Unexpected results from giving up alcohol, the good and the not so good
Several moths ago I gave up alcohol, it has been both surprising and eye opening to say the least. here is a list of some of what I discovered along the way
1. Not drinking is socially awkward.
They call it social drinking for a reason. I was shocked at how awkward it was to not drink, especially with friends. Drinking with friends is fun I really missed the beer after work, glass of wine before dinner, or waving the old cocktail glass around at a get together. Not just getting drunk but the physical act of drinking. Amazing how many assumed something awful had happened, and tiptoed around me, unable to believe that anyone would just not drink for no reason.
2. Not drinking at all is far easier than drinking less
At first the plan was to drink less, but that involved way too much willpower, questions, and "come on one more drink wont kill ya" conversations. Once I made the decision not to drink it was easy, the decision was made. I became a non-drinker, and that was that
3. I got better at everything
Physically, cognitively, everything (with the obvious exception to writing). Surfing, guitar, language learning, memory, work. All my hobbies and work related activities improved. If you see the process of improving as gradually building on yesterday. Put in the work, recover, build on that tomorrow. Then drinking interrupts the process, it is literally two steps forward, one step back
4. Better sleep
And I mean really better sleep, like a child or my 10 year old Lab. This wasn't exactly a surprise, but I was shocked at how much alcohol was affecting my sleep. Now Im not sure I ever really slept on weekends. There are plenty articles on this subject so I wont bore you by repeating, but suffice it to say I haven't needed an alarm to wake up in months. If you want to improve your life, improve your sleep.
5. I have an extra day in week
Monday, especially in the summer,was typically a complete waste. Now its like having an extra day.
6. Drunk people at parties suddenly want to confide in me. This one still amazes me
For what ever reason my friends and complete strangers at events or get togethers suddenly feel compelled to tell me their darkest secrets when they find out I don't drink. Maybe they feel they can safely unload their metal burden on my new found sobriatal super powers. And yes, I know "sobriatal" is not actually a word. I used to really be annoyed by drunk people if I wasn't drinking. Now it's actually entertaining, drunk people will tell you ANYTHING, all you have to do is ask.
7. Not drinking has ruined Karoke Night.
8. Without the highs and lows of drinking I see everything different
I have been a little "hot headed" in the past. Im definitely a lot more even keel now. Maybe its the additional dopamine when drinking and lack there of when hungover that prompts mood swings. Whatever the reason, Im a lot slower to anger over trivial life inconveniences, and my general disposition is far more positive.
9. Not drinking has freed up a lot of Brain Space
I've been amazed at how much thought process was taken up with drinking. What am I drinking, when am drinking, how much is too much if I'm driving, or need to do something in the am, am I going to say something I will regret, am I completely misreading the comment or situation, what if the kids need me tonight. The list was endless
10. I procrastinate a lot less
There was alway the excuse of I just don't feel like it today, Ill have at it tomorrow. Once I started feeling better all the time, now seemed like as good a time as ever.
11. Alcohol is fake fun
Drinking makes even the mundane more exciting, its been interesting to take a step back and see what I really enjoy, and not rely on alcohol as a crutch. Most of what I really enjoy doing is more fun sober.
12. I feel 100% better
For the last several years I have been experiencing what I feared was early onset arthritis. Most of that disappeared within a couple of months. Even some of the more severe sports related injuries from over the years feel better. My mobility, flexibility, and recovery have increased dramatically. I no longer need the 3-4 Ibupropen daily.