Today is the last day of my unintentional sobriety experiment, which has been lasting for one year, since December the 30th of 2010. You may ask, why have I defined this experiment as “unintentional” in the previous sentence? It was not my intention to start this experiment and go through it for one year actually. It was a coincidence. However, that coincidence gave me some interesting experience and thoughts on sobriety, which I can share with you now.
In this article I would like to talk to you about the benefits of sobriety, if you apply it as the style of your life. Also I’m going to address some minuses it can bring in your life at the same time.
How Did the Experiment Begin: in Two Parts
Part I: The Dog.
Oh, that’s a funny story. I tell it all this year long to everyone, who wonders why I don’t drink. Here it is. It was about 11 am, the 30th of December 2010. I was hurrying to the gym, so I decided to cut my way diagonally through the block. I was walking really fast, because I didn’t want to be late for the training. There was a cute, not very big, dog, sitting beside one of the houses. So when I was passing by, it became aggressive (apparently because of my fast movement), it ran to me and bit me on the leg. That was not a serious injury, but however there was some blood and I went to the hospital. At the hospital I was prescribed 6 injections of vaccine against rabies. I was also strictly forbidden to drink any alcohol for one year.
Part II: The New Year’s Day.
Because I wasn’t allowed to drink any alcohol, I was sober all the New Year’s Night (from December 31th to January 1st). The first injection had to be made on the 1st of January at 8 am, so I woke up really early. There were no friends or pals, who were awake that morning, so I decided to have fun by myself and took a bus to the nearby city. I spent there a couple of hours and went back home. Also during this small trip, I got acquainted with a lovely girl. Nothing of these joyful experiences would happen, if I was drinking for all night long with my friends.
The Background of My Relationships with Alcohol
Throughout my late childhood and early teens I had a very clear example of how the excessive use of alcohol can harm your health, finances, career and family. Thus, I was sure that alcohol is evil. As the time went by, I began to understand, that the world isn’t black and white and drinking alcohol is not so bad if you’re responsible and able to control it. So from that time until the beginning of this experiment I used to have a drink a couple of times per month with my friends.
Benefits of Sobriety
One of the benefits of soberness for me was saving money. I can’t say that I had been wasting a lot of money on alcoholic drinks, but that was noticeable dent in my budget. Mostly due to the fact that I preferred to drink not the cheapest beverages, but rather quite expensive ones. For example, the money I saved from not drinking was enough to pay for the trainings in the gym with the personal instructor. Take 10 minutes to estimate how much money you spend on the alcoholic drinks. What if you could spend them on your hobby, for other entertainment purposes or just put it in your bank account?
Another benefit of sobriety is that you’re always sure in tomorrow. I mean, that your plans for the next day won’t be ruined because of the consequences of the unexpected alco-night standing with your friends. It’s good, though a little bit egoistic feeling I should say, when the next day after party, you feel OK (maybe a little sleepy), and your friends suffer from the strongest hangover and are inactive totally.
There is a strong connection between alcohol and depression. Alcohol exacerbates depressive feelings, though it may seem vice versa in the beginning of an act of drinking. Sobriety eliminates unnecessary depressive states, caused by drinking too much alcohol.
Are you afraid of your friends and other people stop hanging out with you, if you stop drinking any alcohol at all? I was anxious about it. But my experience proved me that I was wrong. My friends didn’t forget about me. I was invited to all the parties as it used to be. Though sometimes I intentionally rejected some invitations to parties and especially night clubs, where the agenda of the night was to get drunk, because I didn’t feel comfortable at those places anymore.
By the way, this my strange trait was an interesting topic to mention in a conversation, thus it helped me to build positive communication with people in the first minutes of acquaintances.
No Alcohol = No Sex?
Some people, especially guys, assume that the rejection of the use of alcohol decreases your chances to get laid dramatically. Don’t get caught in this trap. Though alcohol definitely has some relaxing effect, which lets you become more talkative and confident, but that effect is rather shallow and unstable. It doesn’t last long and leaves you with heavy depressive feelings if you fail.
What I really liked about the PUA training was that you were not allowed to drink any alcohol during it. Thus that guaranteed that whenever you got laid with a girl it’s totally your, full-conscious achievement. As for me, there was no alcohol in my blood when I had my first intimate relationship with a woman.
Did I Miss Alcohol in My Life?
I didn’t miss it actually, and that’s why I encourage you to try this experiment of soberness too. Not because of any benefits I described here, but mostly because you won’t miss anything in your life. I’m not fanatic about the idea of sobriety anymore as I was in my teens. Actually I like to have 40 grams of scotch now and then in the frames of a month. But drinking for the sake of drinking doesn’t make any sense actually. It’s just a way of wasting time, a pattern of behavior you used to (I don’t mean any strong addiction state here), which can be removed and replaced with another behavior pattern with no harm.
Though, wait a minute. What I missed was the aesthetics of drinking. I missed the atmosphere of a bar. That was some kind of nostalgic feeling. However, you can always visit your favorite bar and order a cup of tea or coffee. Of course, it can be met with some incomprehension, but nobody is going to make you drink the alcoholic drinks against your will there. That’s for sure. I often had a dinner at my favorite pub during my sobriety period and the personnel of the pub and its frequenters were friendly as they always were!
What If You Were Not Bitten by a Dog?
Yes, being sober for a long period of time is quite a challenging task. You’ve got to have well-trained discipline and high level of will power. From the other side, taking this easier may help. Think of not drinking alcohol as no big deal. “Well, I’m not allowed to drink for 3 months, then what? Is it a problem? Not at all” – is a good way of thinking. Don’t set too big period for the experiment also. A couple of months are enough for the beginning. The duration of the experiment should be significant to you, but not overwhelming.
To get bitten by a dog, like me, is a good idea either.
The Final Thoughts
In the end of the article I have to say that I am not for the 100% sobriety. There are moments when it’s good to have some drinks. I’m definitely going to have a beer or two today to celebrate the completion of this experiment. Nevertheless, removing the alcoholic drinks for a significant period of time will give you a better understanding of what place exactly the alcohol occupies in your life. Probably you will give it up totally one day. As always it’s up to you to decide whether sobriety worths it or not.
December 30th, 2011