I thought I could be the same person just without alcohol, but that was wrong.
“Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.” — Tom Stoppard
This article may frighten a few people and some may even disagree with this, but as always, I can only share what my experiences have been and share this as a warning because it was not something I expected when I first made this decision.
Giving up alcohol has redefined me in a way that I didn’t expect initially, as I always felt I could still very much be the same go-lucky person that I was before and still enjoy a life of fun and excitement, but just without alcohol.
And while, at first, everything seemed to be exactly the same, and there were not that many differences in how I approached life, as time has progressed, I’ve found myself more and more looking back on the old me and recognizing that I am not in any way close to that person anymore.
Now, there are a fair amount of things that are still very much the same in regards to my everyday activities and how I go about living my life. However, there are a few things that are just so completely different that I didn’t expect, I felt compelled to share this warning with others in the event it happens to you as well.
This could be isolated only to me, but in the event that it is not, here are a few things that you should be prepared for as you continue your alcohol-conscious journey.
You will lose interest in things that you used to find fun
When I was drinking, I used to love going to bars for happy hours, hitting the town on a Friday night, or finding a Sunday Day Party to enjoy.
After I stopped drinking, I figured that it would not be wise to still try to do some of these things immediately, but as I continued on my alcohol-conscious journey and got to a good place in which I felt the temptation of these types of situations were no longer a danger to my sobriety, I was highly surprised to realize that I just had no desire to do these things.
As someone who enjoyed partying immensely and reveled in the anticipation of a good night out on the town, I never thought I would see the day in which I would much rather stay in on a Friday night and watch the latest episode of Succession (you have to love Roman BTW) than see what the city of Atlanta had to offer.
Of course, part of this could be related to my age, as I turned 41 this past May, and hitting up nightclubs at that age is kind of ridiculous. However, I also started to recognize that was not the only place that I began to see my interest wane.
I used to be an avid sports fan and could watch any game at any time that had somewhat big implications. Now, I might catch a cursory glance from time to time, but when it comes to really planning anything to watch a major sporting event, I just have no desire to do it.
For me, I didn’t realize that my love of sports was so connected to my drinking that it would somewhat die when my drinking died.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still do like to watch some sports from time to time and do enjoy a good highlight or finish that is exciting, but when I think about how I used to plan my entire day or weekend around making sure I watched a specific game with a group of people, it just seems so silly now.
This brings me to my second epiphany that was a bit sad as well.
You will not want to hang out with some of your “friends” anymore
Before I stopped drinking, I had a number of people whom I considered as being pretty tight friends in my life. We had a number of experiences together that I would say are some of the most memorable moments of my life.
It’s hard to reconcile the truth of that statement with the fact that I’ve changed so much over the past three years that we no longer have very much in common that would merit a true friendship anymore.
When I stopped drinking, I began to look at all the different areas in my life in which I was lacking emotionally and mature-wise. From that, I began to do more soul-searching of what was important to me and what really mattered. For that reason, I began needing more from people who I considered “friends” because I was demanding more of myself in regards to my emotional health and well-being.
What this meant is that I was now asking the friends with whom I would only drink and talk about the opposite sex before to now engage in a more deep discussion about life and what we should truly be doing with our futures.
This caused some friends to fall by the wayside as they were not interested in having such deep conversations and weren’t ready to follow me where I was going in regards to being much closer to each other in a truly emotional way, as opposed to our previous surface-level relationship.
For this reason, some of my former friends are not the friends that I need for the future I’m creating.
You will be obsessed with not wanting to make the same type of mistakes
This has been the one that has probably changed me more than anything else. As I embarked on my alcohol-conscious journey and started recognizing the benefits of how much better my life was without alcohol, I began to question all the other things that I had accepted as positive for my life that may not be so.
As shared above, I began to look at my friend’s group to assess if each of them were really the type of people that best suited the future I wanted to build. I began to reassess my relationship with my career and what I wanted to do with my life in 10–20 years.
I started to think about what it meant to be happy and what I was accepting as my barriers to success and realized that I was the one creating them more than anyone else.
As I started to experience all the positive results of giving up alcohol and knowing that this decision changed so many things in my life, I began to look at all the other things that were possibly negative and holding me back from doing all the amazing things of which I was capable.
I began to eat better since I didn’t have to worry about binging on Indian food after a drunken night out. I began to research how to ensure you get better quality sleep and committed myself to do so.
I began to read more and take my exercise game to the next level, as I didn’t have alcohol to hold me back from making progress or stop me from working out the next day.
In all, the act of giving up alcohol began a positive snowball that extrapolated to all different areas of my life. My thought process became if I can be successful in this endeavor, then why can’t I be successful in any other endeavor to which I put my mind?
And while I can’t say that everything has been easy, the strength of knowing that I’m still alcohol-conscious after three years with no plans of going back ever keeps me inspired that as long as I keep pushing and don’t give up, there’s almost NOTHING I can’t achieve…and so can you.