6 Things I Learned From Not Drinking For 1 Year
2017 Update: This post is now 2 years old (I’m writing this in November of 2017. Everything written here is still true but 10x. I’m still not drinking…
This July marks my one year anniversary of being sober. There are a ton of reasons why I gave up drinking and I’ll go into more detail in the next post, but right now I wanna tell you the 6 biggest, most life-changing things I’ve noticed.
***Update at the bottom***
Note: this post is just a preview for a much bigger post detailing how I got sober, why, and how it affected my relationships, finances, body, and mind. Sign up at the bottom to be alerted when that post is finished.
Oh, and just a little disclaimer: I’m totally cool with other folks drinking. I stopped for personal reasons. I still go to bars and I’m always down to clown. This isn’t a “do not drink” campaign…it’s just me telling you my results. And very little of this is scientific, cuz you know, I ain’t no scientist.
1. Booze makes me fat:
No shit, right? I use to think I packed on 35 pounds when I started drinking because I was pounding 1000’s of calories worth of beer a week, but now I realize that was only part of it. You see, I use to be a college runner, so I was always fit, but I quit working out when the boozing started. I was either too hungover or drunk to run or workout. Plus, I’d eat like a moron when I was drunk. White Castle? Yes please. Greasy pizza at 3 AM? I’ll take four.
It’s hard to feel motivated when you have a pounding headache and feel regret from piledriving 3 late night burritos into your stomach the night before. (BTW – I’m running again!)
2. Exercise makes me feel badass:
It took me a few months of sober living to start working out again, but once I did my fat melted away. This rocked, but the best part was the mental effects from exercise. The feeling of sweating and working hard physically not only made me feel lose my Drunk Sam weight (that’s like baby fat, but for asshats) but my mood increased by a 1000%. After working out, I felt happy, more alert, and best of all, confident. I noticed an increase in my work ethic too. Working hard, both physically and mentally, now feels great.
If I go a day without working out I feel like crap.
3. People are attracted to me more:
My #1 fear of being sober was what women would think. Would she think I was a freak? Would she confused me for a religious nut? Would she be turned off?
On my first sober date I was scared shitless. But after a few dates I realized I was completely wrong. Women like confident men and in the past I relied on booze for false confidence. After just a few months of working on my mindset I was confident enough to tell ’em I don’t drink. Shockingly, I noticed they liked me more than ever because I stuck to my guns and believed in something. This in turn made me more confident and well, you see the pattern. But it wasn’t JUST women. My guy friends were more interested in hanging out too. In fact, I noticed even strangers are drawn to me more than before.
I was still fun to be around though, which brings me to my next point.
4. Having fun sober is hard, but feels ridiculously awesome when you do it right:
I couldn’t remember the last time I had a night of fun without having a hangover the next morning. For years I’d never commit to Saturday or Sunday morning activities because I knew I’d still be drunk or hungover in the AM. But once I had sober fun it felt like I put on glasses for the first time after years of poor eyesight. Going to bed happy and waking up still feeling the happiness and not like crap was awesome. Plus, knowing that I didn’t drunkenly make dumb choices felt amazing.
5. Intense realism is a freakin’ amazing rush:
If you’re like me you take a beer or 5 before big, nerve-wrenching life events. Mourning a loved one, wedding celebrations, meeting someone you love, or breaking up with that person – I’d drink because I didn’t want to face reality for some reason. But then I realized that facing these things sober was exhilarating, like a huge adrenaline rush.
For example, when I left my job to run Hustle Con I was so, so, so excited and ready to conquer the world. Yes, starting a new business is scary and stressful, but I felt every emotion and loved it. In fact, I now embrace obstacles because I love the exhilarating emotion of feeling the stress, pain, and achievement when overcoming it. I feel ALIVE and I’m genuinely excited to get out of bed in the morning. My mind is clear now and I love it. Feeling stuff is a total rush.
6. When you control your emotions you control your reality:
Pretty deep, eh? Drunk Sam had zero control of his emotions and thus had blurred perception. I’m no philosphizer, but it feels like sober me can control my emotions. Because of this, I now dictate what feel and ultimately, my fate. I know, I know, this sounds quasi-spiritual, but it’s the truth. I don’t think I’ve been angry once in the past 8 months. When something bad happens I’m able to calmly take a step back, analyze what’s going on, how I feel, then make a proper decision…aka I’m not an impulsive bastard. I guess you can say I’m wiser? Eh, maybe.
Want more info and photos?
This post was just a little teaser. I’m in the middle of writing a much more in depth post about the changes in my body, relationships, finances, and mindset after going sober. I’ll also have more photos. You can also friend me on Facebook to check out pics of my journey (the difference in pics is obvious).