Why I Gave Up Booze

Hello Joyflakes!

As I'm sure you can tell from the title, I have recently quit drinking booze. The decision came as somewhat of a surprise to everyone that I know, including myself. Ever since I could get my hands on a bottle of wine, or a beer, or my all time favorite gin, I have been enjoying a drink. With the exception of my junior year at Iowa State, I didn't drink every day and I would in no way call myself an alcoholic, but I did tend to drink to excess on a regular basis. There's something about being in your late teens and early 20s that suddenly makes your world revolve around drinking. It's what you do with your friends, and how you learn to de-stress, and once you're out of college, going to a bar is generally how you meet new people.

But for the last year or so, I've realized that I don't like the person that I am when I drink. I don't think I'm mean, or angry, or violent, but I do think that I use booze to overcome the anxiety that I feel in social situations. Having a drink lowers your inhibitions, but it doesn't help you become a more fun or exciting person to be around and it certainly won't make you like yourself any more than you do when you're sober.

So after a particularly stupid night that left me hugging the toilet at 6:30pm the next day, I decided that I just couldn't do it anymore. I needed to take a break from drinking. So I stopped. I gave myself until May 1st to be sober and when May 1st rolled around, I decided to keep going. I still went out to bars with friends, but instead of ordering my signature double gin and soda, I opted for simple soda water.

What I found, was that after the first few twinges of jealousy when someone had something new and delicious to try, I just didn't care. My soda water allowed me something to have in my hands (not knowing what to do with my hands makes me anxious) and it meant that I didn't have to answer a million questions from people who didn't know there was no booze in my drink.

I was worried most about the questions and people pushing me to drink: "But, you're not an alcoholic, just have a drink!" "Why can't you just have one? It's not going to kill you" "Are you sure you don't want to try it? It's really good!" But what I found was that people either A. didnt care, or B. thought that I was doing it to be healthy. Instead of getting pressured to drink, I got comments like "Wow! You're going to save so much money!" or "you're cutting so many calories by not drinking! good for you."

I've always admired people who simply choose to not drink, so I don't know why I thought that people would be so judgmental towards me about it, but I'm glad that I've found the opposite to be true.

I'm not sure if I'll start drinking again someday, but I know that for now, I'm enjoying being sober and that's good enough for me.

Until next time!