160 Days and the Upcoming Holidays

Well I’ve passed the 160 day mark and it looks good so far. Last weekend I was a little tempted to drink just because I was hanging out with old friends that I used to drink a lot with. However, I was able to bypass the urge by drinking Martinelli’s sparkling cider and taking shots of water with them (me water, them tequila). I find it’s better if people think you are drinking and it’s better if psychologically you feel like you are drinking (but really you aren’t).

Anyway, a friend of mine pointed out a really good blog post on “How to Quit Drinking Alcohol.” The section I really like is where the author talks about the reasons for quitting drinking. It’s a lot of the reasons that I’ve undertaken this 365 day challenge:

  • Productive socializing. Talking to strangers is a great way to build character, but its benefits are greatly reduced when you’re drunk. The alcohol represses much of the social anxiety, which inhibits lasting change. But the only thing more terrifyingly fun than getting drunk and meeting a bunch of new people is staying sober and meeting a bunch of new people.
  • Avoid the McPilgrimage. Clearly, there’s a conspiracy between the fast food industry and the liquor industry. Free will collapses under the weight of insobriety and convenience. With enough alcohol in your system, even the most wretched burger joint becomes an irresistible sanctuary.
  • Reclaim lost time. Let’s say you have a few drinks around the house, three times a week, and that light touch of drunkenness costs you three hours of productive thinking each time. Within one year, you’ll have shaved about one full month off your life. That’s a lot of lost CPU time that could have been put towards reading a book, writing a speech, playing a sport, or even starting a business. And this doesn’t even count the time lost waiting for your brain to resolidify the morning after a night on the town.
  • Get rich quickly. You don’t have to party that hard to spend $100-$150/week or more on alcohol and related expenses. If you quit drinking today, you could reasonably expect to convert that choice into a bankroll for backpacking around the world in about six months.
  • Become an early riser. I’m currently readjusting my sleep schedule to wake up at 5:30 AM, seven days a week. Alcohol, and the lifestyle that often accompanies it, work against this process. Alcohol makes me feel tired when I want to feel energetic and awake. Ironically, it also increases wakefulness during sleep.

I can’t say I’ve become an early riser, but I know for sure I’ve saved a lot of money and I think I’ve been more productive. However, one negative is that I think I’ve become more irritable and less patient when around other drunk people. I know if I were drunk I wouldn’t mind them so much, but when sober sometimes other people’s shenanigans aren’t that amusing.

My one consistent reader and commenter, Dan, asked me an important question in one of his comments…with New Year’s Eve coming up what my plans were. In the past my NYE’s involved some fancy party where people get dressed up and drink. Even when drinking some of these parties weren’t THAT much fun, so this year I’m going to go more low-key. Spend the eve at home with friends and maybe even that special someone ;)

Halfway point is coming up. It’s nice knowing I’ve been able to make it this far when many people didn’t think I could last more than a month. It’s empowering knowing that when you set your mind to do something that you can do it.

DAYS SOBER: 160
DAYS LEFT: 205

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