Why I've Made the Decision to Stop Drinking

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that my drinking habits have crept into dangerous territory. Since I was young, I’ve known I have a predisposition towards alcoholism. Today, I have made the decision to quit drinking for good. I know the road to sobriety is going to be a long and difficult one, and relapses will occur, but I know that if I keep on the same road I’m on, both my physical and mental health are going to take a serious hit. That scares me. Here are just a few reasons why I’ve decided to become sober:

1. I’ll have more time.

I never realized just how much time I waste on drinking. On an average week, I’ll come home from work and drink until I go to bed, which is roughly a good 30 hours of my time devoted to getting drunk. That’s ridiculous and could be better spent doing things that are actually productive, which in turn would make me feel so much better about myself.

2. I’ll save money.

I usually live paycheck to paycheck because I spend so much of my income on alcohol. I will even make myself buy the cheapest liquor, solely because I know I drink so much and the cost would hurt my bank account even more than it already does. Every time I do the grocery shopping, about 25 percent of my food budget is spent on alcohol. I’m really looking forward to being able to live comfortably and not have to resort to using credit just to buy necessities because I’ve already spent my paycheck on vodka.

3. I’ll remember events.

It’s never fun being told what you did or said while you were blacked out. I hate the feeling of embarrassment, yet I will still risk it for a few drinks. About 90 percent of bad decisions I’ve made in my life can be attributed to being drunk. For someone who has anxiety and likes being in control, it doesn’t make sense for me to use a substance that lowers my inhibitions and judgment. My memory is severely impaired due to alcohol abuse, and my cognitive function will only get better once I quit the bottle.

4. My mood will improve.

It’s a vicious cycle – alcohol is a depressant, so although it might curb things like my anxiety temporarily, it’s only making me even more depressed in the long run. I also struggle with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) and I should really be taking my medication. But I’ve noticed drinking too much interferes with the efficacy of my meds and makes them not do their job as well, if at all. So usually, I just don’t even bother taking them, or I forget to in my drunken state. If I actually took them consistently, my mood would improve drastically.

5. I’ll physically feel better.

If you want to feel like death warmed up, experience a hangover. As I’m getting older, the hangovers are getting worse and it now takes a couple of days for me to recover from a hard night of drinking. I would also much prefer to feel great when I wake up in the morning and to have the energy to do the things I used to enjoy, instead of feeling awful and sluggish.

I think this is one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made. It’s not going to be easy, but as someone who already has high blood pressure caused by my drinking habits, decreasing my risk of other health issues like heart disease, stroke, liver disease and digestive problems is worth it. Not to mention I’ll make new friends, have better relationships, learn healthier coping skills and generally just feel proud of myself. What could be better than that?

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

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Thinkstock photo via LeszekCzerwonka

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