Thought I'd update on how I'm getting on. Right now I'm drinking an Americano and eating one of those Ferrero Rafaello things, so I'm in good form. I have done ok, with a few lapses. I find Fridays very difficult, I get really grumpy and hard-done-by, so I've been drinking on Fridays. The rest of the week is really quite ok! I do occasionally long for the sweet oblivion of a glass of red wine, but this is offset by my generally reducing anxiety. So it is true, red wine really does increase my anxiety in general - my base levels of anxiety are much less now. I haven't had many physical symptoms from giving up, apart from some headaches. I am losing weight around my middle and, bizarrely, my fingernails are growing really fast. Hmm. I have found the social side of things ok since I discovered the wonderful world of MOCKtails - cocktails with no booze in. Still, Ireland is a difficult place to be dry in. Everything focuses on the pub and getting pissed. This will still need to be negotiated.
The next step is to stop boozing on Fridays. I need to find an alernative outlet for the end of the week. I'll keep you posted on how that goes...
If anyone else out there is struggling with the booze, hang in there, it really is worth it. Also, get all the help you need, don't hesitate to ask. There is also more than one way to tackle it, it doesn't have to be AA if that doesn't suit you. There are other group models, there are dual diagnosis services (i.e. that deal with alcohol plus other mental health disorders), there are one-to-one services, and there are residential services. Things have come a long way. And there's no shame in saying 'I used alcohol to manage my anxiety'. Most people with mental health problems turn to something to try to manage ourselves - it's just that there are much better ways for us now, and loads of support. Reach out and grab it.