I’ve already written a blog post on some of the reasons why it’s good to give up drinking – and I could probably write another 1 blog posts on the same subject but with totally different reasons in each one.
Howwever, one of the biggest challenges that someone who maybe contemplating giving up drinking, whether it’s for a temporary measure, or whether its to be a more permanent fixture, are the reasons to carry on drinking.
I’ve been in that position where I was weighing up the pro’s and con’s of going don the sober road, and until my life had completely imploded due to drinking, I always came up with good reasons, in my head, why I should carry on drinking.
In sobriety and having clear thought of mind, it seems crazy that I even trying to balance the books of pro’s and con’s – let alonge that I let myself come to the conclusion that carrying on was the better bet – but I also realise now that I was lying to myself almost to the point where I completely 100% believed the lies I was telling myself.
It’s no surprise that when I start talking to people about the prospect of giving up drinking, they come up with the same reasons, or excuses as they should maybe be called, as to why they would like to, but can’t – the top 5 are listed below :
1. Drink is the only thing that I have to look forward to : Welcome to the biggest deception alcohol plays on us. It takes away everything, and like an abusive partner, it brings you to the point that you can’t live with it and you can’t live without it – it becomes the only thing that gives you momentary reprieve from the hell that is your life.
The deceit part – alcohol has created that living hell around you and made itself the only thing you look forward to. All the time you’re not facing the real World, and taking a daily trip to planet blackout via alcohol, you’re not facing up to, solving and learning from life’s challenges. It’s these things that actually help us grow as a person and give us the tools to become….well good at life.
Perhaps the biggest thing I can tell you though, is that a life without alcohol awakens all your senses to levels you will have forgotten exist, and you’ll begin to see the World as totally different place, and you’ll look forward to and enjoy things DAILY. You’ll get pleasure from things you never imagined you would.
Even now after years of sobriety, I find myself gaining pleasure from things like smelling a tree as I walk my dog, enjoying a coffee in nice surroundings, watching the sunset on my train journey home – things before I wouldn’t have take a blind bit of notice of, let alone enjoyed.
Because it might be the elephant in the room as well – yes sexual relationships are far more enjoyable and pleasure able – for both parties i’m Sure – when sober.
My biggest fear was what would I look forward to on a Friday night – that has always been the one night where I felt I deserved a drink ( never occurred to me that it was no different to the other 6 nights where my drinking was concerned ) – what how would I unwind after a tough week working without a few bottles of wine?
The answer – there isn’t any one answer. I do loads of different things – I LOVE Friday nights. Much more than before. I might watch a movie, go for a meal, have a takeaway, see a show, go for a drive, go for a walk, play games, have an early night, cook an elaborate meal….. and the list goes on – whereas before, all I could look forward to was one thing – drinking. The setting maybe have changed, although it rarely did, but the activity was the same – drinking.
Believe me, you have a lot more to look forward to in sobriety, and you will enjoy whatever you do x 100
2. Without drinking, I’ll have no social life : Completely not true, but, I won’t lie to you, your social life will change. You will findyour circle of friends will change. Some of the friends who you no longer see anymore will be through your decisions, and some who you no longer see will be through their decisions. Because you have made the brave and tough decision to cut drinking out, a lot of people aren’t ready to do so yet, and all the things we’re talking about here are still every day life for them.
You’ll soon start to wonder why you spent so much time, and money, doing things with certain friends or no kind of return. You’ll find that you start wanting to do all sorts of different things – you might take up a hobby or 5 and those will spurn a new social life all of its own that is both rewarding and satisfying.
You may also find in time, that you do hang out with those old friends in the same places – and they may still drink, but I almost guarantee you, that you’ll view those social occasions very differently. You may find yourself counting down the minutes until you can leave because they just seem pointless. You may also find yourself tempted to join in again. Either way, you’ll see that those types of socialising aren’t the positive experiences that you once found them to be, on any level.
Socialising without alcohol exists and you’ll find there is a depth and variety of social life that you possibly never could have tapped into before. It’s not limited by being within walking distance or by the fact of whether it involved a bar.
3. Life will be boring without drink : Incorrect. Life with drinking is boring. It’s repetitive. It’s small doses of enjoyment, ever decreasing, interdispersed by growing periods of negativity, anxiety, depression, broken relationships, self loathing…I could go on. Boring.
Life without drink – full of hope and possibility. Full of learning. Full of enjoyment and satisfaction. Full of ability and self love. No barriers to what you can do. No hinderances to enjoying every day – no hangover, no dehydration, no regrets, no hiding, lying, no wasting money on a bottle of false promise – a life so un boring, you’ll hit the pillow every night wondering how you ever found the time to enjoy anything during active drinking days. The answer to that is – you probably aren’t enjoying life. Not really.
4. What will I do at Christmas? : a weirdly specific point here, and you can replace Christmas with Birthday for some people – but the premise is the same. We tie certain events into our drinking – but really all these events are, are excuses to accelerate our drinking beyond our normal levels. They’re days when alcoholic behaviour is normalised and forgiven, and has been for generations.
A lot of the time, this mindset is purely habitual. You always have a glass of wine Christmas Day morning, or its traditional to go to the pub pre dinner and come back and have many bottles of wine before falling asleep – where’s the harm, you do it every year, and surely this is what makes Christmas what it is right? Wrong. So wrong.
By over indulging alcoholically on these important days, you’re denying yourself getting the best out of them. Imagine reaching Christmas Day evening still full of energy, fully coherent, with vibrant and rich memories of the whole day having given the best you to everyone you spent ther day with.
Also, imagine waking up Boxing Day morning feeling great and ready to go again without the fog of hangover or the depleted energy levels that you would inevitably suffering from.
These days are MORE enjoyable sober, you’ve probably just never given them the chance to find out. Try it – I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
5. What will I do when I go on holiday? : Much the same as the Christmas / Birthday scenario, it’s insane how we can associate an activity or event and its success with drinking.
A lot of people see holiday as the perfect excuse to take the gloves off with their drinking – it’s no holds barred. There’s no work to have to face, everyone is in the relaxed holiday spirit and it’s just not frowned upon to have a beer at 10am, or a 7am pint with breakfast at the airport – let alone making the most of the generous spirit measures they give you abroad. And hey – if you’re going all inclusive, you want to get your moneys worth right?
Stop. Just stop. The fact of the matter is holidays are way better without drinking. You find you have more of the day to enjoy the setting of wherever you are, you can immerse yourself in the culture if you so wish, much more easily, and you’ll return from holiday feeling genuinely much more relaxed and recharged. Your body will have benefitted from the change of pace, and mentally you will have given your mind the breather that we all need from the chaos of everyday life.
I was 6 months sober when I took my first holiday, and yes, it was all inclusive, and it bars by every pool as well as wine offered with every meal. The previous version of myself would have indulged at every opportunity. But – I had the best holiday ever. I was fresh every day, I Absorbed a lot more of the ambience of the holiday and I was ready and willing to do a lot more of the cool things that were offered, like day trips etc.
I came back from that holiday feeling like I had grown from an experience point of view, from a knowledge point of view and from a spiritual point of view. On top of that – I felt completely ready to face the day to day grind again. And dare I say it – I looked great.
So there are the top 5 reasons to drink as I hear them. If you find yourself using these reasons, I hope this post resonates with you and helps in some way.
Life without drinking, whether short or long term, is so much more rewarding. Don’t fall for the false promises alcohol makes you – it never delivers on them.