Despite years of loving alcohol I no longer drink alcohol. I am not a recovering alcoholic, nor do I have any religious (or otherwise) views which dictate abstinence. It’s simply that I found the courage to take a hard look at my relationship with alcohol and it became clear that alcohol was taking much more than it was giving.
So why exactly?
1. Alcohol is a sneaky devil
I never made a decision to increase how much booze I was drinking. It just happened. Anything that ‘just happens’ without me being fully aware of why, how, and when is concerning. It means I have less control than I want. Drinking more over time snuck up on me. And when I decided to reverse the trend it was harder than I thought, which leads me to:
2. Alcohol never satisfies (a.k.a. tolerance)
Here is the kicker. It’s only when you have decided to drink less that you realize how much of a grasp alcohol has on you, and how hard it can be to cut back. You think you can simply reverse the trend of drinking more over the years. It’s not that easy. Alcohol demands alcohol. It wants more and if you don’t satisfy the craving it begins to throw a fit. It’s no fun (and just not worth it) to live a life of counting drinks and feeling like you are missing out. Moderation is a moody b*tch who doesn’t deserve my time or effort.
3. Health: Being a non-drinker is the healthiest decision you can make (unless you smoke – if you smoke then quitting smoking is the healthiest)
I told myself that drinking red wine every day had health benefits. When I did the research I was shocked. Not only is that untrue but alcohol was declared a known carcinogen in 1988. And of course, there’s common sense: drinking something that makes you feel like sh*t the day after is probably bad for you.
4. Life is more fun without booze
My drinking self would have thought this completely unbelievable but the truth is I have significantly more fun without booze. It’s amazing how many adults – the vast majority – believe that alcohol is key to having a good time. I blew this myth out of the water through some self-experimentation and realized the feelings I think I enjoy from alcohol are actually just a placebo effect. The reality is that alcohol didn’t make anything more fun, but since I believed it was key to my enjoyment of life – I was miserable without it.
5. I feel so much better – every single day
I don’t worry about how much I am drinking – ever. That makes every night out (and every morning after) significantly more fun. I have more money…drinking is expensive. In fact, there has been a 79% increase in the price of booze at restaurants since 1982 – 79%! I have effortlessly lost weight (empty calories) and enjoy all my mornings. I have more energy, am more focused, and get significantly more done without alcohol. I see now that I unknowingly made myself slightly ill every single day. Yuck!
6. Alcohol made me dumb
I looked into what alcohol actually does to your brain and not surprisingly alcohol has the very specific effect of slowing down your brain function. Your brain synapses are depressed and your senses are unable to transmit information to your brain as quickly as normal. I tested this. I drank after I’d quit to see exactly how it made me feel. I even recorded the results. The truth is alcohol makes me dumb. My jokes get worse, my stories become scattered, and my nights become monotonous and unmemorable.
Being a non-drinker is 99% awesome, but one thing that pains me: the constant interrogation as to why I don’t partake. Sometimes I find it funny, I mean no one is demanding reasons why I don’t drink soda. Other times it’s downright rude: no I am not pregnant, in recovery, or on medication. It shows how saturated our society has become; booze is the only drug on earth that you have to justify not taking.