In 2016, I made a new years resolution to go the entire year without drinking any alcohol. It was surprisingly not that difficult. The questions that often came up focused on the “why” rather than questions pressuring me to drink. What I didn’t expect were the various benefits that came with the decision of planned sobriety.
Okay, I did expect this one. In fact, the post-grad weight that I gained was one of the main reasons that I made the resolution. I ended 2015 around 178 lbs, but after not drinking all of 2016, I ended around 167 lbs and I had hit that mark by about March. It felt good to fit my favorite shirts again because man-boobs did not look very good in anything from H&M.
I’d attribute part of the weight loss to simple me leaving the Blue Moons and Dos Equis alone. A lot of empty carbs ya know? The other piece to the puzzle, I think, focuses on less eating out. Drinks usually come with food and that food is often not a very healthy meal.
Avoided Unnecessary Spending
One funny thing about drinking is that when you’re okay to do it, you often do it for little reason at all. I remember being at Virginia Beach with a friend and we sat down at this pizza spot that served drinks. I got my complimentary glass of water and he, of course, ordered a beer as we waited for our food. The pizza came and midway through the meal he was ordering another beer (suppose the pizza was killing his buzz). When we were ready to leave, I pointed out to him that we both did the same activity, yet I spent, maybe, $5 while he spent nearly $20. Not to mention, by the time we were ready to leave, that buzz of his was gone.
I realized that this occurred pretty much every time I went out to eat with friends at a place that served alcohol. The ability to order drinks has a draw on people. It seems like we order drinks because we feel like that is what we are supposed to do in those locations. Ordering drinks leads to ordering more food and the cycle of unnecessary spend continues. When there isn’t a drink in your hand, $12 chips and queso make a lot less sense huh?
Spent More Time On Myself
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I became totally antisocial during my year of planned sobriety. I will say, though, that not drinking took away the desire to linger at happy hour and other functions (if I went at all). The extra time of sober thinking let me do more at home like read and listen to podcasts. I even built a desire to start blogging that year.
So You’re Saying Prohibition Would Be Awesome Then?
I won’t go that far. However, I do think that if you like to drink that taking planned periods of abstinence can make a difference in how you spend money. I’ll go as far as to extend those sentiments to all of you religious coffee drinkers as well. If you’ve never planned to give up alcohol, then try it. Perhaps a two-week or one month fast from it and take note of the differences you see in your spending habits when out with friends. You may even influence others in your circle to join you on the experiment and keep it going.