As of Super Bowl Sunday (2/3/19) I will be attempting to not drink for an entire year. Some of you might be thinking “He’s Crazy!” or “Why? That’s just silly”. There are a few reasons why I have decided to do this and they are explained below. I chose to document this through the blog for a few reasons.
- To hold myself accountable.
- To be able to look back when it is all said and done.
- To hopefully inspire others out there to try to push themselves out of their comfort zone.
A little background on my experiences with alcohol. I have never been one to turn down having a few drinks with friends or having a beer after a long day at work. As a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan (#billsmafia), I have had my share of fun before, during and after games. I don’t feel that I have ever had an abusive relationship with the substance. So, you may be asking yourself, “Why?” The following are just a few reason why I am taking this journey.
Currently there is no health benefit to drinking alcohol, especially beer (my drink of choice). There are times when I would pride myself on getting to the gym after partying with friends like it was some badge of honor. All it did was lead to a poor workout and a nap later that day. There are many health reason why I am choosing to cut this out of my diet.
Access calories in beer specifically is one variable that I feel is not needed in my diet. This is a fairly obvious health associated risk of drinking alcohol. The other being, that I am more likely to make poor food choices after having a few brews. Another side effect of these calories is the ability to put undue stress on your liver and create fatty liver disease which can have a number of adverse side effects.
Lack of quality sleep is another health concern from drinking alcoholic beverages. It has been shown in some studies that as little as one drink can keep you from getting the quality sleep that is necessary that night. You may get your full 8 hours, but those hours spent sleeping are not going to produce the quality results that your body was hoping for.
Drinking is something that can be done in a very frugal way. Have a few drinks at home with friends, a glass of wine with dinner or some bourbon on the rocks before bed. This in itself will not cause your financial house to crumble. When you think of the markup on alcohol when consumed outside of the home, that is where I believe the financial impact is astounding. Look at the difference in cost of a dinner for a couple with and without alcohol included. For example, a dinner for two at a nice restaurant will cost you roughly $30-$40 depending on where you are and what you order. Add 2 drinks per person (roughly $15-$20) and you are looking at a bill that was $40 and now it just doubled! This is where I feel I will see the biggest financial impact when it comes to this experiment.
As stated before, I like to partake in the festivities of having some beer or wine or whatever is available at the time. I have no issues with anyone that does this within reason. When first thinking about this, I thought like everyone else. “I could do this for a month, no problem!” The real challenge and struggle will be trying to do this when a birthday comes, or a holiday or any other excuse to celebrate. This will take real mental strength and I wanted to try to make this as difficult as possible so I can continue to challenge myself.
I think this will be the most difficult part of the whole process. When I am alone, I’ll be fine without the substance. It will be when I have to explain to others about my goal that it will become very awkward, very quick. It will quickly be the topic of conversation whenever I go to a gathering. If I were to say I was a recovering alcoholic, no one would think twice, but the fact that I have had a healthy relationship with alcohol and am choosing to take a year off will somehow make it not as acceptable.
I hope that peer pressure with not be the reason that I do not complete the whole year. Instead, I want it to be my decision if and when I choose to take a drink before a year is up. This will be an interesting aspect to document over the next year.
Those are a few reasons as to why I am undertaking this challenge. By no means do I think that moderate consumption of alcohol is a bad thing. I was this person, and in all likelihood, will be this person once the year is over. I hope to document my journey along the way with monthly updates on any situations that arise or in general how everything is going. I hope that his blog will be the reason that I can be successful in my pursuit of this goal.
Ian is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist and all around active person. Comment below to ask questions, give feedback or interact with him!