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I was talking to a friend of mine who was expecting his first child. He told me he was doing Dry January because he had drunk enough in December, not to mention he wanted to be prepared and always ready since his wife was going to be due in the coming weeks. I told him, I probably wasn’t going to stop drinking this year in January because I’ve done it in the past and I wasn’t drinking that much in general, so I didn’t see a point. Once I said that and thought about it, I thought, “Why not just stop for a month?” That was the middle of January, now it’s April, which means I’ve done 30 days of not drinking, along with not drinking during lent, I’m not a real religious person, but it is a date to keep up with during the season.
It wasn’t until I really stopped to think about what I was doing and why was I doing it, did I start to analyze my real question. Why and how did I stop drinking for what is now over almost 80 days and counting? It took me a minute to understand why I stopped drinking. The reasons weren’t the normal things I’ve read on different websites. For instance, these are some from one website:
- You often feel the need to have a drink,
- You get into trouble because of your drinking,
- Other people warn you about how much you’re drinking,
- You think your drinking is causing you problems.
In looking and comparing my reasons to the ones above, this is how I compare.
You often feel the need to have a drink
I pretty much never feel the “need” to drink. When the pandemic started, and I was always at home. I would have a drink here or there, but I had a schedule for when I would drink. It would look like, a cocktail or beer on a Thursday, a cocktail on Friday, beer on Saturday, then that was it. I had that same plan for the last several years. I’m not a big drinker. Yes, when I lived in Germany for a few years, I would hit it hard at certain points, but there were other points when I would generally never touched anything. With that being the case, I never felt the need. It was more of a want or I guess I’ll have a drink because I like making cocktails thing for me.
You get into trouble because of your drinking
I’ve done some stuff that wasn’t the smartest, which I could probably blame on my drinking, but it was never something that was a consistent issue. Those who drink to that point, are always able to track it back to their drinking habit, or issue. This wasn’t a reason for me.
Other people warn you about how much you’re drinking
I really can’t say that anyone has told me I was drinking too much. There might have been some conversations about my drinking in regards to the money that I was spending on it. This was probably the case a lot since I didn’t have that much money while I was living in Stuttgart. That of course meant I was going out and drinking when I didn’t have the money for it.
You think your drinking is causing you problems
Based on my previous year with the pandemic, not to mention everyone else in the world, drinking was the last thing causing me any problems. In total, some people may have felt it was helping them. No, my drinking wasn’t causing me problems. I wasn’t like some people who have issues sleeping. I generally sleep fine. If I drink or don’t, I’m still randomly getting up to use the bathroom. Also, I generally don’t get a hangover. Yes, that’s right, I don’t get hangovers.
Frankly, all of the reasons people stop drinking don’t match up to my situation at all. So, I guess the question is, why did I stop drinking?
In the beginning it was pretty simple and not that profound. I just didn’t see a point in drinking. When I stopped in mid-January it was just to do 30 days of not drinking, like I said earlier after talking to my friend. Another funny part, once I kind of couldn’t remember when I started my 30 days, I went and added a few extra days. Those few extra days went into March. Now it’s April and I’m still not drinking.
I couldn’t just leave it at that though, I had to really think about why I’m still not drinking, it came down to a few reasons other than what I said above.
I was tired of drinking alone
Like I said before, I don’t drink that much, since I don’t drink that much, means I was only drinking a few times during the week. With that being the case, when I would start to drink, the chances were that I was drinking alone. It’s always a bad sign when you are drinking alone. This also goes to another thought and realization, over the last few years, I was drinking alone, a lot.
When I stopped drinking, it was around the time that my girlfriend stopped coming over and doing Zoom trivia with the rest of our friends on Friday night as well. She actually had stopped a few months before, but still, she wasn’t coming over for trivia. When this did start to happen, I was here at home drinking by myself. Yes, I wasn’t technically drinking alone. I was talking to people online, but let’s be serious. I was drinking alone. When I started to think about it. This was one of the first things I came to understand.
I’m not around anyone who is a serious drinker
This isn’t anything against anyone, but when you aren’t dating someone or around people who are drinking, I don’t feel that pressure to drink. I mean seriously, if you don’t have anyone to share a good cocktail with, and you aren’t around people who understand different beers or something like that. You have to stop and think to yourself, am I enjoying any of this? The answer was simple, no, I’m not.
I think a lot of people know I like cocktails. I mean my last post was about variations on Moscow Mules. I also have several cocktail books. Heck, my girlfriend bought me this really cool book because she saw I checked it out from the library and thought, why not make it a present for him. However, when it comes down to it, making a drink for yourself out of a great book can only take you so far.
The Pandemic, the PNW weather, no passion
I was talking to my dad about the fact I have some sort of COVID fatigue. That plus the schedule I put myself through for work, and the lovely weather we get here in the Pacific Northwest. All of these things just don’t make me want to think about making a cool drink, or even want to open a beer. It’s weird, people drink when they are depressed as a way to make the sadness go away. I’m different for sure. As the continuing theme of this is, if I have to drink alone, I just don’t see a reason to drink at all.
Where do I go from here?
Now that I have thought about why I’m not drinking, along with what is driving me to continue this, my next question is, how long is this going to go on? That one I don’t know. At this point, my no alcohol time has gone through Easter. Something I didn’t think I would ever do, but as I’ve already discussed, what’s the point. I’m not finding any joy in drinking right now, and if you aren’t having fun or can’t find any enjoyment in something, why keep doing it?
With all of this being said, I should look at all of the positives that are supposed to come of not drinking. Of course, you can research and find so many things, so out of the probably 50 things on sites like WebMD or whatever blog you find. Here are the ones that I can at least relate to.
While we are dealing with a pandemic, so many people are dealing with weight issues. The COVID 15 is real. I know many people who are struggling with working from home or just eating poorly for whatever reason. I’m on the opposite end of that spectrum. I consistently maintained my weight and since cutting out booze lost several pounds. Even though I don’t drink that much during the week, it became obvious to me that the few drinks I was having during the end of the week we’re adding a few extra pounds. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to lose weight, but there is nothing wrong, with staying at a low weight. When I was younger, I was so big and frankly, my motivation is always to never be overweight again.
It will improve your memory
I generally have a good memory, I can remember people and things from years ago pretty easily, but I do think cutting out some booze has helped me a little bit. I’m not sure how you measure this on a short-term basis, but I do think I can buy into this idea. Memory issues are something I know a lot of my friends deal with when they drink. The funniest times are when I’ve been hanging out with people and they introduce themselves to someone and I’m like, “You two have met before.”
Less alcohol can help improve your memory, but you need to do more than just cut it out. At least that is my belief, keeping a good memory takes work and you need to find other techniques and avenues to get this task done.
Your body will feel better
I think my body does feel better. Yes, I can’t say if my body is better or not. Why? I think it goes back to the fact that since I moved back to the states, heavy drinking hasn’t been happening like in Stuttgart. At some point, your body adapts to things. Your liver has the power to heal itself, so unless something goes crazy, I can’t say I feel oh so much better. There are other factors that I have to factor into all of this. The main one is the fact that I’ve made myself do other stuff that has thrown off my sleep, so I think that has kind of screwed up the body feeling better stuff.
I can say though in general, if I was to get a body scan or some test, I think the results would be that my body is doing well. I mean I have lost weight, right?
Better mental health
I like to think that I am someone who has good control over everything, so with not drinking, I probably have connected with myself more. I mean I was able to really think and understand why I’m not drinking beyond the simple, “I just don’t want to.”
With that though, I just need to be able to and want to explain this to other people. The biggest takeaway that I took from a lot of things that I read is the fact you do get a lot of interesting responses and questions on why your not drinking. I do just want to be able to explain as I have here. Now, I just need to go to the next step.
Well, at this point, the dry times are still going and I’m fine with it. I don’t feel any pressure and I have also discovered various alcohol-free beers, hell, even bought a bottle of alcohol-free sparkling wine. It is totally more than that horrible sparkling cider crap that a lot of us were given to drink in our younger years. If there is anything that I’m happy to know is that the world is always trying to improve non-alcohol offerings. We need this.
What about you? Have you stopped drinking after the major boom in liquor sales when the pandemic first started? If you haven’t stopped completely, have you cut back?
As always, thank you for stopping and reading this. Hope you all are making it through these very interesting times.