I don't literally have an old friend who's stealing my money. The title comes from a Tonic article on how to quit drinking:
It's like saying goodbye to an old friend who's been stealing your money and eating your chips.
I've been thinking about giving up drinking for ages, and have tried a couple of times, but I've always enjoyed drinking beer - especially pale ale - so it's remained a 'one day' kind of thing.
Recently, though, I haven't been enjoying it, even when I've chosen some of my favourite ales. Instead, I've been thinking more about things I want to achieve in my life, and drinking puts some heavy dents in them. Namely:
It affects my stamina, which in turn affects my ability to run and cycle long distances. I love doing both of those things, so not drinking will allow me to do more of two of the things I love.
It affects my sleep, which leaves me groggy most mornings. When I don't drink I sleep far better and have more energy.
I feel happier without it. Alcohol is a depressant, so steering clear of it makes me a much nicer person to be around. I think my family would appreciate that.
It adversely affects my productivity. I'm trying to get a couple of projects off the ground, but cracking open a beer usually means I'll sit on my arse and watch TV or videos rather than do some work. Basically, it leads me to wasting a ton of time, whether at home or in bars.
It's a waste of money. This is a huge one for me. Grabbing a couple of beers or getting a bottle of wine might not feel like it's costing a lot, but I recently started writing down all the money I spend on alcohol, and it was a lot. I could be using that money for my kids, or simply saving it.
It affects my overall health. Drinking tends to lead to making crappy choices about other aspects of my health, like eating shitty food, smoking, and not exercising.
So, with those and other things in mind, I've decided to say goodbye to drinking. It may be forever (ideally), or perhaps just for a few months. Whichever ends up being the case, I'll be off the sauce for at least the next six months, which should be long enough to notice any changes in my life.
I'm not imagining it'll be easy, and I'm sure it'll be worth it. If I continue to drink, I'll get fatter, less fit, poorer, and could end up with a very serious disease. And possibly die relatively young.
If I stop drinking, I can concentrate on health and fitness, save money, and hopefully live longer, happier, and more actively.
As Lao Tzu said: If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.