Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

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herp
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by herp »

BlueNote wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:16 am
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 sums up my own feelings towards drinking very well, except that I generally tend to stand my ground and not keep up, which usually leads to dull situations where everyone appears to be getting increasingly hammered while you stay moderately buzzed.

I've never been a heavy drinker. For most of my adult years, in any given year you could count the number of times that I was drunk on one hand. I think the longest amount of time that I went without having a drink was a couple of months about five years ago, but that was purely due to working on losing weight and not really given any other significant health concerns.

At the end of the day, I do enjoy getting a light to moderate buzz in social situations as it greatly helps me relieve tension and anxiety. It just seems that whenever alcohol is involved in a social situation, it turns into heavy binge drinking which I don't find enjoyable.

Smashter
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Smashter »

I wasn't having problems or anything, but I decided to do a break from drinking as a way to encourage my little sister, who is an alcoholic. She's high functioning and only 24 and holds down a great job, but she also drove while blackout drunk and hit a car head on. She had an absurdly high BAC and doesn't remember any of it. :shock:

I thought that would be here come to Jesus moment and she'd quit drinking, but she didn't. I honestly think part of the issue is that drunk driving laws in Missouri are so lax. Miraculously no one got hurt, and she only got slapped with a misdemeanor. I think if she faced a massive fine or jail time that would have shaken her up a bit more.

Anyway, she likes Joe Rogan, who does a 'sober October' every year. We agreed to do that together. She broke in the final week, but I've kept going.

I feel better about myself when I'm doing something that other people see as challenging or inspirational. When I tell people I'm not drinking, they are generally impressed.

I also find myself thinking about how if I had just one friend who quit drinking and make it their "thing" I'd be super impressed and wish that I had done it first.

I went to a wedding recently and saw an old friend I hadn't seen in forever, and he also was taking a break from drinking. We bonded over it, and that strengthened my resolved to keep going.

Another interesting thing I realized is that alcoholism/substance abuse problems run deeper in my family than I realized. I don't know why I'd never thought about it, but the other day I tried to catalogue it all:
- Mom is an alcoholic
- Sister is an alcoholic
- Aunt was an alcoholic but I think has been pulling out of it
- Grandpa on my dad's side was apparently a big time partier for most of his life, not sure if technically alcoholic or not but wouldn't be surprised
- Grandpa on mom's side got injured on the job and became way addicted to morphine / demerol
- Brother had deep alcohol / marijuana issues a few years back that threatened his entire career, thankfully pulled himself out of it
- I suspect an uncle has a drinking issue. He also takes lithium for bi-polar
- I have always been a "drink to get drunk" type who doesn't stop once he gets going

All that makes me want to just quit. I've always done better when I go all-in on something. If I say I'm stopping altogether, that takes the decision energy out of the equation. It's just done. I don't have to do some of the mental rigamarole I tend to do when I have taken breaks in the past:

"but I have such good conversations with my friends when I'm drunk, isn't that bonding worth it?"

or

"I just read a study that says a glass of beer is healthy. And we've been drinking it for thousands of years and are mostly doing fine! Fermented beverages are good for the gut microbiota! I'll just drink in moderation!'

I like the idea of just saying I'm done, and that's it. No over thinking it. We'll see how it goes.

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Sclass
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Sclass »

I’ve recently noticed how common alcohol use is around my town.

We have a big section at every store. I hear the clink of bottles at the register and observe the manner of the people loading them into their bags. It reminds me of buying condoms in college. Whether it’s the senior citizen or the soccer mom they try to hide the contraband with the food on the conveyor.

Not judging, just observing that a lot of people are consuming this powerful drug. Nobody really talks about it much but a lot of people drink a lot of alcohol. Around my parts marijuana is the big topic of conversation.

For the last few years I’m down to one drink a quarter. I go to a quarterly meeting with an open bar. I have one beer. The other people there have two to three drinks. I cannot help it notice them get up and go to the bar multiple times. Older folks.

I guess all regular habits have a way of slowly catching up with you.

I save money by not keeping any alcohol in the house. No drunk friends in my house. Fewer bottles to recycle to clink on recycling day (if that doesn’t out the neighborhood drunk what does?).

I’m missing out for sure.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I have actually attempted to adopt the habit of drinking in order to break free from the habit of sugary treats on a couple occasions with no success. Sugar and coffee makes me happy. Alcohol takes me almost instantly to groggy headache more than 50% of the time. Humans are weird.

slsdly
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by slsdly »

I've largely given it up in the last year, although I was not much of a drinker in the last 5 years anyways. Tendency to binge at house parties when I was younger, which I don't miss at all. I don't think there are any cons -- save money, health, time, fridge space. I do need to deal with pressure from friends "Oh I can't have a drink unless you have one too"; I tell myself that is their problem since I'm not bothered if they have one. You can always take it back up when TEOTWAWKI happens.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.

George Bernard Shaw

Salathor
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Salathor »

I haven't been a "drink to get drunk" drinker since before I was 21. For the last ten years or so I've been a 1-2 drinks a day, always more than an hour or two apart, style drinker--I don't even like to get buzzed, but I love the taste of liquor (bourbon and gin for me).

I had to quit drinking alcohol and coffee about two months ago for acid reflux issues. I am definitely never going back to coffee, but I had a whiskey the other night (first in two months) and man was it good. I have no problem giving up the caffeine because it was just a chemical thing, but the hard part of giving up alcohol is that I'm pretty sure it's the most interesting consumable mankind has invented.

EDIT: Even though I didn't drink to get inebriated, I have noticed that even 1-2 drinks a day of moderate consumption really ruined my digestion. My stomach has felt many times better since I quit drinking. I'm also sleeping better--but that's probably the coffee.

flying_pan
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by flying_pan »

I actually like alcohol – specifically cider and various coctails, like screwdriver, glühwein (mulled wine), etc (I have couple of my own recipes). I know, not the most noble taste, people definitely raise an eyebrow when I say that I like screwdriver... I am also very bad at stopping. So I _always_ drink more than I should; never to black out or anything, but just a bit more. But I am pretty good at not starting – I don't really crave it, so I can easily go for months without drinking.

After reading this thread I analyzed what do I get from alcohol and what do I give up. Looks like I give up more (time and shitty feeling next day being the most important ones), so I will try to avoid alcohol for some time. I did not drink for like 2 months already, so it will be interesting.

sky
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by sky »

Over the past years I have been reducing use of alcohol, starting at a level of a home brewer who drank daily. At one point I recognized health issues related to drinking, and stopped brewing due to the temptation of always having a cold keg available. The focus on health was enough initiative to eliminate binge drinking over time.

I learned about the importance of the senses as our way of perceiving the world around us, and recognizing how alcohol distorts the senses, I now have further reduced alcohol consumption. My current consumption is about 2 glasses of wine with food, about twice a month.

My path to reducing alcohol was made possible by learning about health damage caused by alcohol, and recognizing that I want to live in the real world, not in an imaginary world where perception is distorted by use of drugs.

Campitor
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Campitor »

@ OP

Alcohol disrupts your REM sleep cycle. Disrupting your natural sleep cycle is not a good idea since you're disrupting one of the most basic biological functions that evolved over thousands of years. Sleep leaves us very vulnerable yet we need to sleep therefore it's importance was so paramount that evolution preferred it despite it's obvious risks during our hunter/gatherer days. We evolved to have frequent cycles between deep sleep and REM sleep.

Life is about tradeoffs so only you can decide if you prefer drinking to sleeping as biologically designed and suffering the long term consequences thereof. The effects of not having sufficient REM is well researched - google it. Drinking is as bad as smoking but we like to lie to ourselves about it because alcohol is an acceptable chemical substance in our western societies.

If you really want to have fun, research how alcohol affects your gut microflora and gut barrier and the downstream effects of that.

Good luck on quitting this hazardous molecule. ;)

Scott 2
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Scott 2 »

The sleep disruption is very real. The body rebounds as it processes the alcohol out of your system.

Looking at my sleep tracker data, I can easily identify nights I drink. I get fewer hours and am more restless.

ertyu
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by ertyu »

I don't drink and didn't have to work at it. I used to drink when I was younger, but with age, the hangovers got worse and worse and longer and longer, so I gradually stopped seeing drinking as a worthwhile activity. I also tend to overdo it: that comes with alcohol as a substance, I think. I don't miss alcohol as such. Left to my own devices, I don't desire drink. I am certain my health would've been even worse than now if I did drink.

That said, given how people often bond through drinking, not having an interest in going to bars has limited my social circle compared to when I used to go. It slows down how quickly you make friends after you move to a new place, too. I have heard people say, at this stage, "well, that's why moderation is the key" but I don't enjoy moderating myself when I drink. I don't enjoy desiring a drink and stopping myself from having one. And if I start drinking, I will desire to drink more. If this is not an issue for you, by all means have 1-2 drinks and call it a day. I'm with Oscar Wilde here (I think that's who said it): two gins are too many, three gins are too few :)

I would rather not have friendships centered around drinking. However, that does mean I need to be intentional and work harder at meeting and befriending people. This means that in times of stress when my bandwidth is low, I tend to not have it in me to make the additional effort and I self-isolate. I am lucky to be an introvert and not particularly bothered by this, but the extroverts on the board are aghast and think I should get some social interaction asap.

To each their own i guess

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Bankai
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Bankai »

I'm in a similar situation. I was a fairly big drinker in high school/at uni, but ever since I started working, I drink less and less. Nowadays I average one bottle of beer per week, more when on holidays. I just don't think the tradeoff (bad hangovers and the next day often wasted completely, money and health suffering) are worth temporal high. Plus, there's always the risk of doing something really stupid when drunk. As for social bonding, I don't like pubs anyways, they are just too loud for me. As a non-native speaker, I have a really hard time understanding people who mumble after a few drinks in a very loud place. Hence, I only go to a pub every couple of months. Another reason is that I've seen so many people succumb to heavy drinking back in Poland where culturally it's still OK/sometimes expected to get drunk often. This includes some of my family members. Also, as I aim to work out every day in the morning, even a couple of beers the night before can seriously affect my performance.

Smashter
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Smashter »

I am now about 4.5 months alcohol free and going strong. I think I might be done for good.

I love never being hungover. I love not spending so much money on alcohol. I love being a role model for my younger sister, who struggles with alcoholism and with my encouragement is finally on some medication and 3 weeks sober herself.

I still wonder if I'm missing the chance at deeper bonds with people, especially when trying to make new friends, but everything in life comes with tradeoffs.

A seminal moment for me was going to my first bachelor party where I knew I wasn't drinking. I saw an old friend I hadn't seen in a while turn down the first round of shots that were going around at the pregame. We got to talking and turns out he was quitting alcohol as well. We were sober buds throughout the weekend and had a great time. It helped me conquer the (dumb) notion that I had to drink at events like that to have fun.

Onward!

davtheram12
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by davtheram12 »

Smashter wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:03 am
I am now about 4.5 months alcohol free and going strong. I think I might be done for good.
Onward!
Proud of you! I know first-hand (quit drinking for a year) how difficult it is to withstand the pressures of others who drink. Its not an easy road since alcohol is so powerfully ingrained in certain cultures. I know you'll appreciate the HUGE benefits from quitting. Keep on trucking :)

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Laura Ingalls »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:39 am
The sleep disruption is very real. The body rebounds as it processes the alcohol out of your system.

Looking at my sleep tracker data, I can easily identify nights I drink. I get fewer hours and am more restless.
I find alcohol very disruptive to sleep. One rarely a problem. Two drinks sometimes a problem. Three drinks practically assures me of a fitful nights sleep.!

Peanut
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by Peanut »

@Smashter: Yes, good on you and keep it up! I have noticed that finding out you're a non-drinker can put people off initially, but just don't be judgmental about it and they'll get over it quickly. I once toyed with the idea of claiming I was a recovering alcoholic to make the idea that I was a teetotaler more socially acceptable to others, but never actually tried it out. Not drinking has never impacted my own fun, but I am someone who likes socializing anyway. I also don't see how it would inhibit forming deeper bonds at all. Maybe if you're someone who's not comfortable opening up without alcohol? But that just seems like a sad state to be in to me, and one worth overcoming.

sid3
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by sid3 »

It depends on the culture you are immersed in. for some cultures it is a requirement for extracting the full experience.

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C40
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by C40 »

sid3 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:37 pm
It depends on the culture you are immersed in. for some cultures it is a requirement for extracting the full experience.
People say this... but.. is it really? How so?

When I've been around people drinking (particularly in a social gathering or party type atmosphere) I may have one drink. It could be like 1/5 of a drink in actuality. And it works out fine. They drink however much they want. They see that I am participating and they don't feel weird.

In a small number of cases, some friction has come up, though for me it has always been good (a sign that I should not hang out with them). Like when I was out on a date a few weeks ago. We'd both had one drink. My date wanted another. I told the waiter that I didn't want anymore. My date made a "you're going to make me drink alone"? Comment. For me, that was a red flag that she has problems and I should spend time with other people.

sid3
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Re: Quitting Alcohol Pros and Cons

Post by sid3 »

For the reason you described, to reduce that friction that pops up when you don't participate. I wish I had the same control as you in such scenarios, but at the same time I hate narks. Also one reason I consume is for experimentation purposes. When in a group you can learn its 'wet' dynamics, which can be interesting. In general these wet dynamics trend towards the same place, so once you figure it out there isn't much of a point of further experimentation. This is the point at which a few of my friends have quit. That and for the love of Jesus.

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