RELAPSE! How I Quit Quitting Drinking

in #blog4 years ago (edited)

You heard right - quit quitting drinking...

My good friend, Jfitmisc, recently wrote about his experience not drinking for 38 days. He did it as a health challenge and reported he felt happier, grew more confident, was able to save money, slept better, and exercised more.

Although the reasons behind it were different, I personally had a similar challenge. In the end of it, if there was one thing I learned about my drinking habit, it was that excessive weekend drinking was making me sleep poorly and fueling early week depressive episodes.

To give you a quick synopsis of my drinking and partying history, I had my first beer at a friend’s house when I was 13 and it became a sort of habit ever since. I even remember chugging a quart of Natural Ice before class as early as middle school.

Growing up in Miami wasn’t conducive to healthy drinking habits and during college, I joined a fraternity notorious for its booze fueled ragers. Notorious even for fraternity standards.

After college, when I started working in finance (an alcohol fueled field),it was shocking to think how much of my analyst paycheck went to booze.

So for most of my adult life, my friends and I would literally be drunk the entire weekend. We would start Friday after work and keep drinking well into Sunday, even chasing down a few beers before the morning hangover kicked in.

To put it lightly, I never learned healthy drinking habits.

When I finally moved to New York City last year I knew my finances were going to be pressured like never before and I would need to stay in top mental condition to adjust to the grueling nature of the new city.

Therefore, I couldn't sustain multiday hangovers while adjusting to a new environment nor could I afford to spend money on booze.

What was supposed to be a two week decompression, turned into two months, only breaking the habit to travel to Germany in September and Scandinavia in November.

You might think, “Well that’s not discipline, you took a European booze vacation twice in four months”!

The fact I started to drink again doesn’t mean that my sobriety wasn’t a success. To the contrary, I learned I didn’t need to kick the habit for good.

Even though my origins with alcohol are far from the healthiest, I never considered myself someone with a serious drinking problem. I had a career, a functional family, and a decent social life. My drinking did not drive me to loneliness or bankruptcy and my health was never in serious risk.

At the time, abstinence from drinking simply seemed like the responsible thing to do during a critical part of my life – moving to New York City.

It was never about not drinking again. It was about controlling something that was becoming more damaging the older I became. My hangovers became more severe and seemed to last well into the work week.

The goal became about drinking less. Drinking less to save money and drinking less to feel better.

This was an important lesson since alcoholism treatment mostly talks about never touching the stuff again. Very rarely does anyone hear about simply drinking less.

Drinking socially helps many of us relax after a hard day’s work. For some, it can also take the edge off tense situations.

However, many of us simply like going out and drinking with friends. Drinking for the sake of drinking. It’s fun and that’s ok.

Like the old cliché goes, anything in excess is bad for you.

After my abstinent period was over, I didn’t need to drink as much to get a buzz. I also became more aware of how much I was spending and how much water and food I consumed during my outing – all of which determined how tipsy I actually became.

In other words, I started building healthier habits.

My hangovers became virtually nonexistent and I won back my time on weekends. The Sunday-Tuesday super hangovers were a thing of the past.

My social life also began to change.

When you find yourself with extra time from not being hungover, it’s only natural to hangout with people in similar situations - i.e. people who aren’t raging Thursday through Sunday. I still like to have those nights with old friends where I come home at 8am, but just like everything else, in moderation.

I finally learned good drinking habits and I didn’t have to completely give up something I’ve always enjoyed.

Later on, depending on my health, or how I feel at that point in my life, I may decide to give it up completely. But it won’t be a question of life or death the way it is for so many others.

For many people, being pressured to never touch alcohol is enough to push them right into drinking again -- and it's no wonder. Spending the rest of your life avoiding something has as much control as if the object was surrounding you completely.

The point is that you don’t need to completely go sober to feel some of its most important benefits.

You can still go to the tailgate with friends and have a couple beers. You don’t have to sit in church and meditate weekends if it’s not your thing.

Like Oscar Wilde once said, everything in moderation - even moderation.

Real Deal Institute of Health & Wellness

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Amazing article @real.deal.llc. I'm so glad you get to express your personal views on here. It's like your own personal meditation and diary, but you get to share your anecdotal experiences with others to potentially save one's life. My favorite part is where you realized you were going to move to NYC and you needed to be in peak mental clarity.

You realized in your abstinence it wasn't about quitting drinking forever, it was having the discipline to do it for an extended period of time in order to reset yourself. I believe now you can control alcohol, alcohol doesn't control you.

Very well said good friend! You're right: this is somewhat of a therapy. Glad you were able to enjoy it. You should take responsibility since I got the idea to write it from you.

good job ! i have following you

Thanks man! I'll follow you too

many thanks ! you are welcome !

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