Best decision I have made and you can make the same choice.
Image credit: yourdost.com
222 weeks ago (according to Instagram), I quit drinking alcohol. It was supposed to be only for a month and ended up lasting two years. Half-way through 2017, I started drinking again because I was single and was told by the opposite sex that drinking was essential in dating.
I realize that is a really shitty reason to start drinking again, but that is what happened. I’ll admit that it was also something I wanted to try again to remind myself of my rebellious nightclub days as a DJ.
During the two and a bit years I didn’t drink, a few noticeable changes occurred:
- My pot belly disappeared
- Social functions became more meaningful
- I could remember what happened on the weekend
- I adopted an ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude to people that judged my decision
- Sleeping became easier
- I woke up earlier on weekends and got more done
- My skin was less dry
- I wrote hundreds of blog articles
- I felt happier
- I felt in control
So yes I gave up this list of benefits when I stupidly started drinking again, but the relapse was actually the most important part.
When I started drinking again in 2017, it made me realize why I quit in the first place. The relapse reinforced my decision to stop drinking and was an excellent reminder of why alcohol is not required even though it has become a societal norm.
After the dating escapades ended in 2017, I stopped drinking once again. Pretty soon the cosmic universe of acne that was on my back went away, the brain fog lifted, my belly decreased again and the energy I needed on Saturday mornings to write my life away, returned.
We need to start thinking whether the benefits of alcohol really do outweigh all that is awesome when you quit the drink. When something becomes so normal, such as drinking, it is even more reason to question it, experiment with it and see whether there is an alternative. That’s what I did with alcohol.
Here is what giving up alcohol taught me:
1. People will be pissed at you
And they don’t matter one bit. The people who care about you will respect your decision and the ones who don’t will insist on bringing you back to their level and drinking piss with them on Saturday nights.
Having people upset at you for giving up alcohol is more about them than you.
Don’t take it to heart and respectfully decline.
2. It’s okay to still go out
I certainly did. One thing that worked for me was to still order drinks, just to order things that look like alcohol to fool the people who care about what liquids make it into my body.
My favorite thing to order was a lemon, lime and bitters. Soda water with lime was also cool as well and it looked like vodka (hardcore, huh?).
3. You can be 10X productive without alcohol
Trying to wake up early and do creative work with a hangover is near impossible. You feel like crap and all that comes out, from experience, is a surprising lot of negativity.
Waking up early on weekends to get a few hours extra in with your hobbies feels pretty bloody awesome — the kind of awesome that makes you want to celebrate with a giant glass of soda water laced with lime baby!
People say you can’t buy back time and we all have the same number of hours; my response is while we may have the same number of hours, not all of these hours are equal in terms of quality. Hours spent hangover feel horrible and not useful.
4. You will be given labels
I was given the label “teetotaller.”
It was something that made no sense to me and I didn’t Google the meaning until a year after that fateful line came from my colleague’s mouth at a client dinner.
People will create labels for you whether you like it or not, to help you fit into their version of the world that they have created.
That doesn’t mean you have to accept the label or care about it.
5. Money flows back into your pocket
Drinking in my country is like putting a downpayment on a BMW every night you drink — it’s expensive.
You can easily waste your cash and the more drunk you get, the more you feel the need to shout your mates (and later — strangers) free alcohol.
Your success is not measured by the number of drinks you can shout while drunk. Sorry.
Those dollars you are quite literally pissing away could be funding:
- Side projects
- Things you care about
One of my favorite advantages of quitting alcohol is the money that it saves me which, over the course of a few years, helped me invest in the stock market and take trips around the world to places such as Japan, America, China, Vietnam and New Zealand.
6. The time you get back flows into something that defines your life
What defines your life is the legacy you leave behind. For me, my writing is a big part of that legacy.
The fulfillment I get from writing because I have the time to do so — partly due to the lack of alcohol — is a reason that is strong enough for me to quit for good.
Creating a legacy takes time (especially if it’s a good one) and not drinking can give you the extra time you need. Not drinking can take you from “I’m busy mate” to “Yeah, I have to write tomorrow, so it’s home time for me.”
Drinking destroys your insides; working on something meaningful gives you happiness and fulfillment that makes you feel good from the inside, out.
I want to point out something about this article: I did the thing (quit drinking) and then started drinking again. I’m not perfect.
The purpose of this article is not to necessarily get you to quit drinking first up; it’s to show you the comparison and a few advantages.
Take the advice and use it to quit drinking or perhaps just reduce your consumption. Or ignore it altogether.
My experience says life is better without alcohol. See what your experience is.