Friday, May 16

An End To Drinking?

The face of alcoholism
It’s now been over a year since I left Scotland. Over a year since I left the ‘drink to get drunk’ culture, where I would drink the equivalent of 3 bottles of wine on a night out. I would have a fantastic time getting drunk, talking with friends, dancing, listening to ear pounding music and flirting with girls. I would never get a hang over which meant I never experienced the painful, nauseating, morning after effects of heavy drinking. Alcohol is also relatively cheap in the UK, with bar beer as low as $3 and a bottle of wine $10. The low cost of alcohol meant I could get very drunk with as little as $30.

So this week, over 365 days since I left Scotland, I realised that I’d been looking to recreate those drunken times, and I'd so far been unsuccessful. When I was working in Singapore alcohol prices were so expensive that I mostly gave up on drinking. A single bar beer was $16. At those rates it would take me over $100 to get as drunk as I would in Scotland. I also found myself lacking the larger friend circle that getting wasted benefited from. So I essentially became a non-drinker and mainly hung out with a small group of friends.

After Singapore I moved to New Zealand, and what an opportunity! Beer was typically $6, and I could pick up wine for $10. During my first few weeks in New Zealand I went to Couch Surfing bar meet ups and got extremely drunk, consuming drinks in the double digits. But I still found something lacking. The people at Couch Surfing weren't looking to get wasted like I was, so after spending $60 a night I realised that this wasn't what I sought.

In the last month I stopped binge drinking and instead decided to limit myself to $20 a night, which can buy a reasonable 4-6 beers. I soon realised that I didn't get any enjoyment from being only slightly drunk. In fact one night after consuming 5 beers and one pizza, I realised I wasn't drunk at all and essentially wasted $15 on beer. So when the alcohol at bars was too weak for my tastes, what was I to do?

I then decided to focus on pre drinking. I could spend $10 on a bottle of wine, drink it before going out and get reasonably drunk. Well it worked, but the problem was I spent the first portion of the night drunker than everyone else and then gradually sobered up. Yet again I didn't relish the experience like I initially thought I would have.

It was then I realised my drinking preferences are:
  • I enjoy being wasted, and drinking to get drunk
  • I don’t find being slightly or moderately drunk enjoyable
  • I need to be around other people who like being wasted, for me to fully enjoy being wasted

So what was a man to do when he goes out and nobody gets wasted?
It seems that there was a simple answer staring me in the eyes; STOP DRINKING.

Making this answer even more obvious I had several goals which drinking interfered with:
  • Be healthy (drinking excessively damages your liver and other organs)
  • Lose fat by calorie deficit (alcohol is extremely calorie dense)
  • Save money to spend on items like room decoration, clothes and food (I was spending $30+ a week on alcohol, in some cases $60+)

So it seems the conclusion is pretty simple. I only like drinking to get drunk, and none of my friends treat alcohol that way. I am trying to save money, be healthy and lose weight which alcohol interferes with.

So drop the alcohol.

So from now on I won’t be drinking alcohol, unless in the rare circumstance I find a situation in which people really want to get drunk. I will still be hanging out with friends at bars, but I won't be drinking a sip of that sinful liquid.