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What It’s Like To Not Drink Alcohol For A Year

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Firstly this isn’t meant to be a motivating spiel about how alcohol is the devil and people who don’t drink are better than those who do. This is just some thoughts from the last year of my life and what it has been like to not drink alcohol.

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I was going to do a very elaborate video about the subject but it was honestly quite hard and would’ve been quite long so here is the short version

I didn’t have a problem, in fact I haven’t really drank much in a few years now so here’s a bunch of reasons why I did it. Most of which don’t need much explaining.

  1. Feel better. Maintaining a high level of fitness and health is as important to me as breathing.
  2. Save money.
  3. General curiosity.
  4. Prove to out close minded culture that you can on fact have fun without booze. I’ve had more fun than you in the last year. Period.
  5. Hopefully have an influence on the younger generation that you don’t need to drink to fit in and be “cool”. Can argue I’ve never been either of those things anyway.
  6. Do more.

Here’s a couple of notable cycles over the course of the year. I turned 30 a couple of weeks after I started and spent it on The Barrier. This wasn’t really difficult but I had to actually remember I wasn’t drinking. At the four month mark it came to me I hadn’t even thought about having a drink for a couple of weeks. It was at this stage I realised the habitual nature of a couple of beers after doing something was gone. This was what I was trying to accomplish.

With Summer, Christmas and New Years all rolling around together  I was interested to see how it would go. It was a breeze to be honest. It was at about this stage the actual desire to have a drink was gone. Sure I still know a beer would taste great but that actual desire is gone. I simply don’t feel like having one.

One year down which was the original number and I have no desire to have a few drinks. This isn’t to say I won’t but I don’t feel like it. Mission accomplished.

Now down to the nitty gritty stuff and this is all my opinion. New Zealand is the greatest place on Earth. The country is beautiful, we’re free from most of the worlds nonsense, we can basically do whatever we want and still we don’t. As a country we seem to be very proud of our alcoholism. It’s how most younger (and not so young) people market themselves. When I was 20 or so I was the same.

I find it terribly sad that so many of us spend countless hours with a glass or can in hand that it simply blinds us of our family, friends and passions. How many people like to think they don’t have the time to do something fun, new and exciting with their young families etc all because they like to have a few drinks. Most days after works, the weekends, a lot. How long have you been waiting for the time to do something you’ve wanted to do for ages?

Drinking is easy, it’s comforting and it’s a great way to meet people with you’re increased level of confidence. It relieves stress and seems to be a perfectly groomed excuse to get you out of things that you don’t want to go to. Drinking is a huge part of NZs culture and for a huge part of NZ, is our only culture.

The majority of people don’t seem worried when you say you don’t drink but then there’s the few. The few that think you’re a bit of a pussy for doing it or will forcefully encourage you to have “just one drink” as if it will launch you into social superstardom with them.

These people are fucking stupid. I will let that attitude slide with younger people but if you’re approaching 30 (or older) and possess that attitude then you are in fact a social retard.

So how do we go about correcting this culture. Well firstly if you don’t think there’s a problem then don’t worry, this isn’t targeted at you. We need to change what being social is. I think to most people socialising means drinking. It is but so is doing activities with your friends that don’t revolve around it. Shout out to skimboarding, surfing and boating. Golfing gets a good nod from me to.

At a younger age being social and fitting in is so very important to people trying to work out the world. There’s so many of us only drinking because there’s so many of us only drinking. Imagine if there were larger groups doing social activities that didn’t involve alcohol? Peoples perspective would change and so would the culture.

If we eased up on the drink we would find ourselves more energised and passionate about things. Why? Because we wouldn’t have alcohol knocking the steam off everything. Our diets would be better which in turn makes us feel and look better, which in turn makes us more energised and passionate about things. Notice the cycle? Most people don’t know this feeling because they haven’t separated themselves from the drink for long enough to find out.

Our lives would be easier due to having more energy and our shocking mental health statistics would fall. Drinking and everything that comes with it has a huge part to play in our mental health.

If you’re going to take one thing from this, then let it be this. I’m not saying don’t drink but what I am saying is maybe an incredibly honest self audit is due. Have a little look at your own habits and be honest about it. If it’s been going on heavier and longer than you realised then now is the best time to change it.

I want to see more people winning. You may even learn a few things about yourself you didn’t know.

All in all the last year of my life has been the best one of my life. I could tell you how fantastic a completely clear head and body feels each day but I would prefer you found out for yourself.

See you at the beach.

-Sam

Learn more about easing up on the drink at Hello Sunday Morning

Learn more about your mental health at Live More Awesome

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