Last year I experimented with not drinking. I did this because I have a drinking problem and thought it would be a good idea.
The results of not drinking for 4 months were enough to make me seriously consider not drinking ever again.
However, I went to a few weddings, and the experiment ended. Once I started drinking again, I slid right back into my habits of drinking every weekend.
Now towards the end of 2016 I’m going back into no drinking mode again.
Here’s 5 benefits of not drinking that I experienced.
Anxiety Levels Normalize
I’m someone with pretty high anxiety levels. I’ve combated this a few ways with varying levels of success. Drinking alcohol was one of those methods.
You’re out at a bar or a party and it’s natural to want a drink in your hand because everyone else has one and it seems like the thing to do.
It took me a while to realize that the reason I always had a drink in my hand and my rapid drinking pace was due to being anxious as hell in a crowd of people.
After analyzing my drinking habits, I have found that the times that I get out of control stem from drinking at a faster pace than normal. This usually happens when I’m not thinking about what I’m doing and in a bar/party scenario.
When I consciously think about what I’m doing, I can slow my drinking pace down and as a result I don’t get out of hand.
Even when I don’t get out of hand, I noticed that my anxiety levels go up and down with alcohol use. This up and down roller coaster ride makes it so that my anxiety comes rushing back after drinking which leads to more drinking.
When I stopped drinking altogether, I noticed that this constant up and down normalized. The scary thing is that this only happened after a whole month went by of abstaining from alcohol.
I attribute this to my body needing a month for the receptors in my brain to return to whatever normal was before I started drinking in my teens. Once I was there, I felt incredible with little to no anxiety at all.
This makes me wonder about people complaining of anxiety. How many of these people also drink habitually? I know a number of people who are in their 30s who complain about anxiety and feeling shitty everyday. Those people also drink on a regular basis. Cutting out the drinking would be a game changer, but drinking is almost a sacrament in the US.
To suggest cutting drinking is heresy.
Ask anyone who has had a rough night out at the bar about how much money they spent and you will hear some horror stories.
Rational thought goes out the window when you are drinking alcohol. A normally reserved individual will become emboldened and start buying everyone shots on their card.
A credit card bill of over 100 dollars is something that is typical. You wake up the next day and look at your statement because you can’t remember how much you spent.
Alcohol is very expensive. Mixed drinks cost at least 6 bucks and most beers are starting to get up to that level as well. This starts adding up when you have 5 mixed drinks for the night and a few beers. Throw in a couple drinks for your mates and you’re talking a hefty bill.
Multiply this by going out a few times during the week and before you know it you’ve spent a shit load of money on a drug for the week.
Most people just charge it to the game and don’t think about it. When you consider how much alcohol it usually takes to have an effect, most times it’s not financially worth it. There’s other drugs that do a much better job of lowering anxiety, are less expensive, and have less sides than alcohol.
Saving Time and Days
One of the biggest reasons that I am going to stop drinking is the loss of time and days. Time is the most precious asset you have. You are wasting your time when you wake up the next day completely exhausted and hungover.
I’ve lost a good number of days on the weekend after waking up hungover out of my mind. All I want to do after a bender is just lay in bed and try not to die.
You sit in bed, and you want to go back to sleep, but you can’t because your body is craving alcohol. So you sit there trying to fall asleep and all you do is wind up wasting you day, and feeling like complete shit.
When you’re off the sauce, suddenly you weekend gets filled with stuff to do that you need to get done. When you get done with these activities, you have hours to get more stuff done.
Another way you save time from abstaining from alcohol is you don’t have to plan your whole day around alcohol. When you have a big night planned, most of it revolves around alcohol. You have to head to the liquor store before it closes to get the right stuff. Then you head over your friend’s place to pre-game before heading to the bar. Finally you have to call and uber, get everyone in the car, or walk to the bar.
Throw in the fact that you’re already hungover from the night before and your morning involves sobering up by drinking a few beers or getting a big sloppy breakfast at a diner.
Now, imagine if you didn’t drink. All you would have to do is just show up wherever the place is at the time you’re all meeting and call it a day.
Better Overall Health
Drinking is an interesting drug that dates back to the beginning of civilization. No one knows exactly how the first alcohol was produced, but it’s theorized that it came about from people leaving grain out in the rain.
Back in the day, water wasn’t exactly healthy to drink so a good alternative was drinking alcohol because of it’s natural antimicrobial properties.
Before modern brewing styles, alcohol was used by shamans as a healthy tonic. It was brewed with medicinal herbs.
Now, most alcohol is mass produced to get as much alcohol as possible and make everything uniform. Often this involves stripping out any medicinal benefits of the drink. They also add stuff that isn’t good for you like hops.
After a night of drinking, there’s a whirlwind of activity going on inside of you that is causing you to feel like shit. Cutting out the hops and congeners will stop your endocrine system from going into chaos every day.
Without all the alcohol putting your liver into overdrive, your immune system will also be able to combat illness better. The liver is capable of recovering from years of abuse, but it won’t ever recover if you keep pounding it with liquor every day.
Without your immune system being in a compromised state, you’ll rarely if ever get sick.
Motivation Up, Depression Down
When I looked back on my time not drinking, I noticed something strange. I got more work done in that time then I have ever before.
After a night of hard drinking I’ll sit in bed and consciously realize that I’m not motivated to do anything. I just want to sit there. This isn’t the case on other days.
The more you drink, the more your motivation levels decrease. Something about alcohol weighs you down and forces you into inaction.
The same goes with depression. There’s a lot of factors going into depression, but one of the key ones is how much you drink. I can remember having many negative thoughts and feeling down in the dumps. The negative self talk, feeling guilty for drinking, and spending a bunch of money all combine to make you super depressed.
When I wasn’t drinking, this depression completely vanished.
Without depression, and with more motivation, it creates a synergistic effect that allows you to get a shit ton of stuff done.
Does all this sound good?
If you’re thinking that you’ll never be able to socialize without alcohol, you’re wrong. You don’t need alcohol to socialize.
Alcohol gives you at best an hour window of good socialization before you become too fucked up. Before that, you’re not fucked up enough. You’re giving up a lot of positives for an hour of being able to talk to people in public.
You’re doing yourself a disservice by drinking to socialize because you never learn how to socialize naturally, and in the process are destroying your health.
There’s also better alternatives than alcohol if you want to get rid of anxiety. Phenibut has similar results to alcohol but without any of the negatives.
At the end of the day, there aren’t many positives to using alcohol. The only reason it’s so prevalent is because it’s legal and it’s one of the oldest drugs we have.