My Life Improved Dramatically!
I quit drinking alcohol almost 10 years ago …and it is without question, one of the best decisions I have ever made! Many people believe that they know what a person looks like when they have a drinking problem. You may imagine an alcoholic who goes to jail, loses their family, or end up on the streets. While these things DO happen, often people struggling with alcohol issues don’t look like that. In fact, many lead a regular, even highly functional life. When the problem isn’t as obvious, it’s definitely harder to recognize and admit to yourself and others that you have an issue. I know it was for me.
I quit drinking alcohol in 2009
Shortly after my son was born I quit drinking alcohol. I made that decision because alcohol and I simply did NOT mix. Alcoholism runs in my family going as far back as my great-great-grandfather. I saw firsthand how destructive alcohol can be for a family and I did not want that for my own family.
After making the decision to quit, I did what most people think of as THE solution… I attended AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) a few times, and to be honest, I didn’t love those meetings. I just don’t think they were for me. That said; there were bits and pieces from those meetings that really stayed with me. One thing that really resonated is “to keep your side of the street clean.” This means that when you’re in an altercation with anyone, you need to stop, think about your part, then take responsibility for your actions. For example, if you fight with your spouse, he says something ugly to you, and you hurl insults right back, you should still apologize for the hurtful things you said, even if you didn’t start the argument. This principle made my relationships MUCH better almost immediately. The other thing that I loved about AA meetings is the Serenity Prayer.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
I think Tthe Serenity Prayer is an impactful prayer for anyone navigating life regardless of their relationship with alcohol.
Life After Alcohol
Instead of doing a deep dive into all the awful things I said or did while drinking or what the “bottom” looked like for me… I want to focus on the positivity and share the 10 AMAZING things that happened when I quit drinking alcohol. My life improved dramatically!
#1 | Better Relationships
If you actually work at keeping your side of the street clean, all of your relationships will improve. Not to mention, a fight that happens when you are clear-headed… is much less damaging than anything that happens while drinking. In addition to taking more responsibility for my own actions, I have become a better listener. I’m more present, empathetic, and understanding.
#2 | You Make Better Decisions
Let’s get real for a minute. I think we can all agree that we make dumb decisions when we’re under the influence of alcohol. Being under the influence of alcohol impairs your decision-making process significantly. After I quit drinking, I regained confidence in my abilities to think clearly and make better decisions.
#3 | You Feel Better
I chatted with a friend that quit drinking alcohol recently and she said that she always felt like she had “the monkies.” What she meant is that she felt anxious, nervous, and even a little guilty after a night of drinking. When you quit drinking alcohol you no longer feel as anxious or depressed. You are clear and can start the day with a light heart.
#4 | More Time
If you stop and think about how much time you spend drinking socially it adds up quickly, doesn’t it? As a social drinker, you probably grab drinks with a friend or have several drinks at dinner or brunch. You also may waste time nursing hangovers and walking through life feeling off because of the alcohol. When you eliminate all of that, you will have more time to do the things that really light you up. And, it’s worth noting that just because you quit drinking alcohol doesn’t mean that your life becomes boring. You will likely decrease the number of social drinking outings, but you will no doubt find new activities that are healthier and just as fun.
#5 | Clearer Mind
Without the negative effects of alcohol, you’re more present and your mind is sharper. You perform tasks better and commit more fully to your personal and professional relationships. You are a better mom, wife, sister, friend, leader, employee, etc.
#6 | Increased Productivity
You not only save time when you quit drinking alcohol, but you use this new time more productively. The adverse effects of being under the influence are gone so you can be more productive.
#7 | You Lose Weight
Let’s sit and think about how many calories are in alcoholic beverages… Um, spoiler…it’s a LOT. If you have multiple drinks per night across several days of the week, that adds up to hundreds, if not thousands of calories that you can avoid! When you quit drinking alcohol and don’t replace those calories with sweets (which is common), then the weight will fall off very quickly.
#8 | Save Money
If you eat out three times a week and order multiple glasses of wine or other drinks, this adds up to hundreds of extra dollars per week. And guess what?! This doesn’t even include alcohol that you buy for your house. Drinking is an expensive habit. Saving a lot of money when you quit drinking alcohol is an even better habit.
#9 | You Look Better
When you quit drinking alcohol, you see significant differences in a short period of time. Your face lives to tell the tale changed habits and some of these changes are whiter, clearer eye whites, fewer wrinkles because you’re less dehydrated, healthier, lustrous hair. You just look brighter and better.
#10 | You Are Happier
Alcohol is a depressant. It causes depression, anxiety and a whole host of other negative health side effects. When you remove that toxin from your system you look better, your relationships improve, you are more present and you know what… you are HAPPIER!!
“When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.” – Mary Karr
When you realize that alcohol isn’t serving you well there are so many things you can do to quit. However, it’s important to remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to getting help. Many people ask me when do you know if drinking alcohol is an issue in your life? My answer is… if you’re asking yourself the question, then it probably IS an issue. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Brene Brown.
“If you are ever asking yourself if your drinking is a problem, at the very least, it’s not serving you.” – Brene Brown
Is alcohol serving you? I hope that you found this post helpful and at the very least will take a moment to reflect. If you feel empowered enough to share your story as well I would be so honored if you left it in the comments.
Thank you for stopping by!