I always tell myself, “Drinking alcohol borrows joy from tomorrow.”
I once was a social drinker.
What started as a 30-day no alcohol challenge turned into a permanent lifestyle change.
People often ask me how I changed physically, mentally and emotionally after quitting drinking.
So, I thought Id share my story.
For many years, Id enjoy a few quiet beers during the week and go harder most weekends.
There would be a good buzz, and Id get drunk.
It was part of being Australian (or so I thought).
But, Id often fall into destructive habits after 1 am, including cigarettes, late-night pizza and more beer.
The rest of the weekend was a write-off.
Over time, I started to feel just blah.
I was surviving, not thriving.
By March 2010, I was sitting in International House Of Pancakes (IHOP) in Austin, Texas for a Hangover Breakfast.
I was staring at the menu bold colors of greasy food and looking at everyone going wild over the unlimited pancakes with every sugar-laden topping imaginable.
At that moment, I felt like I had hit rock bottom.
That inner voice was saying, James, make a change.
So, I decided to take a 30-day break from alcohol as an experiment.
Here are the things that happened:
1. The first seven days were tough.
My liver had a hard time flushing out the toxins from alcohol and the bad food I had consumed while drunk (late night burgers, fries and pizza).
So, I ate soups rich in greens with anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger.
2. I was challenged.
Many people particularly guys were incredulous about my lifestyle choice.
At first, it bothered me, which made it that much worse.
Some friends even tried to slip vodka in my soda.
3. Acceptance came eventually.
When I got challenged by friends, I eventually learned to laugh, point to my head and give my stock response, Im too strong in mind!
Once I accepted my choice and owned my stock response about not drinking, my friends and family accepted it.
I recently met up with childhood friends who were always big drinkers growing up.
They were totally cool with me not drinking, and they suggested we go out for dinner instead.
4. I slept like a baby.
Studies show that even a small amount of alcohol messes with your sleep.
I was now getting the initial REM sleep you normally miss when you drink alcohol.
I started wearing blue-light blocking glassesto get to sleep faster.
I woke rejuvenated, not tired and cranky like before.