30 days of no alcohol: the experiment I recently embarked on, is what I’ll be discussing here today. In this article, I’m going to document what my experience was, and the KEY observations I made.
I would imagine if you try this for yourself, you might experience many of the same things.
Why did I take 30 days off from alcohol? There were several reasons, but they can be summarized in a couple of sentences. The long and the short of it, is that I’ve always known that alcohol was doing me very little good.
I was painfully reminded of this over and over and over again, through one reason or another, over the course of my 20’s and my early 30’s.
Somewhere between the ages of 22-24, I believe I started to develop a bit of an addiction to alcohol.
It may have even started a little sooner than that. Around these ages are when I started to use alcohol for purposes other than just social gatherings. If the only reason I ever drank alcohol, had been remained centered around (and only around) social gatherings, then it’s far less likely alcohol ever would have became a problem for me.
Alcohol became an issue when I started using it to rid myself of anxiety over specific situations. Situations that stressed me out. In college for example, I became the Pledge Marshall of my fraternity. This lasted for 2 years in a row and proved to be an incredibly stressful position for me at that age. The experience taught me more about life, hard work, and time management than anything I ever learned in the classroom however.
I would not trade that experience for anything, as it largely made me into the man that I’ve become today.
I don’t expect anyone, especially not someone who was ever in a fraternity, to understand this, but that’s okay because that isn’t the point of this article.
Why am I mentioning this?
The point of me mentioning this, is because as I sit here and think about this, I’m mentally tracing my alcohol problem back to where it began. And this, I believe, was where it began.
I used alcohol as a ”coping mechanism” to deal with the stress and pressure, that came with that role. More specifically, combining this role with everything else I had going on in my life at that time (work, school, studying, etc.).
I also waited tables towards the end of my time in college, at a restaurant where the servers were all heavy boozers. The owner of the place would sucker the staff in with a $1.00 shift beer. He knew that our first $1.00 drink, would lead to more drinking (and thus him making more money on alcohol sales). He was essentially trying to squeeze alcohol sales out of his own staff. I have to say, this seemed to work like a charm for him.
Surrounding myself with heavy boozers, got me sort trapped in a vicious cycle of going out every night after my shift, and drinking away a 4th of the money (or more) that I made that night.
Over the course of the next 12 years, new reasons would pop up as to why I would feel like I needed to drink. Something would inevitably happen in my life, usually something negative or stressful (stress which was often caused by my drinking in the 1st place, I recently realized), and I’d use that as another justification or reason why I needed to drink often to ”relieve” stress.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was that drinking to alleviate stress was just creating more stress (observation #1)
It would create more problems (spending my hard-earned money on booze, bar tabs with late nights out in the city, hangovers, loss of productivity, arguments with girls I was seeing, etc.).
The list goes on and on and on.
Most of my relationships with women, I believe ended because I did not have control over my drinking. My over-consumption of it caused me to say and/or do things that I would deeply regret later. Luckily nothing too horrible ever happened, but things came very close to that on a few occasions.
I recently reached a point in my life, where I was finally ready for change. I got sick and tired, of being sick and tired. As cliche as that sounds, its actually a very accurate way to describe how I felt. I just started to get fed up with all the bullshit and bad consequences that resulted in my decisions to drink.
Mainly: I started to feel like the alcohol was controlling me, more than I was controlling it. I actually started to feel this way towards it a few years ago, but I tried to turn a blind eye to this. I tried to convince myself that what I was feeling wasn’t real or was just a mental ”illusion”. It got to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
The fact was: I had developed a problem, an addiction, and I needed to do something about it. So decided to embark on this 30 Day challenge. This was a 30-day challenge introduced to me by my mother, who experimented with it herself, on a previous occasion.
Here I will describe the realizations I came to about alcohol and its effects on me during this 30-day experiment.
My observations from 30 days of drinking NO alcohol:
The biggest observation I had about alcohol during this experiment, was the alarming realization that I, apparently, had allowed alcohol to take more control over my life than I had realized it had.
What do I mean by that? Essentially: quitting, or putting a severe limit on my drinking, proved to be incredibly harder than I realized it would be (for the 1st 2-3 weeks at least).
If you had come to me 10 years prior to this experiment and had warned me, or somehow could have shown me, just how dependent I was going to become on alcohol, I would have been horrified.
I would have put down the bottle immediately.
Maybe at that point, I even already WAS to that point for all I know. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly at what point, this whole thing turned down into this dark corner for me.
Observation # 2: Alcohol may be a way those in power, are controlling you:
I can’t help but feel like alcohol is a drug those in power want to get you hooked on, as a way to control you. You’re an easier slave that way if you think about it. When you stop to think about how prevalent alcohol is in American culture, how ingrained into our society it has become, it’s pretty astonishing. You can’t help but wonder about this a little bit.
Conspiratorial as this may sound, you cannot deny the fact that if you DID want to control people on a mass level, then getting them all hooked on a physically addicting substance like alcohol would be a great way to do it.
If you were a rich societal ”Elite”, you would do everything in your power to ingrain alcohol usage it into that society to such a vast extent, that you’d make a person that decided not to drink, feel like an outcast.
The ”outcast” feeling that many people who quit drinking often feel, would be a powerful after-effect of doing this. Is this just a coincidence?
If I were going to control society on a mass level, alcohol would be one of the tools in my toolbox to do this. I’d also use marijuana, pornography, and pharmaceutical drugs to do this as well.
Observation #3: I had no idea how strong of a ”death grip” alcohol had on me:
It’s only after I tried to quit drinking, that I realized what an enormous grip alcohol had on me.
More than anything, this realization saddened me. It saddened me that I was so unaware of what had been happening to me, all those years I was going out and drinking to excess. It saddened me that every social relationship I had ever built, was built around alcohol. I’ll never know all the things I gave up in exchange for all those drunken nights. All that I could have done in the days and hours I spent nursing all those hangovers.
The truth is this: alcohol turns most people who drink it, into prisoners. Most of them don’t even realize this is happening, because it often takes years for this to happen. Its also a very subtle, sneaky process. It’s a slow burn, but its a steady one. Most people don’t have the wherewithal, the courage, or the self-awareness, to admit that they have a problem with drinking.
I believe everyone who overdrinks, deep down knows they overdrink, but most of these people do not acknowledge that feeling. They suppress it, turn a blind to it, and pretend that those internal voices they hear, are not actually there.
Observation #4: The physically disastrous effects of alcohol on your body:
Ultimately, alcohol makes you a slave, a slave to your desires. Not only do you actually get psychologically addicted to it, but you get physically addicted to it as well.
And the physical effects alcohol has on you, are disastrous, to say the least. I cannot even begin to describe to you, how detrimental alcohol is to you physically, especially to your liver. Your liver is one of THE most important organs in your body, and alcohol unleashes an assault on it the likes of which you wouldn’t believe.
Alcohol is poison and you are literally killing yourself slowly.
Observation #5: The ”fleeting” & temporary feeling of euphoria alcohol makes you think you’ll get back (after your 1st drink):
Alcohol is also EXTREMELY addictive. And if there were a word, more intense than ”extreme”, then I would use it in this statement. Why is it by the way, that people will be so quick to admit cocaine is horribly addictive, but not alcohol?
Alcohol will only ever give you a temporary ”fleeting” feeling of joy. It gives you this feeling because it’s like the devil tempting you: it gives you a little taste of euphoria. A feeling so elusive, that you’ll want to have another drink in an effort to chase down this fleeting euphoric feeling.
The problem is this feeling, is never coming back, the drink just makes your mind think it’s coming back.
That’s how it sucks you in.
It’s telling you that you just need 1 more drink, 1 more drink, 1 more drink…
Drink 2 and drink 3 are consumed in an effort to get back the ”euphoria” you felt after drink 1. But this just ends up turning into a downward spiral.
Alcohol will always end in you feeling worse about yourself, and in you feeling worse physically. It will never end with you feeling better.
Like I said, the buzz you get is a temporary and fleeting one. That’s part of the reason alcohol is so addictive because you’re always trying to chase this fleeting feeling.
Observation #6: Alcohol causes you to lose touch with your reality, & impairs your ability to deal with & solve your problems:
This is another thing I noticed on this 30-day experiment. On or around day 20, I noticed that I was simultaneously both less anxious, and at the same time more anxious, than I was when I was drinking. Overall of course, I leaned more in the direction of feeling far less anxious, but there were a few areas where I was actually experiencing a little more anxiety.
Why would this be?
Well I came to realize that the reason I was experiencing this, was that without alcohol there to constantly numb me all the time, I was feeling things as I was supposed to feel them. I was feeling normal, everyday anxieties, instead of suppressing them with booze. Now upon 1st thought, you might think to yourself that this is bad thing. But actually, no….no it’s not.
If you’re anxious or nervous about something: that’s your brain trying to tell you something. It’s trying to tell you you need to start paying attention to certain things.
To be a healthy, productive, functioning person, you need to have a little anxiety. This is how you know what to prioritize in your everyday life. How you know what is really important, and what isn’t.
In other words: you’re getting anxious about certain things for a reason. Listen to these reasons.
Years of misprioritizing things in your life (which I believe happens when you drink alcohol excessively), week after week, month after month, year after year, eventually adds up. The end result is that you end up somewhere in your life where you don’t want to be. Somewhere you aren’t fully satisfied with. This is a gradual process, so it’s hard to realize this is happening.
This is one of those realizations that I just never would have came to, if I had not taken this month off from drinking.
Observation # 7: It takes not drinking for several weeks, to fully realize the effect that it was having on you.
Numbing yourself with alcohol is only going to make your daily anxieties worse. It cannot and will not make them better. It may give you temporary relief, but this is a fleeting moment that will be gone just as quickly as it arrives. When you’re constantly numbing yourself with booze (because you mistakenly think it alleviates anxiety), you are effectively, drink by drink, losing touch with your reality.
You are losing touch with who you are, and are losing touch with what you are.
Does this all sound scary? GOOD!! That’s because it should.
You’re losing touch with your core essence as living, breathing animal and person.
Alcohol is poisoning you.
Observation # 8: Alcohol will severely (and I do SEVERELY) impair your nightly sleep cycles:
Another thing I noticed, is my sleep cycles were so much more predictable and controllable when I wasn’t drinking.
When I was drinking I never knew when I would get tired, or need a sudden Monster energy drink. I’d chug 5-Hour Energy’s every morning, to help get me out of bed (and sometimes even that still wouldn’t work). It wasn’t until I stopped drinking that I could start reasonably predicting/knowing, when I would get out of bed each morning.
When I was drinking, my sleep cycle was all over the place. Monday I’d usually oversleep (7:40am for example), Tuesday I’d be fine and would be up at 3:45am. Wednesday I’d be up at 5:00am, Thursday morning I’d oversleep again until 7:42 or something. Friday I’d then be up at 4:00am, then Saturday lets say 6:00am (unless of course I went out Friday night), and Sunday I’d sleep until say, 10:00am.
My point is: it was all over the place. It’s very hard to be productive and accomplish your goals, when there’s no consistency.
And again: every morning I would literally chug a 5 Hour energy in an effort to artificially regulate my energy and motivation.
I was a mess, my anxiety was always (and I do mean ALWAYS) through the goddamn roof. I had to take kratom 4 times a day just to calm myself down (a habit I even had trouble breaking after I stopped drinking). Not that there’s anything wrong with kratom, but too much of anything, is not good.
My bad habits were causing more bad habits, and were even turning good habits into bad ones.
Observation # 9: Clearly knowing where the line between your daily productivity should stop, & nightly rest should begin:
As far as my evenings and day to day life, I just never knew if I was leaving something undone because I was a.) actually too tired to do it, or b.) if it was because of my drinking.
I could never decipher which of these two things was occurring. Its only after I stopped that I was able to see where I was overextending myself.
One thing I also realized when I was drinking, was that I’d almost ALWAYS stay up later than I was supposed to. This was the main issue behind the inconsistent oversleeping I mentioned a few minutes ago. This usually resulted in me staying up and playing with/staring at my iPhone.
I’d snap at people, and was probably the meanest most intimidating son of a bitch on the phone you would’ve ever talked to (when something didn’t go my way). I gave a whole new meaning to the word ”bully”. If there was one person, that you did not want to mess with over the phone, it was me.
I believe now this was due to the anger the alcohol brought out of me (probably when it was in the process of leaving my system).
Observation # 10: The one & only negative side effect I experienced after I stopped drinking:
One thing I did notice, was that I was a bit more lonely when I wasn’t drinking. At least I thought I was.
If I had to pick 1 thing about not drinking that I did not like, this would be it.
I felt more isolated from people. The main reason behind this was because of what I mentioned at the start of the article: every social relationship I ever built, was built around drinking. Of course you can always resolve to start doing things differently (meeting people in different ways). I myself will resolve to do this, but there will still be that initial pain and transition period.
I will say it’s going to be very tough to meet people who don’t drink because of how pervasive it is in our culture. So if you decide to stop drinking, just know that you may have to plan in advance for how you’ll handle yourself in social situations, where the booze is flowing. For many of you this will be the hardest part. It may take some focus and a little legwork on your part.
The best thing you can do is try to start meeting as many like-minded people as you possibly can. People who share the same views and lifestyle as you.
Alcohol is like that toxic woman you date in your 20’s. The one you would never dream of dating now, because now you just know better. You’re wiser, smarter, more mature now. Most of us guys have dated women like this, at one point or another.
At this stage of your life, you’d never tolerate the same kinds of things you would when you were younger, like badly behaved women. But as toxic as these women are, they have a certain ”allure” to them, that can suck you in when you’re a young, impressionable man. Alcohol is the same way.
The big difference with alcohol however (in this comparison), is that it just becomes a bad habit that’s very tough to break. This is in large part because of the physically addictive component to it.
Stop living your life as a slave. Stop living your life a docile, controllable peasant. Take control of your life! You need to completely regain control over yourself and over your life again!
Or maybe even take control for the 1st time in your life.
If you only have 80% control over your life, then you have control over nothing. I understand this may not happen overnight. You’re going to have to undo years of social programming. You’re going to have to be brave, and you’re going to have to believe in yourself.
Ask yourself this about alcohol: does it take from you more than gives? Or does it give to you more than it takes?
The answer is obvious: alcohol takes much MUCH more from you, than it gives you. And deep down, you already know this. You’ve known this for a long time now, and you know damn well you have.
Alcohol simply created more stress than it alleviated. What I learned, was that life was just better, without alcohol in the equation.
I was much happier without alcohol in my life. My guess is that you will be too.