When I chose to stop drinking in 2016 I took the stance that I was doing this for me. I wasn’t doing it as a gimmick like Dry January, I wasn’t doing it because I turn in to an ogre when I drink and I wasn’t doing it to save money – spoiler, you don’t.
I was and remain comfortable with being around drunk people and complete get why people drink. I don’t go out of my way to push the benefits of not drinking on people and – due to being a tad introverted – not drinking hasn’t really changed my social life.
For me it was all about my mental health.
There, I said it. Hi I am Malcolm and I have mental health issues. I’m not ashamed about it, I will happily talk about it and I find being transparent about it actually greatly improves my control over it.
This post isn’t about my mental health, feel free to ask me about that if you ever see me out or want to chat. More than happy to tell you my experiences of anxiety, depression etc. and listen to yours if it help. That’s what I do, I help!.
Anyhow, back to the subject of not drinking. I found that the combination of medication and alcohol didn’t work for me. I would get all weird on a night out and the hangovers where an absolute biatch. Everyone over the age of 35 has experienced the devastating hangovers that come purely due to age. And being a parent and you amplify things further. Add anxiety and a hyperactive mind to the mix and let’s just say weekends with Malcolm were not fun.
So I quit. I sometimes sample other people’s drink to experience the taste – with permission since I stopped drinking – I will happily taste a small drop of a whisky I am buying as a gift and I don’t actively avoid alcohol as an ingredient of baking etc.
Do I feel better for it? Hell yeah I do. I get more done, I feel better in myself and I am a better friend, dad and husband. It works for me.