Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

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Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Smashter » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:44 pm

I had a particularly nasty hangover 3 months ago, and I haven't drank since.

I am torn about whether to start again. I tend to overdo it when I drink.

Pros - spend less money, never hungover, better sleep, potentially less adverse health effects down the road

Cons - All the usual stuff. I like getting drunk and being drunk. Social situations are more intimidating and I have less tolerance for boring chit chat. I also thought, maybe erroneously, that I had some good ideas from time to time while drinking that I would not have had sober.

Anyone quit recently? Anyone successfully go from someone who "drank to get drunk" to someone who enjoyed having one or two and just getting a nice buzz? I always want more than one or two, sadly.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by unemployable » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:03 pm

I drank A LOT in college.

Then in my 20s, not so much. Probably a combination of working two jobs, not going out much, not having many reasons to drink and focusing on accumulating assets.

Then in my 30s, a lot of binge drinking. Mostly limited to flying; I had airline status and sat in first class most of the time, and would be disappointed if I couldn't fit six vodka tonics on an ORD-west coast run. My strategy to survive flights across the Pacific was to drink so much I'd pass out on the plane -- and this was quite effective. Also pregaming for clubbing and general nights out.

In my 40s, a handful of times a year, but this is an ever decreasing amount. Most recent session was New Years' Eve, which was the first time I had anything to drink in many months. I didn't particularly enjoy it and certainly didn't like the hangover.

I will be limiting future drinking to a couple beers with acquaintances every once in awhile. In the framework of my ceaseless pursuit to eliminate inefficiencies and waste, I don't miss it a bit. Considering how I carefully choose when and where I drink, and never feel like I "need" a drink, I know I'm not an alcoholic. But at a couple different points in my life it seemed like I was trying to become one.

The general reasons I drank in the past -- everyone around me did, felt miserable about myself or my surroundings, needed to waste time, helped me enjoy loud pounding music more, it was free -- are gone.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:46 pm

One way to think about this is to also include the cons of not drinking and the pros of not drinking. Or the cons of sobriety and the pros of sobriety.

So on sobriety:
So you'll lose connection to alcohol enthusiasts and gain connection to sober folks.

You'll have more money and time.

You'll also have to learn how to be sober in those situations that are heavy in alcohol enthusiasts.


Then you can look at whether these are pros or cons, long or short term, and second/third order side effects.

How does drinking fit into your web of goals?

I completely quit smoking green recently when I moved out of my parent's house and I feel..a bit better. People tell me I look more alive and more girls are more interested in me. But inside I still experience boredom, happiness, fear, jealousy, surprise, excitement, nervousness, love, etc all the human emotions. So one habit just shifted to another. I do find myself more relaxed surprisingly, likely due to the lifestyle shift and not being around intense entrepreneurs any more. This may have actually been a large part of what made the change automatic. That and availability bias.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Did » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:22 am

I have some perspective. I was a beer guy when the craft revolution was kicking. Website, back before 2000 when people didn't have them, which lead to free drink and access, which lead to writing/profile, which eventually left to me taking some time off the drink - 5 years in the end. I even wrote a little book about it.

Since then I moved to rural Ireland and, dare I say inevitably, moved back onto the drink. Through it I immersed myself in the Irish experience and survived 3.5 winters. However, getting back on changed me for the worse in some ways also. I put on weight. My sleep was affected. I was hungover often. I argued more with the wife, which was devastating as she is so much to me, especially having given away the career and hung out every second for almost 4 years. Recently, after some terrible arguments on the drink, we decided to take a month off and it's been great. Feel healthier, sleeping better, no arguments etc.

Having said that, beer has opened up a lot of social connections here. I have learned an ERE skill which has reduced our costs (assuming there is some drink). I made friends and get invited to all sorts of local events. I have volunteered at the beer festival. I can now make beer that, at its best, is better than what you get at most pubs (including an award winning stout). I have a goal - I don't think it's part of a web - of 5 taps at home of excellent beer and I am only a couple of months away of making that happen. My ultimate goal is to hold old school Irish trad sessions in our cottage with locals, facilitated with my low cost drink (through my new connections I'm getting my hops for free, and even some grain, so it's very cheap).

It's very much a personal thing, drink. But to be honest I think my life is better without it. Over time, I drown in it. And that's just at the few beers level. I just get too hungover, and my wife too argumentative. The advice I gave in my book is not to give it up as such, but rather have an experiment during which you abstain to see if things are better or worse at the end of the experiment. If better, you may elect - as a smart guy - to continue to abstain, as your life is better after all. Similarly, if your life is worse then you can dive back in. Either is fine.

My first experiment was for a year. At the end of that period I looked around and thought you know what this is great. Why would I mess with what's working for me? Eventually the 5 years passed.

There is no right answer for everyone and you may dip in and out depending on what's going on with you, and what you want your focus to be. It sounds to me that you're enjoying yourself. Why not do an experiment off the sauce for 12 months and reevaluate then.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by BlueNote » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:16 am

Smashter wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:44 pm

Anyone quit recently? Anyone successfully go from someone who "drank to get drunk" to someone who enjoyed having one or two and just getting a nice buzz? I always want more than one or two, sadly.
I went from typical college level drinking to being a regular drinker to almost no drinking mostly due to my gout. The problem with "social" drinking for me is the other people. They'll tend push you to drink more if you're not keeping up, it's hard to resist. It's hard to go to a party or bar where everyone is drinking like crazy and you just have one or two because at some point you'll feel like you're an intruder in their drunken bubble. Occupying the left or right tails of the drinking frequency curve at a social gathering often leads to not getting invited again. I will have a social drink or two on occasions where I know the other people aren't going to be getting blitzed. This is pleasant and so far has not summoned up my gout.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Augustus » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:06 pm

I think it's worth it to quit for health reasons. My main problem is once I start drinking I start thinking hey, I feel good now, if I have more I'll feel even better! For that reason I've pretty much sworn it off, except Thanksgiving or Christmas with family. If you can't drink in moderation, just don't drink. The cancer, nerve damage, and brain damage risks scared me enough to decide that it's better if I just don't drink at all. It would really piss me off if retired and then got really sick, or worse, dead.

Now I exercise every day. A fringe benefit to drinking for me is that it relaxes me, I stress easy. Now I get that from exercise each day, if I don't exercise I'll stress. I also find it lets me think creatively similar to the way alcohol does, although not quite as much.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by C40 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:36 pm

Stop drinking. Duh.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by TopHatFox » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 pm

I like the occasional dark beer or red wine. : )

I've found quitting stuff cold turkey is easier for me. Maybe watch a documentary on alcoholism and that'll get you to an absolute position quickly. Then being around US drinking culture will get you to a drink or two every now and again. Ta da!

Also, let's get around to board games and we can share some tortilla chips + homemade hummus and Kombucha. :D

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:08 am

I was a pretty big party girl in college, and for several years after. Getting a DUI didn't even deter me, much. But at some point I took a look at what I was doing, how I was feeling, and realized that hangovers are no fun, that partying (sometimes) with people I worked with wasn't smart (and this was BEFORE the ubiquity of cell phones and social media), and that my dad was probably an alcoholic and I didn't want to go down that path if I could help it. So I decided not to drink so much, and for the last 15 years or so, barely drink at all, and my absolute limit is 2 drinks at a time--and I pretty much only drink that much on vacation, etc. I received 3 bottles of wine for Christmas and they remain uncorked--I don't think I've had any alcohol since Thanksgiving.

There are a lot of downsides to drinking a lot, not least of which are DUI, having drunken antics plastered on social media, increased cancer and other health risks,

I think that if you drink because you have social anxiety, that might be something to speak to a counselor about. I think if you have a tendency to overdo and can't--or don't like to--control it when you drink, then that also might be something you want to talk to someone about. A lot of drinking and illicit drug taking ultimately is because of self-medication for other issues, some of them very simple to address. If you happen to have one of those issues, then maybe you can address that and still enjoy some moderate drinking, if that makes sense.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:15 am

I'm not a teetotaler but I've found no downside to reducing my alcohol consumption to about two dozen beers per year (or less). As I aged hangovers from even moderate over-consumption (say, 4-6 beers in an evening) went incrementally from feeling rough for a few hours the next morning to not quite feeling like myself for the next two days.

The benefits:

-I get sick far less often
-Spend less money
-Stayed single
-Managing weight is easier
-Higher overall energy level

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Seppia » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:37 am

I have greatly reduced my drinking in the last two months, and I see only benefits from it.
The two most important ones are MUCH better sleep and no more weight gain. The extra money is a welcome plus.
I have always been a moderate drinker, very typical italian style (meaning: you drink almost every night, but very very little, ie one small glass), except for two periods when I drank too much
One of these two periods was last year, I was drinking two or even three glasses of wine almost every night.
There is no upside in drinking too much

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:19 pm

I've been on the wagon a few months. My teetotaling has led to a tea obsession. I've amassed a large collection of different kinds and I'm having fun with it. It's also led to a huge decline in my coffee drinking.

The only downside to not drinking is having people point out when you're not drinking. I was kind of a boozer, so people notice when i'm sober. I know ... pretty pathetic at my age, which is why I'm allowing myself to indulge a little in the tea thing.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Smashter » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:09 pm

@ST, I always thought that drinking fit into my web of goals because it encouraged me to go out, be more social, and make more serendipitous connections. I still hang on to the fact that I would have never had the guts to approach my now wife for the first time if I wasn't buzzed.

But, I was a different person back then, and I am not so sure drinking fits my web of goals any more. During the past 3 sober months, I had plenty of social interactions that were quite fun. I even danced!

@C40 your Occam's razor advice is probably best. I broke the streak and drank last Saturday, and it was kind of a disaster. I overdid it, as usual, and had a headache for 2 days. Plus, it wasn't even that fun in the moment.

@THF, yes, looking forward to it!

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by James_0011 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:08 pm

I don’t drink because the hangovers are not worth it to me. Every time I walk into a room full of people who I know drink and I see dad bods thats enough motivation to keep me sober.

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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by OTCW » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:37 pm

If you think you are an alcoholic or suffer any health problems from drinking (including being overweight), then I would quit. Otherwise an occasional beer or whatever you enjoy shouldn't hurt. Unless even one beer lets out your inner assjole. I've seen that and wished that person never drank again

Lots of reasons to not ever start drinking, but those are the only ones I can think of to completely stop.

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