My experience with alcohol has been a rollercoaster. Like most people who drink, I often would say that it has never really been a problem. I had consumed alcohol pretty much my entire adult life. People who know me would tell you that I liked a drink. I was at a stage where I was drinking 4-5 bottles of wine a week. Sometimes I’d throw in a six pack on the weekend or even a bottle of spirits, if I was watching a bit of sport on TV. I knew that sometimes I drank too much. Sometimes I’d wake up feeling a little seedy, but generally I thought I had it under control. But there came a point in my life, exactly 100 days ago, when that changed. Just before the end of last year, I went out with my wife and I had too much to drink. I could not walk straight and I was feeling really, really down. Suicidal, in fact. I know I embarrassed her. I embarrassed myself. I know I upset her with some of the things I said. I said to myself, “I never want to go through that, again.”
So I made a decision to try and stop drinking. I set myself a goal of 30 days, and decided to modify or extend that goal once I reached it. It was quite an interesting first few days. I thought it would be a lot harder, but I believe once I decided simply not to drink, there was a weight lifted off my shoulders. Previously I had tried to cut down the amount. I was often torn between deciding when to drink and when to abstain. I found it difficult and frustrating sometimes when I had not “allowed" myself to drink. But once the decision was made to stop it 100%, then it was like I was somehow released from all that stress. During those one hundred days, occasionally I was a little tempted to go buy a bottle of wine, but then I just had to remind myself of some of the benefits, (below), and the urge quickly subsided.
There are quite a few reasons people drink. But I can assure you that the reasons to drink can be completely dismissed by the overwhelming amount of reasons not to drink. If you list all the reasons why you drink, they can pretty much be counter-punched by a plethora of reasons that state the exact opposite.
Anyway… here is the list of benefits, in no particular order, that I have noticed from going one-hundred days without alcohol. I have listed them here, using the word "you" because I want you to imagine what it would be like if you did it!
Things that could happen if you give up alcohol:
You will save money. This is an obvious benefit, but when you think about it you are literally no longer pissing your hard earned money away. When you spend money on alcohol, your money disappears down the toilet. You will also save money on head-ache tablets!
No more hangovers. You will get your mornings back. You will get out of bed with a spring in your step and you say goodbye to that lethargic start to the day
You will sleep better: No more waking up in the middle of the night feeling dehydrated or busting to go to the toilet.
You will have more energy. Not only will you spring out of bed better in the morning but you will feel much more energised throughout your entire day
You will feel healthier. Your overall feeling of well-being will improve.
You will actually be healthier. You will probably have better digestion and more consistent bowel movements. You will notice your improved energy levels and be more inclined to exercise. Alcohol consumption is believed to be one of the big contributors to cancer.
Your mental health will improve. Alcohol is a known depressant. You will feel less inclined to suffer from depression. Your low times will never be as low again.
You will be more inclined to exercise. Exercise is always an important way to stay healthy; physically and mentally. Now that you have taken a positive step towards being healthy, exercise is an obvious choice for the next step. Start with a little, then watch the desire grow.
Your dog will love you more because you will probably feel like walking it more.
You will lose weight. Not only will you benefit from exercise, alcohol is packed with calories. I lost 5kg’s in those 100 days, and it was pretty effortless. I started to feel healthier because of no alcohol. I started to want that feeling more… and an easy way to be healthy was to start eating better food. Nothing drastic. I just tried to eat less sugar and slightly smaller portions.
You will extend your life on this planet… possibly by years. It might not mean much now, but when you are frail and old, it could mean everything. There is a mountain of research to indicate that drinking too much reduces your life-span.
You might have more time to explore your creativity. It might be time to take up that hobby you’ve been thinking about.
You won’t stink. Having bad breath or smelling like alcohol can immediately turn people away from you, or at the very least, make them feel like you have a problem.
You won’t be such a couch potato. You will be inspired to actually get stuff done. You might be inspired to become more educated.
Your memory will improve. People who drink too much often can’t even remember some of the things they do, say or experience.
Watching TV and Movies will be better because you will actually remember what you watch. You might not even fall asleep before the end, anymore.
You will have more time to read and be more likely to remember what you have learnt.
Your productivity should improve. You will get more done and it will be better.
You will have less brain cell destruction. In case you didn't know… alcohol kills brain cells. Therefore, the more you drink, the stupider you become.
You will be considered more reliable. People won’t discard you because you might be drinking. Non-drinkers give the impression of being more responsible. People will trust you more and consider you someone they can turn to.
Drink-driving? No worries. You won’t ever have to worry about being caught by the police for drink-driving. It will be impossible to break the law in that way.
Your outings won’t be spoilt by spending time calculating whether or not you can drive or being embarrassed about having to ask someone else to drive for you.
You’ll get a buzz out of being strong enough to say no to alcohol. You will feel a little boost of self-esteem, having a good feeling about making the right choice every time someone offers you a drink and you say no. Especially afterwards when they are all drunk or hung-over.
You will say less regretful things. Alcohol can remove inhibitions and often people say things they should keep to themselves. One of the worst side effects of alcohol is regret.
You will make less regretful choices. Alcohol blurs decision making. It causes people to do things that they normally would not do. I saw a T-shirt once that said “I get drunk and buy stuff I don’t need on eBay”. Funny, but not so funny for you, if alcohol gives you the courage to do things that are unwise. Sometimes drug curiosity is enhanced either under the influence of alcohol or because alcohol’s ‘high’ isn’t enough, anymore.
You will be less likely to feel embarrassed about choices you make and things you say. Being regretful is really bad for your self esteem. You won’t have to keep asking yourself :Why did I say that?” or “Why was I so stupid?”
You won’t need to vomit in a public place ever again. No more hugging that toilet bowl. As I got older, this was less of a problem… but if you ever find yourself doing it, it’s probably time to question your choices.
You can laugh at others instead of them laughing at you. You can shake your head at others, instead of them shaking their head at you. It doesn’t mean getting up on your high horse. It means, you can look at someone else and say, “I am past that.” It can be a positive reminder about how far you have come.
You will feel wiser and stronger than before. You will know that you have made a good decision. You will know it is a wise choice. You will start to believe that you are a better person.
You won’t need to make apologies for bad behaviour. You will be less obnoxious! (Hopefully!)
You will feel less self-centred. Drinking, especially in excess can be seen as a very selfish thing to do. No -one else really benefits from it. In fact, others can suffer from it.
You will start to see the media’s influence more clearly. Movies, TV shows and most forms of media condone alcohol consumption and encourage people to drink. How many times have you seen a movie when an actor is under pressure, so they reach straight for the bottle? When you start looking for it, it’s everywhere. So much alcohol, everywhere; making so many people dependent. Don’t be brainwashed by the media.
You will be able to think more clearly and defend yourself better. Whether physically or verbally challenged or attacked, you’ll put up a better fight if you can walk and think straight.
You’ll have a better ability to judge when a situation is beyond your control. You will be better equipped to walk away from an argument. You will be more in control of your emotions. You will be wiser.
You will be more wise in your social media posts. Under the influence of alcohol it’s easy to post something inappropriate or argue with a stranger on-line.
You will be less promiscuous and less inclined to flirt with people. The temptation to communicate with someone you shouldn’t, in a way that you normally wouldn’t; will be far less likely to happen.
Your friends will actually respect your decision. And if they don’t they really are not good friends. If they don’t want to see you do better in life, then they are not good friends.
You could have a positive effect on other people’s choices to drink. If you say no to alcohol you are forcing them to question their own choices. Maybe finding a buddy to keep tabs on each other is a good way to ensure you keep to the plan. I have a nephew, who lives interstate and he is constantly encouraging me. I know I am doing the same for him.
You will be a better example to your loved ones. You can’t really tell a teenager they shouldn’t drink if you are getting smashed all the time.
You will be a better example to every young person who knows you. Not just your own kids, but other people’s kids will learn of your transformation and commend you on it.
You will be less likely to get angry/violent. Sometimes alcohol increases people’s tendency to get impatient. Being hung-over and tired can do the same.
You will smile more. Because you are not as annoyed and you feel better about your choices, (and because of all the other positive effects that you are reading about, here); you will smile more.
You will feel better looking. You won’t be feeling like a zombie when you get out of bed. Now that you are taking care of yourself you will probably spend a little more time on your appearance. You want people to notice that you are “looking well”. You actually want to tell them it’s because of your positive choices.
You should be nicer to be around. People will not fear your bad temper or you making unwise decisions, saying unwise things, etc. Therefore, it is quite possible they will enjoy your company more.
Your spouse/partner will have more respect for you. They will probably like to be around you more. They will be glad you made the choice. They will be proud of you for trying to improve yourself. You will be less likely to embarrass them, too.
You will feel more physically capable. You will feel better and more physically able than you have in years. You will have a new zest for all things physical.
You will feel like you have made a positive step in putting your life back on track. You will realise the importance of your decision and be so glad you are back on track. No longer feeling lost or controlled by alcohol, each day will reveal new and exciting opportunities.
You will be a better friend to those who need your support. Suddenly you will have the time and ability to look after others. You won’t need to make excuses for selfish reasons. You won’t be too drunk to drive, or too drunk to have a decent conversation. You can be a good friend, again. You can talk wisdom instead of alcohol-inspired nonsense.
You will get more things done. With your newly found energy you will find there are actually more hours in the day. The need to nap might disappear altogether, (if that was your thing). I saw an interview with Alice Cooper a long time ago. He talked about giving up alcohol. He reflected that he couldn’t believe how much more time he had.
You will find an inner peace and be more comfortable in your own skin. More control equals less anxiety.
You will feel wiser. You will be proud of your choice, not to drink. You will feel cleverer than you have for a while. And this newly-gained confidence and wisdom will help in all areas of your life.
You will be a better citizen. You will be acting more responsibly. More maturely. More respectfully. People will take you more seriously if you are in control of your life.
There will be more peace in your household. Less arguments. Less impatience. Less annoyance. Less judgement.
You will probably do your job better. Because you will be healthier, have more time and be in a better mood, whatever you do for a living might become more rewarding and interesting; especially because you will have more energy and confidence and the money you earn will not just be flushed down the toilet.
When you see someone else who is drinking you will realise how stupid it was. You will be glad that you are the one not drinking. You might think to yourself, “Maybe it would be nice to share just one drink”; but as they have more and more you will be glad you are not having any. You will see their weakness, and you won’t want to be like them.
You will have developed a higher level of self-control which might assist you in dealing with other areas in your life that you want to improve. Being in control is a good feeling as opposed to spiralling out of control! You are now controlling your choices rather than alcohol controlling you.
You won’t want to go back. The three or four reasons I used to have for drinking fade into insignificance compared to my 57 reasons not to! New goal: 200 days
The question is… have you got the guts to try it for 30 days?
Go on. I dare you.
If you are a drinker you know in your heart it’s a good idea not to do it in excess. The problem is that alcohol is a drug, and it’s very, very hard to control. And although we often have good intentions to control it, rarely can it actually be controlled 100% of the time. I guess the question you need to ask is: Can I control my alcohol consumption or is it controlling me?
If someone has sent this article to you, maybe they really want to see you make a positive choice for your future. Once you free yourself from the chains of alcohol, you can have your life back.
Now is the time to try this. Don’t tell people you are “giving up alcohol”. Tell them you are seeing how you feel by going a month without it. Maybe your first target could be a week, instead of a month. You will be surprised how easy it is once you draw that line.
6 quick tips to get you started
If you can’t go a month without it, maybe you have a worse problem than you thought. Maybe you need to seek help. There is plenty of help out there , but you need to take the first step.
If you can manage a month, come back to this list and see how much of it you agree with. Share your story with the world. If you have any tips or find out there are even more benefits, I’d love to hear about them in the comment section, below.
See the article I wrote after 200 days, here
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