I’m in unchartered territory, here.
50 days without alcohol is something I never thought I’d do. Not because of the difficulty, or length of time – just because I’ve never felt the need to give up alcohol. In social settings, I like drinking. It’s never been a habit I’ve wanted to give up.
However, roughly 50 days ago, I was forced to do just that.
I was diagnosed with a stomach issue in October, and along with giving up coffee (which I’m much more unhappy about), I’ve had to give up alcohol. No beer, no wine, no whiskey, no scotch – I’m as dry as a London newspaper.
This wasn’t a test of will or really difficult at all. If a doctor tells you that you can’t do something, you take a cue from Nike and just do it. Or in my case, you just don’t do it. While I haven’t learned much about my own discipline or strength, I’ve have learned a few things that I thought I’d share on the blog today.
1. Being the one person not drinking is still fun
I was always worried that not drinking in social settings because of a diet or having to drive would suck. I really painted it that way in my head. I’ve found that to be very far from the truth. Going out as a sober person with a group of people drinking the night away is still a good time. You’ll see your friends in a new light, in many cases. Inebriated people say a lot of ridiculous things in hilarious ways that you might not pick up on if you’ve been drinking too. This has added an awesome new dimension to my nights out.
2. People drink a lot
When you’re in the mix, cheers-ing and tipping drinks back, you don’t really realize how much alcohol is flowing. I think I assumed that alcohol makes people need to use the restroom a lot, but after the past 50 days I can definitely say it’s not the booze – it’s just the total amount of liquids being consumed. It would be hard for me to drink as much water in a night as I’ve witnessed people drinking glasses of wine. I never noticed this before I went totally sober.
3. Drinking is expensive
Seriously – and not just at the club or bar. Even at restaurants, I’m shocked at how much cheaper my bills are than my friends when we go out now. I don’t mind picking up the most expensive meal on the menu now that I’m not drinking – a $30 steak is still going to be way less than a $20 burger and three drinks, plus the drinks at the next bar.
4. My weekend mornings are awesome
This has to be the best part. I’ve never been an early riser on weekends. I always sleep in until 10AM at the earliest. Now, I’m up and at ’em as soon as the suns up. There is an awesome feeling associated with getting out of the gym on a Saturday morning 9AM – before I would’ve even been awake in the past. In a weird way, I kind of feel like I’m living a lot more without the alcohol.
That’s about it. I’m sure once I can I’ll go back to drinking moderately – but I’m going to try to limit it for a few reasons, related to the points above. I like saving money, so I’m going to try to eliminate booze at restaurants. I definitely don’t need a beer or a whiskey with my dinner. My weekend mornings are now my favorite time of the week, so I’m also going to protect these. Being the odd person out who isn’t drinking isn’t so bad, especially if it leads me to a better sleep and better morning the day after. One or two drinks on a night out is definitely in my future.
Until then, I’ll remain on the wagon – and surprisingly, I’m not itching to get off.