Why don't I miss having a glass of wine or a schooner of beer? There are just too many benefits to living sober.
Here are my top 10:
The babblingbandit.me top 10 benefits of living sober
1. Living sober means no hangovers!
The first benefit to not drinking alcohol is not having suffered a hangover in nearly five years. Anyone who has had a night on the piss will know a hangover is a horrible disgusting feeling. You feel nauseous, headachey, dizzy, shakey, sweaty and just generally gross. Nobody in their right mind enjoys a hangover.
2. Living sober means spending less money!
Not drinking saves money. Did you know it is about $7 for a bottle of beer out in Sydney now? A glass of wine at a decent restaurant is $12! Have a couple of those a few times a week and bam! I probably would have spent enough money to pay to fill our fridge with fresh fruit, veg and meat for the week. Then add on top of that all the money I've saved on cab fares in the last five years. That's a fair bit of dosh!
3. Living sober means saving face!
When you're sober, you're not going to do things you might have done when drunk. Like falling over on your arse in public*. Or like kissing someone completely inappropriate from your team when out at work drinks**. Getting drunk impairs your judgement and can make you think you're invincible. Being drunk can make you lose self control and do and say stupid things.
Living sober means I still go for 'drinks' with friends but I don't wake up and cringe at the thought of what I got up to the night before.
4. Living sober means being safer on the road!
Did you know you are twice as likely to have a car crash if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.05? We've all seen the ads right? Drivers affected by grog cause more accidents on the road then any other factor. Going to a mate's BBQ on the other side of town is no problem for me because I've got my car, I can come and go as I please without the expense of a cab and without the risk of having an accident.
5. Living sober means staying safer on the streets!
OK, so even sober people walking around Kings Cross in Sydney or King Street in Melbourne can get king hit by a wanker pissed out of their brains. But if you're not out at an unfriendly hour walking from bar to bar you are less likely to become a victim of an assault. In 2011 40% of all reported assaults in Australia were alcohol related, according the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
I've been a victim of two assaults when I was drunk. One I was mugged by an arsehole who came at me from behind, late at night after I'd been drinking and my guard was down. The second was much more serious. I was drunk, my drink was spiked and I was sexually assaulted by an unknown person in an unknown place, for an unknown period of time. If I hadn't been drinking that night it never would have happened.
6. Living sober means looking (and feeling) younger!
Researchers in Italy have found that drinking too much booze leads to premature aging. When I gave up alcohol the first thing I really noticed was that my eyes looked clearer. My skin felt smoother and I got way less pimples and cold sores than I did when I was chugging back the beers. I am blessed with good genes (my mum looks at least 15 years younger than what she is) but I really do think the fact that I don't drink is why people regularly think I'm only about 30-32 years old rather than 38. I know that is only a matter of six to eight years but every year counts as I head towards the big four oh!
7. Living sober means being healthy and living longer!
There's more evidence to suggest that regularly drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol can lead to health risks. So living sober can mean I am less at risk for getting some cancers and, more obviously, cirrhosis of the liver. Factor in that I gave up smoking around the same time as cutting out the booze and I'm looking pretty good for a nice long innings in the game of life!
8. Living sober means I am a good role model for my son!
I'm very proud of the fact that my son has never seen me drunk and never will see me drunk. I also think it is great that he will never see me habitually have a drink at the end of every day. A parent's attitude and behaviour with alcohol in front of their kids can play a big part in how a child learns to manage the issue of drinking and alcohol in the future.
I've never seen either of my parents pissed but I have watched my dad habitually have a beer and/or a glass of wine or two almost every single night that I've lived at home. I don't blame my dad for my drinking becoming a problem for me but I think that habitually drinking every single day is not good for anyone and it is not a great example to set for kids. Living sober means this isn't even an issue for me!
9. Living sober means a clear heart and mind!
Being a long time sufferer of depression and anxiety alcohol has no place in my life. Living sober means I don't have the added depressant of grog on top of whatever other issues are going on with my brain chemistry. I love the clarity I now have that was so absent when I was a drinker.
The day after a night of drinking was often so soul destroying for me. The come down, the guilt, the embarrassment and the shame were too much to bare in the end. Living sober means I wake up every day without any of that.
10. Living sober keeps me connected to my friends and family!
When I was a heavy drinker I often cancelled appointments with friends and family because I was either too hungover to get out of bed or I was still out at the pub getting pissed. The lies and the excuses and the bad behaviour got to be too much for some people and a number of friends dropped off along the way.
Living sober means I never have to text a friend in the morning and say I can't meet them for lunch because I'm lying in bed with a rotten hangover or I'm still dancing the day away in some seedy club.
So when I ask myself do I miss drinking?
I abso-fucking-lutely do NOT!
Once again I want to say good luck to all the febfasters giving up alcohol for just 28 days!
If you haven't signed up yet, I think you still can so just do it!
As an official blogger I'm proud to support febfast in 2013, a challenge and a tonic for all drinkers, to see if you can take a break from alcohol for 28 days this February.
febfast is aiming to raise $1m to help vulnerable families and teenagers tackle serious alcohol and drug issues. Let’s band together and make a change—not only in our own lives and for our own health—but also for those who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
Check out the febfast website here.
Disclaimer: I am working with febfast as an official blogger. I am not receiving any payment for any posts I might publish about febfast. I am participating because addiction is an issue I deal with every day and my sobriety is something I love and encourage any person to give it a go, even for just 28 days.
*I've done this too many times to count.
** Ditto. Eek!