Being on the other side has a number of tremendous benefits.
“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life’.” — Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
I’ve been alcohol-conscious for so long now, I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like NOT to be.
This November will make four years living on this side of this decision, and I must say that my life is so much better than it was when I was drinking alcohol that I think I’ve begun to take the benefits a bit for granted.
Therefore, to help remind myself and hopefully inspire a few others on how their lives can be so much better if they make this one decision, I wanted to share the top five things you stop doing once you give up alcohol.
Stop wasting money
I just got back from a much needed vacation with my wife, and we had a great time on our first true international trip since COVID .
We got to see the sights and sounds of Lima, Peru and experienced pretty much everything the city had to offer.
Everything other than the alcohol beverages the town had to share, that is.
And while we definitely ate our fair share of pizzas, ceviche, and Peruvian chicken, the amount of money we spent was nowhere near what we would’ve spent had we been drinking alcohol.
When one gives up alcohol, the amount of money that one is able to save is almost hard to quantify based on a number of intangible things that can be hard to put a dollar amount on.
Once you add in all the Uber rides, late night meals, and potential I-have-to-pay-this-amount-of-money-now-to-get-myself-out-of-trouble expenses, and the number could be astronomical.
We spent a fair amount of money this past week, but it would’ve been WAY more had we still been drinking.
Stop wasting time
When I used to drink, I would go to the same bars and do the same things each week.
I wasn’t spending the weekends educating myself on anything new or taking the time to invest in myself in any capacity to improve my skills in any areas.
Instead I was too busy being on wash, rinse, repeat to have a weekend of “fun” to realize how much of my life I was wasting by doing this.
When I first stopped drinking, I had so much free time that I didn’t know what to do with it.
Now that I’m nearly four years alcohol-conscious, I have found so many great hobbies and various activities to fill that time that I’m amazed at how much time I used to waste drinking my days away.
Being on this side is almost like having a new lease on what is possible in life because of all the extra time I have at my disposal to be successful.
Stop arguing about dumb sh*t
My current wife and I have only had two serious arguments in our current six year relationship, and both were when we were highly intoxicated.
After each time, when we looked back and assessed what we were arguing about, we realized that the thing that we got so mad seemed rather silly when we were sober.
The reason for this was simple.
Due to something known as alcohol myopia, in which we are less apt to focus on the results of our long term decision-making from alcohol’s effects, we would both back into our respective corners and be willing to risk our entire relationship just for the privilege of being “right.”
Now without alcohol hindering our ability to be rational in our disagreements, we are able to work through things without risking our relationship for a silly argument that neither of us can remember in the morning.
Stop waking up and trying to remember what you did last night
Speaking of not remembering, probably at least once or twice a month, I would jump out of my bed frantically in the morning and sprint to the window to see if my car was still there.
When it was, I would let out a sigh of relief knowing that I didn’t have to go through the ordeal of trying to piece together my last actions of the night to remember where I had left it.
Not having to worry about where I left my car or what I did the night before is one of the greatest benefits of no longer drinking.
The stress that came with sometimes not quite remembering was terrifying and highly disturbing at times. It can also be very dangerous for the health of one’s long-term memory and overall brain health.
I would pray that I didn’t do anything stupid, and there were more times than I care to admit that I half-expected a cop to knock on my door and inform me of my events of the previous night.
This fear doesn’t typically make for a very relaxing remainder of the weekend, so to no longer have to worry about this is extremely liberating.
Stop hanging out with friends that aren’t helping you hit your goals
This one was a bit tough for me.
I sometimes felt like there were two different versions of me.
One was the party-hard version that wanted to YOLO as much as I could, while the other version was one that was always focused on doing what I could to reach my long-term goals in life.
The former was definitely holding back the latter and when I stopped drinking, the differences between the two became more pronounced with time.
The problem with this was that many of the friends that I had spent a lot of time with over the years were more the friends of the YOLO version and just didn’t have as much in common with the goal-oriented one.
As the YOLO version was no longer a big part of my life, I found myself realizing that the relationships with some of my friends was changing as well, and I had to accept that.
It wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do, as it allowed me to open up the next chapter of my life by closing the previous one behind me…a decision that I still don’t regret almost four year later.