I am refraining from drinking any kind of alcohol, until July 21st, 2016.
I am refraining from any kind of alcoholic drink for 365 days. There are numerous reasons why I want to do this, but more importantly, I need to do this. I wrote a post about taking a hiatus from drinking back in February, and lets be real, I failed miserably.
There wasn’t a set length down of how long I wanted to quit either. In return, I drank once more in April, and I basically made up for the absence of drinking for those past 2 months. I also went to Peru over the summer and drank quite often, and lost control of myself. The drinks were much stronger in Peru, and I was definitely much drunker than I should’ve been.
Most of you know I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, so I believe if I quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey, drinking shouldn’t be too difficult. I had the chance to sit in a few Alcoholics Anonymous classes back at my old job, and it was an eye opening experience. I spoke with people that believed they never had a problem and never thought they would be at an AA meeting. Some were successful business executives, others were living in shelters with no where to turn.
Writing this is taking a blow to my confidence and pride, but I figured I should do it to remind me of why I am doing this.
So why would a 22 year old want to consider giving up alcohol for a year, or potentially their entire life? Many reasons.
1. I need to learn how to have fun socially, without booze in the picture.
2. I want to wake up every weekend feeling awesome, not like a pile of s***.
3. Most importantly, so I can learn how to face reality without needing alcohol to cover up my problems. (When in fact, it made my problems much worse).
I started drinking at the age of 15 years old. From then forward, I was spending almost every weekend drinking.
I turned 18, and I was able to get into clubs. Drinking a fifth of hard liquor every weekend was becoming standard and ordinary for me. Speed forward to turning 21, my drinking went out of control. I didn’t know when to stop, and I wasn’t really sure why I would want to stop anyways.
Everyone around me was getting just as drunk, and I had it in my mind that getting out of control hammered was expected at this age. I made extremely dumb decisions when I drank, and my thought process was completely opposite of how I am sober. If I kept going forward with how I was drinking, I would’ve hurt a few people (emotionally), and to be honest, maybe even physically.
I made very poor decisions when I was drunk, and did a few things I definitely wouldn’t have done if I were sober.
How Drinking Makes Me Feel:
When I have a drink, I immediately feel amazing (obviously). Then comes the second, and I start to feel that easygoing, mellow, happy-go-lucky feeling. There’s not a worry in the world, and I become the happiest drunk. From there forward, I have the mentality that more drinks will equal more pleasure and happiness.
This feeling stays around for a while, but once the drinks stop, I crash and the happy/carefree feeling slowly dissipates. I wake up, and feel like complete s***.
The next day is completely done for, since I have no physical or mental energy for absolutely anything. Depression kicks in, the laziness is on full force, and I start to become the most negative, pessimistic person in the world.
When I Started Figuring Out I Had A Problem:
I had a moment of realization less than a year ago. I woke up one day from a heavy night of drinking, and felt absolutely horrendous. I’m not talking physically, but mentally. I never felt more depressed in my entire life. My life felt out of control and out of my hands.
I was turning to alcohol to relieve me of my problems, but it only made it worse in the long run. There have been times when I had 3 drinks, but knew 1 was more than enough. I knew I had a problem when committing to 365 days of no alcohol sounded absolutely absurd. Thoughts were rummaging around in my head, such as, “…but I am going to Europe in less than a year, and I’m going to a couple weddings in the next coming year.” When I think of celebration or travel, I immediately pair it with getting hammered.
You might ask, “Why not just drink 1-2 drinks, and stop there?” Frankly, that’s not doable for me. Once I have 1 drink, I want more and refraining from having another drink is so much more challenging than if I were to have not drank at all from the beginning.
Facts on alcohol consumption:
- Alcohol consumption in college students’ link to about 1,400 deaths and 500,000 injuries every year and is steadily increasing every single year
- Drinking significantly increases the chances of falls, burns, drownings, and more related accidents.
- 1/3 of drownings are linked to alcohol consumption
- Almost 10% of ER visits are related to alcohol
- Women who drink regularly are at significantly greater risk for liver damage
- Chances of cirrhosis is much higher with heavy alcohol consumption
- Alcohol actually makes depression worse for both sexes
- Chronic alcohol consumption can affect the frontal lobes of the brain and cause an overall reduction in brain size
- Healthcare costs from alcohol were nearly twice as those of drug abuse related costs
- Once alcoholism is developed, it is difficult to overcome it
Benefits of quitting alcohol:
- Alcohol is empty calories, and drinking alcohol makes it much harder to stick to your goals and refrain from greasy/salty foods
- Alcohol contributes to over 60 diseases. Many people don’t realize the lasting effects it has on the body until they are diagnosed with the disease
- Chance of dementia is significantly lower when alcohol consumption is decreased
- Improved liver function, blood sugar balance, and stronger immune system as well
- Improved quality of sleep, clearer skin, senses, and mood.
Do you have any advice or tips for someone who wants to refrain from drinking? I also like reading other stories of people who have quit, so if you can share an article, post below!