5 Ways Not Drinking Changed My Life

Everyone’s got a milestone in their life — even you. Small or big, it changed us in some ways. Mine was when I actively chose to stop drinking alcohol and made a conscious effort to remind myself of why I wanted to stop drinking in the first place. As a result, here are the 5 ways my life has changed since I quit drinking alcohol.

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash
  1. “I Have Money in My Bank Account Now?”

This doesn’t seem like a surprise… but it was. After a night out, I have undoubtedly spent money on some taxi fare, coat check, a little more alcohol, and sometimes a fee to reclaim my lost items (ie. taking the taxi back the next morning to retrieve that shameful fluffy jacket). You don’t think about how those little things add up but they do. They really do. On the other note, even a night out at my favourite bar with my favourite friends has me spending 20–30$ every time. Notice how I said every time. We would go Tuesdays for the .45 cent wings, Wednesdays for the 12$ pitchers, Fridays because the week was over! Now on my banking app, I see that there aren’t many minuses on the weekends like they used to. And that feels good. More importantly, my values on money have changed for the better. The hard-earned money can be spent on other things that make me truly happy — like books and dance classes.

2. I Am Now a Morning Person

I rarely ever get hangovers. It’s really hard for me to get hangovers but when I do, it’s really bad. Even though the hangovers weren’t a problem, the mornings were still rough for me. After a night out of drinking beers at the bar with friends or slamming down tequila shots at the club, my mornings were more and more difficult to conquer. I’d wake up at 9 (or 10) in the morning and I’d laze in bed until 1 in the afternoon. Productive? Hardly. That bounce in my step in the mornings nowadays is because of how clean my body feels. It’s flushed and regulated by water on the daily and the drowsy, heavy effects of alcohol won’t affect me anymore. I wake up at 7 a.m. everyday now, either to go out for a jog, do a morning stretch. dive into studying UX Principles or do all of those activities. All before 9 a.m.

3. My Social Circle Changed

I found myself to be shocked at this one the most. You don’t realize how everyone revolves social activities around alcohol until you stop drinking alcohol altogether. After intentionally deciding to initiate social activities around coffee, yoga, spin, walks, board game nights, and dinner parties, the friends that chose to say yes and showed up — well, those are the friends that transitioned into my social circle. The activities we’d do from working out at home or going for a jog together, are the things I WANT to do with friends. I WANT to be able to exercise and also get to know them better at the same time. I WANT to be able to laugh at silly Jackbox answers. These are the types of activities that makes me feel emotionally fulfilled — and it’s a lot better to do these activities with friends.

4. Fitness Goals Are Seamlessly Easier to Reach

From September to December of 2019, it was the peak time of my university career. I was only taking 3 classes, it was my last semester, I had a lot of free time. So what did I do? I spent almost every free waking hour at the university bar. Friends would come and go to say hi and stay for a drink with me. I frequented the bar until everyone recognized that this was my second home. I made great memories there and it did build a lot of my friendships that I have now. As we reached the holidays, I saw how my body deteriorated. I gained weight, I didn’t like how I looked, I didn’t like how I felt with the beer belly that started to form. I decided that that needed to be changed. Like all my other Januarys, I chose a life of fitness and exercise. Except this January 2020 was different, my healthy habits stuck around. We all understand that exercise is important for us and we were all taught in grade school why we should keep our heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day… So why don’t we do it? I’d say, “I don’t have time” and now I make the time to exercise. I’d say, “My body is tired from the CRAZY night out, I’ll go tomorrow,” and now I don’t say the word tomorrow anymore because now is the time to do it. Without the distractions, the excessive sugar in drinks and the calories from beer, I’m feeling good about how my body looks and more importantly, how it feels on the day-to-day basis.

5. I am a Different Person in Relationships Now

Lastly, I absolutely hated who I was to my ex-partners when I was drunk. Extra extraverted in the party but insecure, anxious, angry and childish when I got home to my ex-partner. Granted, maybe the relationship wasn’t the best even when we weren’t drunk but the alcohol elevated my emotions to a degree where I lost control. Having a partner now who doesn’t drink made me realize how much happier and more productive I could’ve been with my previous partners. In this relationship now, I saw the lost value in blurry nights where I could’ve gotten to know them better with clarity. He carries the same values that I have in his own life and it unquestionably creates a harmonious relationship between us. Before I met him in February 2020, my days were spent reading, meditating, working, exercising and learning on my own. Now our time spent together is basically doing what we love doing alone but now we are doing them together.

So these are the 5 things that really changed in my life after I stopped drinking. My values in friendship, relationship, finances and hobbies uncovered itself once I let myself to just be me — without the influence of alcohol.

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