The Year Without Beer – My Progress So Far

It’s been right about 6 months since I wrote The Year Without Beer and I figure it’s time I check in.

Truth be told… Not much has changed. I still drink too much (we’ve cut our total alcohol bills by about 1/3 since January but they’re still far more numerous than they should be). What has changed is I know a bit more why I do it (at least I think I do anyway). I know that there is more to it than just drinking, in fact I’ve learned that I really don’t care much for the actual drinking at all, not sure I ever did which probably explains why I’m always so interested in trying to quit.

So why keep drinking?

The answer to this I’ve realized has two parts:

1.) It’s a social outlet.
When you work from home getting out with people is hard, doubly so in a new area where you don’t know all that many people yet. For us going to the local bar is basically our social hour as we haven’t yet figured out how to spend our time anywhere else. Of course we still enjoy spending time at home together but after two or three days at home I usually just need to get out of the house and interact with people which so far typically involves the bar.

2.) It’s too darn easy
When we lived in Austin we learned anything and everything can involve beer: movie theater, check, grocery store, check, restaurant, check… The list goes on. Quite simply we just started to accept that everything involves alcohol to one level or another and eventually came to embrace it. Of course it didn’t help that even in Carbondale we often found ourselves walking to Tres for a beer after work a few days a week. Yeah, the problem goes back a while but moving here we’ve somewhat been bitten by accomplishing our biggest goal, moving to a walking neighborhood. With a dozen or so bars all within a few hundred meters of the house it’s easier than ever to just go to the bar at the drop of a hat, heck, we don’t even need to worry about driving home after.

So what am I going to do about it?

Darn good question. For June Joy and I have both agreed to cut back quite a bit. As it was really only me trying to do so in the past this could help a lot.

Two other motivating forces this time are I’ve signed up for a fitness challenge and am looking to cut expenses as April and May have been some of the worst months for our bank account in years with vet bills, car bills, house bills and bills from just about everything else we own that can possibly break.

Of course, if these aren’t enough there is always the prospect of professional help too. I’ve talked before about attending an AA meeting at our church for one. Might be time to really make that happen.

Conclusion

Quitting drinking is definitely one of the harder challenges I’ve ever undertaken. While I haven’t made the progress I would like yet in my “Year Without Beer” I have started to make some inroads and, maybe more importantly, I’ve really started to look a lot harder at why we drink all as much as we do and might finally be in a position to do something about those core reasons and not just saying I won’t do it.

About Chris Wiegman

Chris is a Developer who works on solutions to improve the lives of those he knows and those he does not. In past roles he has served as a teacher, blogger, manager and airline captain.

Find Chris on Facebook, GitHub, WordPress.org, and Twitter.

Comments

  1. You original post was one of only a few that I happened to read post-New Years while nursing a horrific headache. Before that I had been thinking for months about reordering my priorities and tackling some challenges. On that day I just decided right there to take a break and I haven’t had a drink since January 1, 2016.

    To be honest my true best friends were too busy to go to the bars anymore so I actually found myself at bars with strangers fairly often. They were “friends” but not really. We only talked because we were drinking together. I still like those people but now that I’m not at the bar, guess what, we aren’t reaching out to hang out with each other. Other than alcohol we didn’t really have much in common.

    The town I live in has a alcohol culture (I think you’ve visited before). It’s a college town and something about it here makes drinking seem like a good idea. It’s everywhere. Binge drinking is practically a religion here.

    So what do I do now five months after you helped inspire me to take a break? Instead of going to the bar I meet up with a friend to walk the trail with him and his dog. He and I go back over 10 years and were one of those drinking-buddies friendships that actually is a true friendship. Instead of going to happy hour we walk about 2.5 miles, burn off some stress from the day, and just get some fresh air. The dog thinks it’s all about him getting a walk so he’s happy.

    I play video games and work in my yard. I work on my garden. I organize my house. We go to movies and I actually remember them (cuz I used to be drunk during them), or I just meditate, work on a side project, watch a movie. I spend a lot of time by myself and am much more introverted these days. Maybe I always was. I’m saving money each month and tackling debt for the first time pretty much ever. This affords me some luxuries like fixing up my office space so it’s nicer and more of a man cave. I sleep better, I’ve lost 25 pounds, etc…

    Maybe sitting alone isn’t your thing. Something about being sober makes one find others who are too. I suppose it’s possible to make new friends who get together and work on things that don’t involve drinking.

    AA should definitely be an option. I chose to just do it cold turkey with sheer will power but to be honest I was facing issues that I was forced to pay attention to like debt, taxes, health, and the success (or failure) of business. The point is that stuff helped keep me focused. AA might do the same for others. If so, it’s worth it for sure. I’ve seen people use AA and eventually discontinue the meetings but still stay sober.

    I like beer but only in that I respect the craft of how it is made. The creativity. I’ve enjoyed so many of these creations that at this point in my life I am perfectly content with that experience being behind me. Because actually, I don’t like alcohol… I like something that numbs my PTSD, anxiety, and my crazy brain. However, numbing those things actually just makes them worse.

    I wish you much luck on your journey.

  2. You’re doing it right, brother. Keep at it. Forgive yourself during those times when you falter and get back on it the following day. I did the same thing you noted above. Can confirm it works.

  3. Hello, Stumbled across this post and your website due to your MAMP Pro alternative post on AMMPS. I’ve stopped drinking for 4 weeks now and I must admit I feel amazing. I’m still going out on social occasions just not drinking and i still have a great time and i wake up the next day feeling great (which of course is a bonus). Hope you’re still doing great with this.

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