I loved to drink.
I was the one constantly topping up your glass.
The one saying, "Come on, don't be a bore — have a drink."
The one who “didn't trust people who didn't drink.”
I no longer drink.
Not a little. Not on occasion. Not at all.
And most surprising? I'm happy about it.
I am not a recovering alcoholic. I haven't adopted any radical diets that dictate abstinence or discovered religion.
It's simply that I reached a point in my relationship with alcohol when, like any bad relationship, it started taking more than it was giving.
So why exactly? Here are six good reasons:
1. Alcohol is a sneaky devil
I never consciously decided to drink every night. It just happened. And anything that “happens” without my full awareness is concerning.
It means — if I am honest — that I have less control than I thought I did. Less control than I want.
Daily drinking snuck up on me. And when I decided it was time to cut back it was harder than I thought it would be. Which leads me to…
2. Alcohol never satisfies (a.k.a. tolerance)
Here's the kicker: It's only when you have decided to drink less that you realize how much of a grasp alcohol has on you.
You think you can simply reverse the trend of drinking more over the years. It's not that easy.
Alcohol demands alcohol. It wants more, and if you don't satisfy the craving it begins to throw a fit.
It's no fun (and just not worth it) to live a life of counting drinks and feeling like you are missing out. Moderation is a moody b—- who doesn't deserve my time or effort.
3. My health.
Being a non-drinker is the healthiest decision you can make (unless you smoke — if you smoke then quitting smoking is the healthiest).
I told myself that drinking red wine every day had health benefits. When I did the research I was shocked. Not only is that untrue but alcohol was declared an known carcinogen in 1988.
And of course there's common sense: drinking something that makes you feel like s— the day after is probably bad for you.
4. Life is more fun without the booze.
My drinking self would have thought this completely unbelievable. I would have called B.S., but the truth is I have significantly more fun without booze.
It's amazing how many adults — the vast majority — believe that alcohol is key to having a good time.
I blew this myth out of the water through some self-experimentation and realized the feelings I think I enjoy from alcohol are actually just a placebo effect.
The reality is that alcohol didn't make anything more fun, but since I believed it was key to my enjoyment of life, I was miserable without it.
5. I feel so much better — every single day.
I don't worry about how much I am drinking — ever. That makes every night out (and every morning after) significantly more fun.
I have more money; drinking is expensive. In fact, there has been a 79% increase in the price of booze at restaurants since 1982 — 79%!
I have effortlessly lost weight (empty calories) and enjoy all my mornings. I have more energy, am more focused and get significantly more done without alcohol.
I see now that I unknowingly made myself slightly ill every single day. Yuck!
6. Alcohol made me dumb.
I looked into what alcohol actually does to your brain and not surprisingly, alcohol has the very specific effect of slowing down your brain function.
Your brain synapses are depressed and your senses are unable to transmit information to your brain as quickly as normal.
I tested this. I drank after I'd quit to see exactly how it made me feel. I even recorded the results.
The truth is alcohol makes me dumb. My jokes get worse, my stories become scattered, and my nights become monotonous and unmemorable.
Being a non-drinker is 99% awesome, but one thing that pains me: the constant interrogation as to why I don't partake.
Sometimes I find it funny — I mean, no one is demanding reasons why I don't drink soda.
Other times it's downright rude: No, I am not pregnant, allergic or on medication.
It shows how saturated our society has become; booze is the only drug on earth that you have to justify not taking.
Maybe I've piqued your curiosity about life without alcohol. Here's an idea: try it. See how you feel.
Annie Grace is the author of “This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life.” Learn more at:thisnakedmind.com. Connect with Annie on Twitter.com and Facebook.com.
[The content provided through this article and www.nydailynews.com should be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the advice of a relevant professional with any questions about any health decision you are seeking to make.]