying guitars, I like to spend my money on my other passion: Travel. So I treat myself with trips away. Treating myself isn't just a trick to keep me off the booze, I think it's just fundamental decency to myself for actually trying to achieve something and doing all I can to do that. Just good manners, innit?! Now...if you don't mind, I've got to check Skyscanner again!

Invest in yourself

This carries on from treating yourself in many ways, but I've found it has been a real motivator to invest in myself, whether that be financially, with good use of free time or both. For example, the money I have saved I have invested into recording equipment, recordings and pluggers/promoters. As well as that I have enrolled on courses to help me get my music placed in Film and TV spots. It has felt good to easily have the time and the finances to invest in myself and see me grow as an artist and as a person. Again, this just adds another layer and reason to keep me away from the booze, because I can actually see very real benefits that I am harvesting...like some kind of awesome fucking farmer of the universe!

Drink doesn't define you

And last but not least, I think it is pretty important to realise that drink does not define you as a person - though lots of people will try to make you believe otherwise to get you to drink!

The damn cads!

Booze can be awesome and a lot of fun, for sure, but if it is the only thing that gives a person an identity, then that person, in my humble opinion is about as boring as Tim Henman giving a speech about the history of the tennis raquet.

(Whisper - I'm sure you're lovely really Tim. Kisses!)

I don't drink at the moment, sure, but I'm still a geezer. I'm still having a good fucking laugh and I've not allowed it to define me, which has made the old abstaining so much easier.

So there you go. Use these ideas if you like or, well...don't. It's up to you really...CHEERS!!!!

Have you got any tips for abstaining from Grandpa's cough medicine?! Let me know in the comments below!

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