This year Marie and I have decided to not drink any alcohol and I want to talk about what brought that decision on.
It was the holiday season of 2019 and like every year we had a lot of holiday parties to attend, most of which involved drinking copious amounts of alcohol ( at least on my part) . We are fortunate to have large families and a large friend group so the holiday season was quite busy for us and like I said all of those parties involved drinking alcohol. What exactly does that have to do with giving up alcohol for a year?
Leading up to and during the the month of December I was working out very consistently and eating really well and overall feeling really good mentally and physically, then the weekend would arrive and we would go have some drinks which would then result in me not feeling the best the next day. Even after a night out with just a glass or two of wine I could feel the effects that the alcohol was having on my body. Up until this point I don't think I ever saw how clearly alcohol was negatively effecting my body. I noticed it effected my sleep quality and led to poor diet decisions and over spending on cabs and eating out. I started asking myself questions like how does this make me feel, and why do I drink? The best argument I could make for drinking was that it’s fun. I thought about what it would feel like not to drink, to go to all the parties and occasions that you would usually celebrate with a drink in hand, not to mention the regular getting together with the guys for wings or having a beer on the golf course. I new what it was like to drink and attend these types of functions and I wanted a new experience, I wanted to experience it all sober.
You might be thinking well why not just cut back or don’t over indulge, life is about balance. The truth is, all or nothing is easier for me. Approaching this from an all or nothing standpoint removes so many decisions by making one decision. I’m not drinking this year and all of the drinking related decisions that would normally come up disappear. Who’s driving, what am I going to drink, what do I have tomorrow, can I sleep in. In a way my life has become that much simpler by choosing not to drink at all. I don’t have to worry about getting a cab, drinking too much and having a hangover that then makes me feel like crap for another day, or eating crappy because I want something greasy after a night out. By approaching this with an all or nothing mentality I always make the right decisions, the decision that makes me feel good.
Right around the time I started to mull this over and was thinking about taking a year off from alcohol I read the Year of less by Cait Flanders. Cait talks about her decision to quit drinking and writes about the difference that not drinking and becoming a conscious consumer has done for the quality of her life. This seemed like all the sign I needed, so I told Marie what I was thinking and she was all for it and said that she would not drink this year too.
I want to feel good in 2020, as good as I possibly can and I could see that alcohol was preventing that. It makes my muscles feel soft, my mind cloudy, it leads to excess spending, and effects my sleep and contributes to anxiety. As someone who truly enjoys a cold beer on a hot day or sharing a bottle of wine with friends I recognize the mood that alcohol contributes too, but I wanted to feel what it was like to go at least a year without it so that I could make the best decisions possible for me. I’m excited to see what the results of this experiment reveal about my life without alcohol and I’ll be sure to share any insights or challenges that come up.