It’s been over a year since I’ve had any alcohol.
In the last 3 years, I’ve had approximately 10 drinks total.
This reads like I’ve had some huge problem and I’m only now overcoming it, but that’s really not the case.
Like a lot of university students I used to drink. Between 2014 and 2017, I spent many weekends at bars and parties, drinking and having a good time.
I was young, the health risks seemed far away and in the future.
What’s the point of life if you don’t have some fun?
As I moved into “the real world”, I could see that for a lot of people, this attitude continued long after gradution.
After work drinks, Friday night drinks, boozey Christmas parties…
The British documentary, ”Drinkers Like Me”, by Adrian Chiles, was one of the reasons I decided to slow down on the drinking.
The film follows Adrian’s day to day drinking habits. He shares his thoughts on drinking and his own understanding of how much he thinks he drinks versus the reality of how much he actually drinks.
The most striking part being Adrian’s realisation that his perception of reality does not match reality at all.
I’m not really that similar to Adrian, but watching his attitude and perception change over the course of the film had a profound impact on me.
Living in London at the time, I could see the world that Adrian was a part of. The habitual after work drinks, the “let’s go to the pub” attitude to socialising.
I was never a huge fan of those activities, but the documentary made me stop and re-evaluate.
I remember thinking, if I don’t make a conscious choice here, I’ll just be making an unconscious choice.
I think a lot of our lives are like that. We can actively choose our own direction or we can follow the crowd and the default path.
Looking around at others, that default path didn’t seem like a good one.
I try to look after my health. I exercise, I try to sleep well, and I consider what I eat. Not drinking alcohol feels like a logical extension of that.
I’m sure having the occassional beer or two is probably not that big of a deal and I could probably make my no alcohol rule a little more lenient.
But I find it’s easier mentally to say no all the time, rather than having to evaluate in the moment.
I’ve been on some great adventures and met people who have had big impacts on how I view the world. Not all of those things would have happened if I’d been a lifetime teetotaller.
I don’t know if I’ll keep this rule going forever, but for now it feels like the right choice.
Happy New Year. Photo is from New Year’s 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania.