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  • Writer's pictureEmil Tiedemann

Why I'm Giving Up Alcohol for (At Least) One Year

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

By Emil Tiedemann

Let me just get this out of the way first: No, this is not some impulsive decision I made following a crazy drunken weekend or some brutal hangover. This isn't one of those "I'm never drinking again" declarations that we've all spit out at least once in our lives. It's something that I've been thinking about for awhile, actually. I feel like I'm ready now.

Me having a drink as per usual (circa 2012)

I should also mention that I am not an alcoholic and I have never felt like I've had a problem with alcohol, although alcoholism has been a struggle for people close to me. I consider myself a "social" or "moderate" drinker, like most people who drink, presumably. I do not have a dependency on alcohol and in fact, I have often gone weeks without a single drop. I drank more frequently in my 20s and 30s, before slowing down when I reached my 40s. The appeal is just not there anymore, for the most part.

But even when I am in the mood for a few drinks, I never enjoy how alcohol makes me feel afterwards. I'm not talking about hangovers, because I rarely get drunk enough to experience those anymore. I'm talking about those nights when I have 3, 4, or 5 drinks, or even just a couple. The next day, or even later that same evening, I usually feel like crap...both physically and mentally.

I mean, this has been the case, essentially, for many years, maybe even since I started drinking. I just got used to the feeling, I guess. I'm definitely ready for feeling the complete opposite way that after-alcohol makes me feel: excited, motivated, energized, eager, confident. Happy!

Who knows, maybe I will experience something new altogether! If I'm going to be honest, there hasn't been too many weekends (on average) in which I haven't had at least one or two drinks over the last 20+ years. I can easily say that the longest I have gone without having a drink (usually a rum or whiskey highball) is no more than a couple of months, which is my personal record since I was in my late teens, when I first started drinking on a regular basis. I wasn't even really trying to not drink during those couple of months, it just sort of worked out that way.

Me and my old booze collection (circa 2012)

However, this will be much more intentional. And it's not just because I don't like the way I feel after drinking, it's also the numerous physical and mental health benefits of avoiding alcohol; it's the money saved on expensive pub drinks and two-sixers; it's foregoing the feeling like an idiot over something I might have said or done while under the influence; and it's the many risks associated with booze, which we are all too familiar with.

"Alcohol is the worst drug in society."

- Rich Roll, athlete, author, podcaster

There is one other reason why I want to challenge myself to not drinking alcohol for one year. I have a couple of people in my life who I know want to make a change with their drinking habits as well, but they sometimes - or often - struggle with it. Maybe if I do this, it will inspire them to challenge themselves as well. I don't want to contribute to their struggle anymore...I want to encourage them on their journey instead.

Speaking of friends, I know that my biggest challenges over the next year will be when I go out or meet up with any of my friends. That's because almost all of them are social drinkers like myself, and others might even be considered "heavy drinkers." However, I know that at least most of my friends would respect and support my decision, though the temptation to join them in a round will certainly be present.

I will need to form some new habits when it comes to these nights. At first, it might be awkward, strange, even uncomfortable, but as long as I'm being mindful of my goal and the reasons why I started it in the first place, I should be okay.

WHEN, not IF, I make it to the one-year mark (Feb. 27, 2024), I doubt that I would just throw away all that progress by celebrating with a bottle of wine or champagne (I don't drink that stuff anyways), in case you're wondering. I may allow myself to have a drink again here and there, but I also might not. I don't know. Who knows how I will feel after a year of not drinking alcohol. It's literally never been done in my entire adult life. I'm excited to find out though!

If you're a "moderate drinker" like me and have been thinking about a change as well, feel free to join me in this challenge. You don't have to wait for the New Year, or your birthday, or even until next Monday. Start right now! If you think you might need some online moral support, you could also check out the Facebook page One Year No Beer, which is a group made up of thousands of people who want to make a change in their own alcohol consumption. The choice is yours.

Below, I will be sharing my progress as I reach each "milestone," so feel feel to come back and visit down the road. Wish me luck! #IChooseNoBooze


Day 1 (February 27, 2023)

HOW I FEEL: I am excited and hopeful. And a little nervous. Although I know I am capable of completing this challenge, there are always those worries in the back of my mind: Can I really do this? All I need to do in a moment of weakness is remind myself of the anxiety, headaches, guilt, shame, sickness, and even depression that comes with consuming booze. And I need to think of my friends. I got this.

Day 30 (March 29, 2023)

HOW I FEEL: I have to admit, these first 30 days went by quick and easy, thankfully! I also have to admit, I thought that they would. I feel like my biggest challenge will be the summer months, but if the rest of the year goes anything like how this first month went, then I got this! For the record, I don't necessarily feel any different, at least that I have noticed, but that doesn't mean positive things aren't happening in the background, so to speak. I think I need to give it more time. We'll see!

Day 100 (June 7, 2023)

HOW I FEEL: Although there's been a few occasions where I would have enjoyed a nice highball or cocktail, I am shockingly surprised at how much restraint I have been able to show, and how little I have craved alcohol over these first 100 days. I don't know if I feel much different physically, but I know that quitting alcohol has lent me some substantive confidence; enough, in fact, to inspire me to give up weed as well! This was perhaps the best decision I have made in a long time, and I am proud of myself for making it!

Day 200 (September 15, 2023)


Day 365 (Feb. 27, 2024)



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