9 Ways How Going Alcohol-Free Gives You More Of Life, Not Less
Enough is enough
Like every year around this time, millions of people ask what they can and should do to improve their lives. I, too, asked myself that very question because with Drink Revolution, we are here to help you make your life a little better. So, my answer to this all important question: say yes to living more.
It’s as simple as it is beautiful. Let’s say YES to MORE. Let’s choose a lifestyle that is all about saying yes to more. Let’s make choices that are about refueling and refilling the good stuff, as much of the good stuff as possible.
I think it’s time to say enough is enough. It is enough with the myths about alcohol being good for human health. It is enough of claiming that alcohol must be part of our culture and that that would never change. It is enough of pretending that alcohol has all these magical effects. It is enough of hiding that you are sober, pretending that you sip on the champagne that was forced on you instead of simply doing what you decide is good for you. And it is definitely enough of coming up with ridiculous excuses for why you do not take booze. People will find out that you are not pregnant latest in 9 months anyway.
Enough with the limitations. Enough with the stigma. Enough with the fake stuff. Enough is enough. It is time for yes to more.
Yes to more drinks
Through saying YES to booze-free life we are actually choosing more in every sense of the word. You can literally have so many drinks as you wish. When drinking your favorite alcohol-free drink, there are no other limitations than your own stomach and bladder. You can enjoy fully without feeling guilt or worrying what the ethanol might do to you and the people around you.
No need to follow the prescribed amount of units (that differ from country to country, which is a very interesting phenomena in itself) or what is expected from you as a student, parent, teacher, artist, politician, male or female. There are so many expectations and rules about what and how much alcohol to use.
Enough with the hoax of “responsible” alcohol consumption. There’s no need to be “responsible” with the good stuff. With alcohol-free you can skip all that, enjoy as much as you wish and behave authentically. More drinks set free from the psychoactive, carcinogenic, addictive substance called ethanol. More smoothies, more hydration, more juices…
Yes to more partying
Sometimes, when people consider going alcohol-free (be it for an after-work event, a weekend or overall), they also take into account the possibility that they won’t party anymore because what we’ve learnt is that alcohol is an inherent part of partying. No alcohol — no party. This false assumption limits us because it logically assumes that if we do not have alcohol around, we cannot party and celebrate. Enough with that! Enough with the synonymous treatment of party and alcohol use. Party is party. Alcohol is ethanol. Drink Revolutionaries party whenever they feel for it because they’ve experienced that the spirit of parties, the lightheartedness and unbound joy are coming from inside, not from bottles and cups.
Another side of partying with alcohol is the need of using it “responsibly” (as all the ads and labels on cans and bottles advise us). But who wants to party “responsibly” and limit themselves while having the best time of their lives? It is a misleading concept, isn’t it? “Responsibility” in the alcohol culture is brought to us as a hoax by the alcohol industry that knows how people’s habits work and are formed. And Big Alcohol knows as well that humans often make irrational choices. Knowledge and information do not guide our decisions in situations where we want to be relaxed, where we want to impress, where we want to be entertained, where we want to belong. It is self-evident that we won’t be rational in situations where we want to switch off our brains and just be. Enough with the hoax of “responsible” party then.
Party settings are when it is easiest to target and manipulate people and offer them a substance that is psychoactive, addictive, carcinogenic and teratogen and make them consume it without hesitations (and limitations). If people have problems later (hangover, accidents, fights, addiction), the alcohol industry claims that the individual is to blame, that they were weak, that they were irresponsible.
I say enough with that nonsense, too! It is very unfair and dangerous. Alcohol problems are never just an individual’s fault or responsibility. It is the environment. It is the system and culture that needs to change. Normalizing alcohol use is the crucial factor leading to increased alcohol use and problems. I call enough!
Instead, let’s choose more parties and more partying. Parties set free, if you will. Partying booze-free doesn’t deplete energy, it rejuvenates us to dance longer and enjoy more and to do it the next day again, if we want to.
Yes to more adventures
It is amazing how much time we free for ourselves when we go alcohol-free. There are more and more testimonials of how people — thanks to their alcohol-free choices — also shift their focus from self to others and start volunteering, doing sports, spent more time in nature, or find a new hobby. Yes, to more adventures in new settings and with new challenges.
Alcohol use often leads to the same people, the same experiences in the same kinds of settings (and often to lack of memories). But how unique are the hangovers and blackouts actually? Often it is a compensation for a new adventure rather than a new adventure itself. Honestly, alcohol containers have become security blankets for people’s insecurities and anxieties. But I think it’s truly adventurous to face those very insecurities head on?
Enough with the myths that alcohol lowers inhibitions. It doesn’t. Ethanol in the human body is a depressant, not a stimulant. Ditching the booze means therefore saying yes to more real adventures; yes to being you; yes to meeting new people and connecting fully aware; yes to skipping dull excuses for unacceptable behavior; yes to finding out about who you are in different settings and how to connect to new people and make unique experiences.
Yes to more self-worth
Choosing alcohol-free gives you a kick every time you realize you are doing something for yourself and your health. With the growing evidence of harmful effects of alcohol, it is more and more difficult to ignore the information that alcohol simply makes us sick.
That is why every time we consume alcohol, somewhere deep inside we know, that we are not treating our body well. And that contributes to lower self-confidence. Or let me turn it around. How do you feel EACH time you do something you know is good for you? A morning run, long enough sleep, spa, taking the bike instead of the car, or walking the stairs instead of using the elevator, getting a new hair-cut, finishing a good book, spending time with your soul-mate, or calling your parents… Every time we make the “right” choice on those occasions, we feel a sense of happiness, satisfaction and gratitude. We experience self-worth.
Every alcohol-free choice is actually like a mini-spa session for both your body and soul.
Through alcohol commercials we are told that we are not enough and that we need that ethanol packaged in a fancy bottle or served in a stylish glass, and peddled to us with a carefully crafted narrative to feel better about ourselves. The ads are telling us that our friends are not enough without sharing a bottle of C2H60. The alcohol norm has taught us that we are insufficient at enjoying precious moments when we do not hold a glass with alcohol. The romantic candle light dinner is not romantic enough. The party is not cool enough. The commercials and alcohol culture tell us we are less worth without alcohol.
This cultural programing driven by Big Alcohol is not only problematic but outright dangerous: studies show that self-esteem that is based on external sources has negative mental health consequences.
Enough with the myth that alcohol is necessary to make every occasion and experience special. It is time to turn that around and find the value in doing something good for us. An alcohol-free choice can be our every day deed for ourselves, our wellbeing and the people around us, and it does not cost us anything but the rewards are invaluable.
Yes to more money
Apropos no costs. Alcohol costs a lot. From a monetary perspective, it is simply cheaper to go alcohol-free.
As far as I can tell, alcohol-free menu options are (still?) cheaper than alcohol-full drinks (but of course this might change with the growing alcohol-free trend).
What we know is that people tend to consume less alcohol-free drinks thanks to clearer understanding of our needs. It is simply easier to say “thanks, it is enough” when offered another cup of tea than to reject another glass of beer.
Moreover, there are substantial financial benefits from cutting out booze. Less weekly and monthly expenditures; less healthcare costs; and more productivity and energy. The internet is also full with estimations of how much money could be saved with cutting out booze (which obviously depends on how much and how often people use alcohol), but to be able to save £7000 per year is surely lucrative.
In that spirit, I say cheers to more money saved from cutting out harmful stuff for more healthy behavior. Yes to more ka-ching.
Yes to more relations and connections
As complex as relations can be with or without alcohol, the connection created in alcohol-free environments where we are authentic, gets easier to understand and navigate.
What we know is, that people use alcohol as an excuse. For example when a person wants to flirt with someone else. None likes failure and potential embarrassment but this situation is so unpredictable. And we have also learnt that there is a high possibility of refusal from the other side (which is seen as a failure). To protect themselves, people use alcohol to either excuse their inappropriate behavior (trying to flirt), or they can “blame” alcohol for their failure when they get rejected. It is not them, it is the alcohol… And the saddest thing is, that sometimes, they succeed in flirting or connecting to a stranger (which is not sad at all) and then this success is ascribed to alcohol. But that takes away the agency from the person thus undermining our ability to socialize with strangers and deal with socially risky situations.
When meeting new people (or just socializing in an environment where we feel uncomfortable) we learn that we need alcohol to get over that situation. Whether we get over it successfully or with some embarrassment, we ascribe the result to the effects of alcohol and end up in a Catch 22 moment. That is why when people decide to quit alcohol, they are worried that they won’t be social and that they won’t meet new people. They even accept it and are ready to sacrifice their social life. Ouch! That sounds discouraging. And so not true! I say enough with treating alcohol as social lubricant. Enough with replacing your own ability to connect to people with ethanol’s “magic effects”. Enough with this placebo.
Therefore it is high time to say yes to more connections, meeting new people in different settings, talking to strangers on the subway, asking that person out and trusting you are able to deal with whatever answer you get…
Yes to more healthy relations! There are more and more local clubs and groups, and organizations, and apps, Facebook-groups and events that connect people who want to experience alcohol-free after-works, morning rave-parties, group workouts, meditations, mingles… They are all just a short google-search away.
Yes to more depth
VOGUE has recently published an article where the author actually booed Dry January saying she wants her “cozy, hygge feeling I get whenever I curl up on my neighbors’ couch in front of their mini fireplace with a glass of inky red wine”.
And without repeating myself too much, that’s what we at Drink Revolution have been talking about: the alcohol placebo.
Just imagine the sentence like this: “cozy, hygge feeling I get whenever I curl up on my neighbors’ couch in front of their mini fireplace with a… cup of tea/ a good book/ a hot chocolate/ alcohol-free wine,… and most probably with very nice company of the neighbors.”
If we understand that the cozy feeling does not come from the wine but from the whole atmosphere and situation in which wine is the least essential part, we can easily see that more depth comes from embracing the entire experience, instead of ascribing it’s magic to one tiny element.
When I read that article, I thought enough is enough. Enough with treating alcohol like a placebo that magically makes everything special, when experiences are already profound.
Yes to more experiences of “hygge”, set free from the need to have alcohol; yes to more depth in the moment.
Yes to more health
Ethanol is used for disinfection, for example during flu season as hand sanitizer. But inside the human body it is extremely bad for our health. Why to pour poison down the throat when you can enjoy some vitamins in form of fresh juices, smoothies or alcohol-free beers and wines and beautiful mocktails that are not rare on the market anymore?
Alcohol is also like a hyper-processed food. It includes lots of sugar and empty calories, which means that using it after a workout effectively eliminates the efforts you have put in.
And people sleep better on their alcohol-free days.
What is quite cynical is that many people still defend the positive effects of alcohol on our health such as the myth that it is good for our heart or helps digestion. Those are the desperate arguments of alcohol producers to justify that they sell a product that causes loads of harm and people innocently take the arguments on and spread them.
But honestly, I would like to see one person who goes to parties and consumes alcohol for their heart. Or which of those football fans gulping down their beer while supporting their team is consuming it to help their intestines?
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s why I say enough with the myth about alcohol’s health benefits. It’s time to say yes to more health and embrace all the awesome, stylish, and delicious drink recipes out there for every occasion and situation.
Yes to more freedom
I have mentioned it before but I take the freedom to repeat myself. I take liberty very seriously.
Alcohol ads and alcohol “culture” have taught us one thing: no party, no celebration, no victory, no good mood, no intimacy, no friendship, no coziness, no success, no quality social interaction without booze. All of those moments are associated with alcohol.
We get conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs and allow ourselves to experience all those precious moments only when alcohol is present as well. That is a robbery! We are robbed of our freedom to feel happiness, joy, sorrow, achievement, greatness, closeness, relaxation, and ambition free from alcohol, inside ourselves. But our freedom to experience all those feelings is unconditional. It should not matter whether we are home alone, or waiting at a bus stop or surrounded by friends. We are meant to feel in all the situations and environments. Enough with this confining alcohol norm. Time to say yes to more freedom. An alcohol-free mind is more present and perceptive, for example to the beauty around us. It’s time to say yes to more experiences: What we allow us to do and experience when we are not limited by the belief that alcohol needs to be present creates freedom; it’s time to say yes to dancing in the streets or singing along aloud to the music in your headphones; or to trying out something new… It’s time to say yes to more.
Originally published at Drink Revolution.