Why I Have Stopped Drinking Alcohol7 min read
I have been thinking about this for sometime now but I have decided to quit drinking even though I’m not an alcoholic!
I have never struggled with alcohol in my life.
Going without alcohol for a month is really easy for me. So, for anybody who knows me would probably wonder why I am stopping drinking alcohol altogether.
Actually I have never been a great drinker.
During my late teens and university years I was nicknamed the “chunder king” (short for Chunder Loo rhyming slang for spew) from one of my best mates from home.
Nights out partying would end up with me being violently sick, not just the once but normally three to four times within a hour. Not a pleasant feeling even though friends found it amusing.
After a few evenings out with expat friends in Malaysia and feeling really groggy the next day, I decided I would quit drinking alcohol. I will explain in much more detail why but first let me talk about my relationship with alcohol.
Early Years Experimenting With Alcohol
I have never been a beer drinker, I still sort of blame my Dad as he used to make his own beer when I was a kid.
Now we’re not talking about the fancy home craft brewing kits you see these days (check out Amazon for some examples). In those days it was very basic, 40-pint metal bowl and wooden stirring spoon over the kitchen hob.
We would always know when he was making a 40-pint tub of beer as the kitchen floor would be completely sticky from the hops spilt on the floor.
I would joke that I could do a Michael Jackson impression from beat it as it was really that sticky!
So whenever I went out for drinks with mates knowing what to drink was never straight forward. I mostly went for sweet tasting drinks that really didn’t taste of alcohol – I really enjoyed the alcopops period. You remember them, Two Dogs and Hooch.
A few of these and you soon couldn’t feel your teeth!
During my teenage years when most kids are experimenting with alcohol I very rarely drunk. This was mostly because I was a dedicated runner and triathlete until Chronic Fatigue Syndrome knocked me for six and affected my health.
Later in my working life I tended to stick to spirits with soft drinks, it could be vodka or Jack Daniels. JD coke eventually become my alcoholic beverage of choice. Although I was also partial to Mojito and the odd Pina Colada (I know!).
Benefits of quitting alcohol
There are some really compelling reasons for giving up alcohol. Deep down we probably know most of the reasons why it makes sense to stop, or least significantly reduce drinking.
If found seven most effective reasons for why I should stop.
7 Reasons Why I Quit Alcohol
- Improved concentration and productivity
- Better sleep
- Higher energy levels
- Weight loss
- Better health
- Learning that you don’t not need alcohol to have fun
- Saving money
When looking at this list of benefits it’s really easy to see why everyone should consider quitting for at least one-month, if not longer.
Quitting Social Drinking Easy?
One thing is for sure, if you quit drinking your social life does change.
I am not going to deny that its easy, in some cases as it really depends on your social circle of friends.
It’s easier living in Malaysia to quit drinking that’s for sure. Okay so Malaysia is a Muslim country and alcohol is not cheap like it’s neighbour Thailand, but it’s not as simple as that.
Let me explain.
I am a British guy and we are known around the world for our drinking culture (or lack of in some cases). Since being old enough to drink I have never been a fan of feeling pressurised to drink alcohol.
In my experience, when in the UK a lot of times this is mostly the case.
You just have to go to one of the big British towns in the UK to see it.
I am from Bournemouth and the town looks a mess late at night at the weekend. Most of my friends who still live in Bournemouth rarely go into town during the evening mainly for this reason.
[This scene is from New Year in Manchester, which made the news and was turned into many memes]
You would very unlikely see this in Malaysia.
In Malaysia it’s really easy to go out in the evening and just enjoy great food and non-alcoholic drinks. And so this makes it way easier to quit drinking.
The only caveat is that the lads night out with fellow expats in Malaysia I have unfortunately had to stop going too. Not drinking alcohol on these nights would be too much hard work as the focal point of the evening is drinking.
Why did I use to drink?
I thought this was an interesting question to ask. On the surface seems like an obvious answer, to enjoy the effects of being a bit or quite drunk.
But, I believe there is more to it than this.
Often drinking is to fit in with your peers, to feel comfortable and to give Dutch courage. (I will have to ask my Dutch friends why this is the case!).
I have never been that bothered about being in the gang, the cool gang who drink or smoke behind the bike sheds. So, I don’t believe I drank alcohol because of this.
Sometimes though I drunk for confidence which may surprise some people as I don’t appear to be shy or introverted. Actually I believe I am an ambivert, which is a mixture of extrovert and introvert.
For years I never enjoyed the taste of alcohol but since I had discovered Jack Daniels and Coke that’s changed.
I have to admit I enjoy the taste, even the newer flavours Jack Daniels honey and even Fire.
Of course there is the feeling of being merry, a little drunk. The funny thing is that rarely did I find that alcohol relaxed me.
Yes, I did feel a little merry but it could soon progress to the drunk stage if I got carried away. Then I would be back to square one, the next day feeling regret and unhappy about another unproductive, wasted day.
Feedback from Family and Friends
It’s been over 6 weeks now since I stopped drinking alcohol and everyone has been supportive.
I think most friends know about my blog and my attempts to make improvements in my life, to try different things and see what works for me.
Anyone who finds it unusual and doesn’t get why I am not drinking, then I believe won’t understand the why of what I am trying to do. Either that or likes their alcohol and couldn’t ever imagine giving it up!
Unfortunately some “friends” may not necessarily like the new you. I do think that if drinking alcohol was the only binding part of the friendship that it’s a fairly weak bond, eh?
When arranging to meet in the evening with friends I do point out in advance that I have stopped drinking. This heads up means that the venue can be changed if need be and that there is no need to have the conversation of why I am likely drinking tea or water.
Bottom line: Will I stop forever?
To be honest I am not sure at this stage.
I really like the fact I never wake up with a hangover. I feel more alert and have no excuses as to why I shouldn’t be productive – other than being tired from possibly the kids waking me up during the night.
So, whilst I am on my 90-day fat-belly challenge I won’t be drinking as I really want to get in shape and lose fat.
I feel much, much better since quitting alcohol and so will continue the tea and odd soft drink for the time being.