Alcohol has been a dubious friend of mine for many years. I started drinking somewhere in the middle of my teens, and since then, there’s rarely been a week without the company of a drink or two, or ten. On the fancier side, I’ve learned to tell the difference between a Merlot and a Pinot Noir, and on the trashier side, I’ve been puking at club bathrooms. I’ve had great laughs and made life long friends, and I’ve had hangovers destroying several days after big nights out.
And now I’ve decided to let go of my old friend for an undecided amount of time.
The thought has crossed my mind many times before, but in the end the pros has always outweighed the cons:
“What if I miss out on an amazing night?”
“What if people will think I’m boring?”
“How could I never taste a great wine/beer again?”
Lately though, the scales have shifted. I’ve realized that the cons have always outweighed the pros, it’s just that my perspective has been fucked up. And podcasts like these makes me think that there might something great on the other side.
The other side of alcohol
In life there are three extremely valuable resources. Resources that many people spend all their efforts to maintain and increase. Quitting alcohol will open up the faucets to let these resources flow freely into abundance. What are they?
Time is the most valuable resource for a living human being. When our time runs out, our life is over. And we always complain that we don’t have enough of it. Also, there is one formula that I believe strongly in:
Time + Effort = Value
The more time we spend in effort, the more value we create, whether it is writing a book, building a muscle, or nurturing a relationship. Time gives us the chance to create. And when you spend that time drinking, you create a vacuum over the course of the next day, where it is close to impossible to be productive, and hence hard to create value with your time. Freeing up time as a resource by quitting alcohol is therefore the one aspect i look forward to the most with this experiment.
Money does not buy happiness or fulfillment, but it is the only tangible concept we humans have for value. And if you know how to spend it wisely, you can gain incredible leverage from having it.
It goes without saying that alcohol cost money. But it’s not only the alcohol you buy that is costing you. You also tend to spend more on everything else when you’re drunk. And you spend more the next day as well as your impulse signal is weakened and you crave more expensive foods, for instance. The time lost is costing you in the long run as well, as ultimately the value you could’ve created might’ve earned you income.
As mentioned before, keeping your health on point is the one factor that will affect everything else you do in life. When you are healthy, you will perform on a higher level, making better use of your time, having more energy, and being happier. Alcohol deteriorates your health both in the short and long run. So by avoiding alcohol, your health will soar.
I think for me, social situations will be the biggest challenge. I’m an introvert, and alcohol has always helped me connect with people. I see myself being shy at first, not helped by that magic brew anymore will feel strange, but I think I’ll get used to it. When I quit smoking it was impossible for me to see a dinner-scenario where I didn’t go out between every single course and smoke. But I’ve been out many times since, and there is nothing that feels strange at all. I think the same goes for alcohol.
The other challenge with social situations is that people will give you bad conscience for not drinking with them. People don’t like feeling bad about themselves, and someone walking around not drinking is surely an ugly mirror to look into. So they’ll do everything to get you to havethat drink. It’s important to not give in.
I’ve built whole relationships around drinking. The challenge will be to find a substitute for alcohol as a reason to hang out. I think the solution is to actively design your social life. Finding activities that you want to do, and then inviting your friends and selling the activity. They’d be happy to join.
I’ve decided to do this for an undecided period of time. As if I’d decide straight away to quit forever, the disappointment I would feel if I gave up would cause me more grief than if I just made it for two months and then realized that alcohol might have a small role in my life after all. I think this is unlikely, but keeping my options open feel like a good strategy. This is also the reason I’m choosing not to set a specific time, as if I realized no alcohol is something I want to continue with, having a deadline might make me mentally prepared to start again once it’s over. Only time can tell whether this works or not.
What do you think?
I’ll try to post regular updates of how I’m doing, but all in all I’ve very positive this will change my life drastically.
This article was originally posted on www.stillstupid.blog