I should say that I'm now married to a woman who does not drink alcohol, but I was once married to a woman who not only drank, but also had a few drinkers in the family.
Here are some things that I have realized. If you cant drink in moderation, it is best to quit slowly and in phases, but to drink is not half as good for your senses as not to drink. Another thing I now know for sure, no one has to drink to have fun. As someone who’s been drinking since his senior year of high school, too many events in my life revolved around booze. Shows, parties, meetups, conferences and dinners.
These events don’t change if you decide not to drink. I am still myself. Maybe a lit “inhibited,” but is that altogether terrible? I’ve found that when I hang out with folks who have been drinking, I start to feel the same way I was — in terms of becoming silly, goofy, fun while I was around folks who were drinking.
And I remember everything that happened during the events, too, which is always nice.
Since I stopped drinking, I’m in control of my actions. I think a lot more before I respond to something someone says. If I’m angry, it gives me time to calm down instead of just reacting like an ass. Drinking definitely helped my inner ass come out a lot more often. Now I am better at keeping the jerkier side of me locked up. It still comes out, sure, but at least I have more control over when that happens.
Many folks will try to change your mind, or just give you a hard time for not drinking:
“C’mon, just have one freaking drink!
It’s not like you’re going to meetings or whatever!”
“When you don’t drink, it makes me feel bad about myself, which makes me not like you.”
“I can’t hang with someone who doesn’t drink with me.”
“I can’t trust someone who doesn’t drink.”
I said some of these things back when I used to drink. Because when you’re around someone who doesn’t do something you like doing, you can be taken aback by it. Also, I’ll have friends who may stop hanging out with me because I don’t drink anymore, but with friends like that, who needs enemies?
I haven’t slept this great since before high school. Holy crap it’s fantastic. I could link you to all the studies that show how alcohol affects your sleep, but hey, just take my word for it.
I used to get bummed out after drinking. I’m generally okay with my life and who I am. Staying positive is my go-to emotion, even when something bad or terrible happens to me.
It’s like I flipped this switch inside my brain: Instead of going to drinking, I try to find the reason something is positive. It’s definitely weird to have this happen to me.
Recently, this idiot blared on her horn because I was crossing at a crosswalk and she wanted to turn and almost hit me with her car. The old me took down the license plate and shared it saying "Hey look at this ass who tried to hit me with their car!” The new me Instead, after an initial moment of fear and anger, will realize this person is probably having an awful day. Maybe she’s late for an appointment. Maybe she’s trying to get to the hospital to see a sick person. Maybe she didn’t have as loving of parents as I did, and that’s filled him with resentment her entire life.
Staying healthier and saving more money is much better than drinking and buying food while drunk, but probably 1/4th of savings will come from just abstaining from booze.
It’s pretty hard for me to stay up late most nights, even on the weekends. When I was drinking, alcohol was a magical fuel that kept me going, trying to find a new adventure. Now that I don’t drink, I’m not going to be constantly searching for adventure, trying to find one more fun thing that will fill the empty void inside of me. I’m content with what I’ve done for the day, and my body wants to go to bed. I dig that.
When you’re not spending most of your free time at bars, you get a lot more done. I'll read more, write more and learn more. I'll spend more time working on bettering myself and my skills than I ever would have sitting and drinking, chatting with a buddy or two. I’m much less social than I was previously, but I'll also be creating more and failing a lot more than ever before. In the end, I know I’m going to die. I’d rather there be a few things of me still hanging around a few years after I’m dead, some sort of expression of myself that others can enjoy. That requires me to put in the time to work on projects, make something tangible and real for others to enjoy. If I can create a few things that last longer than me, it makes my life last longer. It means I mattered a little more. Cheers and Salud and 乾杯 by saying no to BOOZE.
I just quit and for me, it was relatively easy, and I know it may not be easy for everyone. But just know I’ve found countless number of folks who have fun without booze. And you can, too.