7 Unexpected Things I Learned When I Quit Drinking
Posted: Dec 21, 2022 - Last updated: Jan 31, 2023 ADDICTION
There have been a handful of things that happened when I quit drinking alcohol that I didn’t expect. I have compiled a list of the most significant ones and a little bit about them below.
1. Not Everything Is Alcohol’s Fault
When you drink a lot, it’s easy to blame 99% of your problems on drinking.
When I was drinking I would declare that all of my issues in life stemmed from drinking. This was true for a lot of issues at the time but, unfortunately, it wasn’t the culprit for all of them.
I started having chronic health issues in the year leading up to me quitting. These issues were a large driver in my decision to keep fighting the addiction and it was a disappointment when after a year of sobriety most of my pain still hadn’t changed.
Thankfully, there were countless other side effects from quitting that keep me on track.
Alcohol didn’t cause my chronic issues, but it also didn’t help, so it has been easier to determine what’s going on with my body and keep focused on that task.
2. Social outings become more enjoyable, even for an introvert
Social gatherings were a primary reason I drank
Many of us are not outgoing or get excited about the idea of surrounding ourselves with people we rarely talk to. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and our social guards, making it easier to socialize and engage with others at gatherings. I think this is one of the biggest things alcohol has going for it and was an area I wasn’t sure how I would deal with after quitting.
What’s interesting is, drinking also led me to say a lot of stupid stuff that I would later regret. The classic “did I do that?”. In addition, the conversation topics were very shallow.
After some time I eventually started to become more extroverted at events like these and tried to have more meaningful conversations. I have learned things I never would have about people I have known most of my life because I have stopped drinking.
3. More Confident
As an introvert, I usually bite my tongue instead of speaking up.
I have found myself much more confident in social scenarios at work and in daily life. This surprised me because a lot of the time it’s situations where I am not drinking anyway, so I didn’t expect to see any changes here. I found that I am much more clear-headed and can articulate what my body is thinking than before.
4. Little habits take care of themselves
Those little things I know I should do start to happen automatically.
I have never been good at some basic things like brushing my teeth at night. I have had countless cavities and often dread the mundane task. When I quit drinking I was able to comprehend the long-term effects of taking 2 minutes out of my night before bed and brushing my teeth. This became a habit fairly quickly and now I would have a hard time not doing these small tasks.
5. My brain is interested in things I never thought about
Things such as productivity systems have a compounding impact on everything I do.
Drinking filled up a very large space in my brain. It was always something that was on my mind in some way. Once it stopped taking up that space, it made plenty of room for new things to replace it.
I started to read about productivity systems, habits, and more. I have been able to apply those things to every area of my life and improve my effectiveness in each. This is a big one for me because it was not only unexpected but also had the biggest compounding returns.
6. More in touch with my emotions and can communicate them better
Negative emotions are no longer bottled up inside my head.
After I quit drinking I noticed that I was much more in tune with what my mind was trying to tell me. - Similar to being able to speak up more as mentioned earlier, I no longer needed to keep emotions trapped inside my head. I am not sure what caused this shift exactly but it has been hugely beneficial for both my mental health as well as my marriage.
7. Energy & Time for bigger life goals opens up (eventually)
Alcohol took up a significant amount of my time. Even more, than I thought
There has always been a long list of things that I have wanted to pursue but couldn’t find time for them. After quitting drinking I have found huge pockets of time that have opened up without me doing anything other than not drinking. In shorter words, drinking takes up a massive amount of your time.
At the start, these pockets of time were an issue for me. I sat around bored and only thinking about drinking. After roughly 3-6 months that changed. I put this time to good use and that is why I had time to do many of the other things listed above.