“Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity.” – Sammy Davis, Jr.
Exactly today I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol or coffee in 15 months.
A couple of my friends on Facebook & Twitter asked me to write about my experience, so here it is, in a nutshell.
With over a year of no alcohol & coffee, I did notice some side effects.
Here is what I learned.
I save $1000 every month
After 2 months I noticed that I had $1000 more on my bank account. Yes, that’s a lot, but do the math and you notice it’s not that much.
I live in New York. In order to spend $1000 on alcohol I only have to spend $33 everyday. Assume that I have 2–3 cocktails every other day (which are $10 each without tip), including some wine bottles every month for at home I can easily spend $1000.
Some might think that this is heavy alcoholism, but trust me when I say that having 1–2 drinks everyday in New York is more than normal.
Also, going out drinking means that the occasional dinner & snacks are more frequent. You don’t just drink, you get hungry and buy some food. And before you noticed it, you spend $1000.
If there is one thing I noticed quite early, then it’s the lack of social interaction my new diet brought with it. Here is what happened:
- You don’t really go out anymore. It’s exhausting to explain again and again why you don’t drink and NO also one drink is not okay.
When a group of people asks me to join them for drinks, I mostly default to answer with NO because I just don’t want to deal with gossip as a sober person.
- If I do go for drinks, I last max. 1 hour because this is how long my attention span as a sober person lasts in a group of drunk people.
- While I was never a party animal anyways, completely stopping with alcohol made me go out even less. It’s amazing to see the culture of drinking slowly fading away from your life. It made me realize how many friendships are actually based mostly on your drinking habits.
“Let’s go for a drink”
is so engraved in our lives, because who says
“Hey, let’s just meet up as sober people and talk about stuff”
Why would you do that? “Let’s get a drink” needs no explanation. It’s a thing, everyone knows what happens next.
My sleep quality increased
Removing alcohol from my diet increased my sleep quality drastically. And I’m not talking about “falling asleep” but the actual sleep quality.
You sure do fall asleep easier with 1–2 glasses of beer or wine, but the actual sleep quality might suffer. I sleep better, and I wake up with more energy. Before I always ruined my mornings, even if I only had two beers at night I could feel it in the morning. (if you’re in your early twenties, ignore this, it doesn’t affect you yet)
No coffee, less panic, less stress
This might be something more personal and not related to everyone. But removing coffee from my diet helped me become more relaxed. Coffee always made me stressed out. It increased my chance of having anxiety and also messed up my digestion. Removing coffee/caffeine from my diet not only made me more relaxed, I also poop like a king.
Besides that, I love the smell and taste of coffee. An occasional decaf will do the trick. In the summer I now drink ice tea, in the winter regular tea.
I found out that “Going for a coffee” turned out to be more of a social activity than the actual craving for coffee. Keep the social habit, replace coffee with something else.
Overall, I’m very happy about my decision and have no desire to start drinking again. I’m also not telling you to do the same, if you’re happy with how things are going, don’t change anything.
I changed my habits out of curiosity and I like how it turned out.
PS: Before someone asks. I do not smoke cigarettes. I also don’t smoke weed. I also don’t take any drugs whatsoever. (I have Internet, that’s addiction enough for me)
Author Bio: Tobias van Schneider
Tobias is the Co-Founder of Semplice, a new portfolio platform for designers. Also host of the show NTMY — Previously Design Lead at Spotify & Board of Directors AIGA New York.
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I gave up drinking years ago and about six months ago cut way back on coffee. You are definitely right, getting rid of these two things definitely makes life better. Good post.
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Great post! This lifestyle of drinking and “getting drunk” in some lives is so detrimental in various ways but too many do not see that there is a problem especially with excessive alcohol. Thanks for sharing this!
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Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.
Very interesting – the improved sleep and reduced anxiety are things I’d expect (I drink coffee 1/2 decaf), but the gossip part was unexpected although thinking about it shouldn’t have been. I am wondering in the case of people working on sobriety how much reduced social interaction may be related to relapse.
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Reblogged this on I Refuse To Follow Your Blog and commented:
A Good Read for a Friday….
I found stopping coffee made me end up at emergency room with intense constipation… Was not pretty. My doctor prescribed that I don’t stop but slow down my coffee intake because my body was too used to it and it was acting like a diuretic for me. So I had to reintroduce it and then slow it up. I still have my one cuppa in the morning! It’s cool that you saved so much on getting rid of both of those and yes I know what you mean about coffee/smoking/alcohol can drastically change your social circles when you don’t do these things anymore. Sad but true.
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Interesting post. I’m no drinker anyway but I like the occasional coffee. I hadn’t thought about the sleep, stress, anxiety angle because of it, but then I’m more of a tea drinker. We gave up smoking almost 25 years ago and didn’t really notice extra money in the bank. However, we eventually felt fitter, were ill less often, and food tasted so much better, so would never think about starting again.
Good for you for kicking the alcohol into touch though.
I’m a lot like Tobias in that I cut out alcohol & coffee. I just drink tea now, mostly herbal tea without caffeine. It’s funny because in Canada it’s more normal to go out for coffee than drinks. If someone asks me to go out for coffee I’ll say okay & then just order an herbal tea. I too don’t last long in a crowd of drunk people as the token sober person. I’d rather have more meaningful interactions with people than getting drunk.
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Tobias, great post and helpful to many. I commend you for doing this and sharing your story. I have been living sans alcohol for over eight years and it was the best decision I ever made as I was a future train wreck waiting to happen. I wrote this post two years ago and it has been, by far, my most frequented post as many struggle with an addiction to something. I would add if any of your readers struggle with an addiction, it is a day-by-day effort to avoid it. Remember these words of advice that were told to me, “I am not going to drink today.” Best wishes on your journey and you are so right in your comments. Many thanks, Keith
I made the commitment (not resolution) to stop drinking specifically for the year while out drinking last New Year’s Eve. So far so good. All year I’ve stayed out of situations for the most part where there was alcohol too because I know my weakness, except for one time. And when I was offered a beer I said no. This is an accomplishment for a binge drinker. I’m determined to make it to the end of the year.
I set the time for a year for psychological reasons. I know myself too well if I try to quit something forever I will immediately feel deprived. This way it was not only a challenge I set for myself to accomplish but also psychologically it was temporary and I was still able to look forward to drinking again New Years DAY in 2016.
However, I’m feeling so good about not waking up with headaches and wondering why my mouth is so dry even though I consumed massive amounts of liquid the night before. Will likely make the same commitment this new year’s eve as well.
Coffee, that’s a different struggle.
What you describe about a drinking lifestyle I cannot relate to at all. I made the choice you did before I left college, as it had become crystal clear to me that drunkenness, stupid talk, and gauche behavior (etc) held no attraction whatsoever and was not what I wanted to spend my hard-earned money on. An effect I’m surprised you didn’t mention is the change in your social circle. Birds of a feather…and you flew the coop. Spread your wings and soar! Onward to greater things in life than petty crap.
Dear Kindness, A good write and nice, i’ll like share via my site ; that’s if it’s ok. Arnon(www.arnonblog.com, http://www.arnonarnon.com)
Please do 🙂