Last weekend marked 10 years since I stopped drinking alcohol. As a very all or nothing person, I realised in 2009 after my best friends 30th birthday that is over indulged too much again, and made a conscious decision then to give it up for good.
I did it partially for health reasons (if I got drunk on a night, I’d find it hard to get up early to run or train), partially as I didn’t seem to know when to stop – and I didn’t like the person that ‘drunk Lorn’ was, and partially as I knew it wasn’t good for me.
I used to drink more or less every Friday and Saturday night. More out of habit than anything else. Moderately most of the time, but then every 6 weeks or so I’d go on an all day binge session – and that’s what many seemed to do.
Then I’d either get myself into sticky situations, make a fool of myself or offend someone with my drunk chat, or ended up sick / hungover for days. It wasn’t big and it wasn’t clever. The final straw came when I was so sick the day after my friends 30th – I was sick 8 times (and maybe had alcohol poisoning?), and felt sick for a few days after it. Enough was enough. I was done with it.
Now the benefits I’ve got from removing alcohol from my life seem endless. At the start it was a bit of a struggle, changing my habits and getting across to people that I don’t drink, but now everyone seems to accept it as a part of me. A part of the fit and healthy Lorn.
Now after I made not drinking a habit, for the last 9-10 years of my life, not drinking has become a part of me. And I’ve become sort of stubborn to not go back on it. I’ve resisted peer pressure, and people saying ‘just the one?!’ as I know I don’t want it to be a part of my life.
I saw how it became a destructive part of other people’s lives and I don’t need that type of self inflicted challenge in my life.
In my experience, benefits of not drinking alcohol include:
1. Waking up fresh after a night out.
2. Able to stay on track with my training and fitness.
3. More money to spend on holidays, trainers and other things.
4. Able to maintain my weight better without empty alcohol calories and the extra calories eaten on hangovers.
5. Better health overall – I’m never punishing my body with giving it alcohol to process and my body is much healthier because of it.
6. Able to connect better with people, either those who are drinking or not. When you’re sober it’s easier to listen and chat and engage with others (and remember what was said!)
7. Able to be there for friends (looking out for them when they drink, or driving them home on occasion).
8. Able to remember nights out and what happened.
9. Improved sleep (although this is still a bit of a challenge for me and my overactive brain)
10. Apparently it makes you look and feel younger and healthier too / better skin etc (than if I’d kept drinking the way I was).
11. Watching others get drunk / be hungover and repeatedly being relieved that it’s not me.
The main reason I don’t drink is that it doesn’t sit well with me trying to be as healthy as I can… but the fact that I don’t spend money on it (or the hangovers) is a great benefit for me, as is the knowledge that I won’t be tempted to overdo it and end up being in a bad place with it.
I also celebrated my friends 40th birthday this weekend, and there probably was less drinking there than there used to be. I didn’t want to make a fuss of not drinking and it being my 10th anniversary, as what was more important was celebrating her birthday. But it felt like quite a big deal to me, even though not drinking is just normal for me, and part of who I am.
I wasn’t ever an alcoholic, but realised that drinking alcohol wasn’t good for me. I was also conscious that my Mum and her generation of our family all seemed to struggle with it.
I can honestly say that giving it up was the best thing I ever did. But I wouldn’t ever think or say that others should give it up, unless they want to and they think they could get some or all of the benefits from not drinking.
So if you want to lose weight or find it easier to maintain weight, or you want to save money or feel better / healthier, you could maybe try to come off of for either a bit (a month or three or a year) or forever… but you don’t have to. And maybe you’re better at keeping your intake low (unlike I seemed to be!)
Here’s some tips / information on how to give up, should you wish to:
Giving up alcohol really has changed my life for the better, and I can honestly say that drinking alcohol isn’t something I’m going to ever do again.
All or nothing, and for this one, I choose nothing – and I feel a lot better for it. Cheers!