Another Year of Not Drinking a Drop

Recently I was out for dinner with friends. They asked how long it had been since I last drank alcohol. Turns out it’s been so long I lost count of the years. It took me a while to figure out whether it had been three or four years.

Turns out, it’s been four years, nearly to the date. Even after all these years, the one question which always comes up is: why? Why would you want to live without alcohol?

I used to struggle to answer this question. At first because I wasn’t 100% sure myself. There seemed to be a lot of small and big reasons for it. Then slowly it became clearer because all those reasons just pointed to one thing:

I’m much happier, and much more consistently happy than I ever was when I was drinking.

I know, it sounds corny, and it’s completely subjective; I don’t have any data to show you how much happier I am. But, you know it when you feel it, and I’m feeling it.

Partially I believe alcohol (like any drug) f*cks with your mind. As in, what goes up, must come down. If you’re euphoric on Saturday night because you’re drunk, you’re going to have to repay that “debt.” That’s why you can feel shit on Sunday, Monday, and/or Tuesday (depending on how hard you’ve been at it). Nature operates on balance, and you just can’t cheat nature like that.

Of course the ups might be worth the downs, that’s a matter of personal preference. When I was younger, the downs were worth the ups as everything was new and exciting. But from my mid twenties onwards, that seemed to be less and less true, up to a point where the downs were almost never worth the ups anymore.

Habits and consistency
The other part of the happiness versus drinking equation relates to habits. Drinking fuels my bad habits and undermines my (intended) good ones. When I was drinking I’d smoke, go to bed late, delay things till the next day, skip the gym, not get up early on Monday, and so on.

Not drinking does the opposite: when it matters, the scales tip to the right side, not the wrong side. I read on the plane instead of having a glass of wine. I can easily go for a run on Sunday morning instead of staying in bed. I never have a blue Monday at work. I can get out of bed at 6 am or even 5 am with relative ease. I meditate daily instead of occasionally. And then of course all those things add up and reinforce each other and make me feel happier.

So that’s the simple reason why I don’t drink anymore, and why these four years feel like a blessing, not a punishment: I’m much happier than have ever been before!

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