There is a grey area between being an alcoholic and being a party animal. I think what makes a person fall into this space is how the alcohol consumption makes them feel about him or herself afterwards. I don’t even know how I’d define the term “alcoholic,” I never considered myself one, but one thing I do know about myself now is that for about 15 years I was in the grey area, drinking too much alcohol too often and it was affecting me in all negative ways.
If I were to list off every single shitty situation, short or long-term, that I ever ended up in, alcohol was involved 99% of the time. Risky behaviour, arguments or fights with ex-boyfriends, injuries, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, overspending, ignored responsibilities, sabotaged fitness goals, the list goes on and on.
For lots of people it’s not a problem and they can drink without it interfering with quality of life and physical and mental health. This is not the case for me. Since I quit drinking alcohol and talk about it openly now with lots of people, I’m starting to see that it’s pretty commonplace for a person to fall into this grey area and to realize that they do not want to be there anymore.
Kate at The Sober School taught me (and many others!) about how to see booze for what it really is. A not-that-great tasting dehydrating beverage that numbs everything out and changes the way we feel about situations, priorities and ourselves; a disconnect from reality. For me, the best option is to not drink at all. For someone else it might be to moderate. I don’t want this post to feel depressing so I’ll try to talk about why I like my life better without alcohol and not all the reasons I needed to ditch it.
I have WAY more time
Alcohol actually steals your time. Hangovers and sleeping half the day wastes time. Going to the liquor store takes up time. Not being able to drive your own vehicle wastes time. Being drunk or buzzed disconnects us from the present situation and all of a sudden it’s over! Ignoring chores and errands make the next day jam-packed instead of relaxing.
I feel like I have so much time to do whatever I want now because I do not waste time being drunk, buzzed, hungover or procrastinating. No joke, I never have a to-do list because I know what I need/want to get done, and I do it.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) isn’t real.
I don’t really know how to explain this one. Maybe it’s because now I know that once alcohol is removed, many parties are just a bunch of random people standing around making small talk and trying to get drunk because it’s “fun.” If there is something going on and I am stoked about who will be there, what we’ll be doing, what will be talked about AND I have the energy and interest, then I’m there. But if not, seriously who cares haha.
I have way more money.
This one is easy. It’s not just the cost of booze that is expensive. Have you ever gotten drunk and thought it was an awesome idea to buy a round for the whole table or the whole bar? Or at 2:30am to buy everyone at 7-11 ALL the taquitos because you love everyone and it’s such a nice thing to do? Taxis. Cover. Snacks you end up wishing you didn’t eat. Shopping after lunch (with drinks) with friends and thinking “YOLO TREAT YO SELF!”and buying $200 gumboots..you KNOW what I am talking about, and it sounds hilarious but when everything is said and done, if there are feelings of regret, guilt, anxiety or worry, that’s a problem. Now I get to spend more money on Oiselle and Lululemon, race registrations, vacations, and dates with my husband just to name a few things. Oh and when I go out for food with my friends the bill is NEVER more than 40 bucks.
I do what I say I’m going to do.
I registered for three full marathons before I actually ran one. Each time I downgraded to the half because I didn’t follow my training plan to be able to complete 42.2km. Don’t get me wrong, I love the half-marathon distance, but I wanted to run a full marathon and wasn’t following through because I really liked drinking a lot of beer or wine (or both) every weekend and many nights during the week! The same week I stopped drinking alcohol I began an 18-week training plan and ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st 2016. Boom. Then I did it again. And I’m doing it again in 6 days.
I finally finished my 500-hr yoga teacher certificate that I had ONE project left to complete but didn’t get around to it for over 2 years. I take the freaking recycling to the depot once or twice a month so the bin isn’t over flowing. I get groceries so I don’t have an empty fridge and eat crap (unless I feel like it.) Guess when I get all these things done? Yes, when I am not drinking, hungover or thinking about drinking. Winning.
I look and feel my own age.
Better skin, more energy, looking and feeling alive and not Googling how to hide a hangover with makeup. Work is just fine because I am not exhausted or feeling crappy. Exercising is something I look forward to. My eyes are white and not red. I’m not dehydrated all the time. Everything is BETTER.
I’m mentally healthier than I have ever been before.
I feel happy, confident and grounded 99% of the time. No anxiety. Better sleep. No depression or worries. Minimal stress. Everything is BETTER
If you are finding yourself in that spot between alcoholic and party animal and you’re over it, trust me you’re not alone. Check out www.thesoberschool.com and www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com and you will see that sober life isn’t boring, lame or anthing bad at all, it’s actually awesome. I used to be the person who thought it was ridiculous to go out and not drink. I still go out whenever I want, for how long I want, I drive myself there and back, wash off my make-up and sleep well, and then I get up in the morning and sweat, get shit done and buy new running clothes. Email me if you feel like talking about this more! oxoxox