Well last week I passed over one hundred and fifty days of not drinking. Not far off the six-month mark. At the turn of the year if you had told me that I would be nearly six months alcohol free, well I would have choked on my lager. In this blog I am going to tell you five things that will remarkably change in your life if you take the plunge and go sober. I am constantly learning and evolving as each day passes becoming a scholar in the sober field, well sort of. It is really interesting to discover more knowledge on this subject. Our relationship with booze is genuinely fascinating. I think we all have our own path to take with how we ascertain what our own association with alcohol is going to be. Reading this you may be wanting to change how much you drink and are unsure how you can start. You may be happy with how much you drink and don’t want to change at all. Both conclusions sit fine with me. I am not anti-drinking or anti-alcohol. I had to stop drinking before it was too late. I had to revaluate and thankfully I did it at the right time. Next week I am going to tell you another one of my many escapades from crazy nights out that have resulted in near catastrophe. But first, lets get into these five things to expect when you quit the drink.
Ok number one. Your sleep will improve massively. It’s a common thing to hear from regular drinkers when they tell you that they drink to help them get to sleep. Drinking is bad for your sleep. If you are a frequent drinker, you are 40% more likely to have a bad sleep. Sleep is essential for our mental and physical well-being. A normal sleep cycle consists of four different stages. Three non-rapid eye movement stages and one rapid eye movement stage. Drinkers will fall into heavy sleep too quickly which creates an imbalance between non-rapid and rapid eye movement. This results in a shorter sleep and thus the overwhelming feeling of tiredness the next day. That’s why we always feel horrendous the next day after a big night. Now do that a few times a week or drink every day, wow you are going to be seriously tired. Of course, I am not saying that you are never going to feel exhausted again. But my sleep has improved greatly. Better sleep leads right into my next point. More energy.
When every morning is clear and hangover free then you feel a better sense of wanting to achieve more in your days. With having more energy your days are full (in my case) with work and whatever extracurricular activities you enjoy. At the moment with work, therapy, cricket, the gym, spending time with friends and partner I don’t have a lot of time for much else. This is great though and wouldn’t have it any other way. My weeks seem to pass by extremely quickly. I have more enthusiasm for work and can focus myself for a lot longer, thus achieving better results for the business I work for. So, when night-time comes, I am usually ready for bed and don’t have any difficulties falling asleep. My cat Nigel (see insta for regular pics) has other ideas in the middle of the night when he decides I need to be awake and does everything possible to make that happen. He’s a good lad really. Having more energy to expend is great and leads nicely into the next section.
Unless you are really over consuming food, leaving the drink should have a positive affect on your waistline. Because of your better health choices of not drinking, I found that this then leads to better choices with how much you exercise and what you eat. I can’t obviously comment for everyone and can only provide my own experiences but by not over consuming calories from booze, as long as you do not replace them then you will naturally lose weight. I will consult with my strength and conditioning team and get back to you on that to make sure it is correct. Losing a little bit of unwanted poundage can be great for the mental health and make you feel that little bit better about yourself. I haven’t weighed myself since I stopped drinking and started going to the gym four or five times a week. I really should as I know I have lost weight so I would be interested to know. I can visibly see that my physique has improved over the last few months, and I am almost back to the condition I was in following my training plan with Ross last year. Another positive physical change you will see will be clearer skin. I remember having a tired looking complexion. Once you replace the booze you are drinking with more water your skin becomes more hydrated, looks firmer and you will appear younger (hopefully). Alcohol does plenty to age us that is for sure.
I have spoken about this in other blogs, but I want to emphasise the point again, if you struggle with poor mental health cutting alcohol out of your life will do you the power of good. I am not saying that it will completely eradicate any negative thoughts or feelings you have, they need to be worked on in other setting such as therapy or counselling. But it will go a long way to make you feel more positive about yourself and your life. I have had no long periods of depression since I stopped drinking. Yes, I have had bad days, whether that comes through work or another situation, but I am in a much better head space to face these challenges head on. Drinking will only compound your negative thoughts and take you further down. A key feature of my sobriety is being able to speak openly about it. Through doing this blog or having conversations with people about their drinking is not something I would have considered doing six months ago. I would have been evasive on the subject if someone had approached me about it, not wanting to admit to myself and them how much I was actually drinking. I am also able to talk openly about feelings and subjects I would not have been comfortable with discussing previously. All positive steps forward.
Finally, the last point I want to raise is financially I am a lot better off. How much money do you waste on booze do you think? Now I don’t mean all the money you spend on alcohol is wasted. As I have said people are able to enjoy drinking in a controlled manner not going to excess. However, like myself some people are not. How many times have you gone to the bar at the end of an evening and had that extra drink? Or maybe even two more. Or bought a round for a group of people you barely know? Likely its money wasted, and you won’t receive any thanks for it later on. Save your cash and spend it on something more worthwhile. I was wasting so much money on drinking. I can’t put an exact figure on it, but I am sure I would have been spending a few hundred a month on drinking. Money now that I can spend on more worthwhile endeavours or even save it for something important.
I am not judging anyone who drinks, please don’t get that impression. My points in this blog are personal to me, but maybe a few of them make you consider changing your relationship with booze.
Next week I am going to tell you about another one of my dodgy episodes with alcohol. Thanks again for reading and please feel free to drop me a message if I can help you in any way with this subject or anything on mental health.