Have you ever considered the significant impact your alcohol consumption is having on your life and that of others?
I came across a fascinating article by Ruari Fairbairns on the mindbodygreen website. He relates his story of being a regular (not excessive) drinker and deciding to abstain from alcohol completely for 90 days.
What he found was stunning.
The Story of No Alcohol For 90 Days
Fairbairns made the decision to quit alcohol for 90 days as a way to prove to his wife that he wasn’t addicted to alcohol and show that it wasn’t the root of their relationship issues. After all, a glass of wine at night, a bottle of beer with friends at the end of a long day, or a little whiskey as a nightcap — these all seemed innocent enough.
As far as drinking standards go, these fit nicely under social drinking and shouldn’t negatively affect him or people around him, right?
However, the effects of drinking no alcohol for the next three months gave Fairbarns a sobering look at how much alcohol really affects lives:
You realise how alcohol can slowly pave the way towards self-destruction
It’s so easy to use alcohol as an excuse for all the things that you shouldn’t have said and done — but did anyway because you’ve had a couple of drinks in you. Because it’s such a common excuse, few people really think about how self-destructive this habit is.
If you’re a social drinker, it’s hard to imagine that alcohol would seriously affect your life. But without realising it, alcohol consumption can impact personal relationships, your self-worth and your health.
You begin to notice how alcohol can snowball into other aspects of your life
A lot of us rely on alcohol as a source of “liquid courage.” However, all the confidence we might gain by numbing our senses is temporary. Often, it can limit our personal growth.
Physically, the effects of a night of drinking can be debilitating and hangovers get harder to shake-off as you get older. Drinking can also impact your eating habits as it often prompts you to indulge in junk food or miss workouts.
In terms of productivity, nursing a post-drinking headache could mean you come in late for work. And it also makes symptoms of anxiety, anger, and depression worse.
You’ll see the effects of drinking no alcohol in the quality of your relationships
Fairbairns marriage was on the rocks when he decided to quit drinking.
“My wife and I were on the brink of divorce,” he shares.
He also adds that it was limiting his ability to be a good parent–which was one of the more heartbreaking realisations he made during this journey.
“[…] your kid, more than anyone else in the world, deserves a fully present, engaged parent. From rushed bedtime stories to short-tempered outbursts, a drinking problem can rob you of the ability to be the kind of parent you want to be.”
Evidently, alcohol affects personal relationships more than you realise. Arguing that a drink or two helps ease the stress of everyday challenges is common. But the reality is, there are other healthier ways to cope with the pressures of life. And these alternatives won’t rob you of memories or put your relationships at risk.
Since quitting, Fairbairns notes that relationships that were rooted in shared vices have since fallen away, only to be replaced by loving, meaningful ones.
You’ll notice just how much chronic health issues are caused by alcohol
No alcohol means you don’t spend late nights knocking back drinks and nursing hangovers the next day. That alone already means you get enough rest and sleep, which helps keep you looking younger and more vibrant.
You’ll also start to notice how chronic health issues begin to disappear. Insomnia, acid reflux, IBS, vitamin deficiencies–these can all be tied back to regular consumption of alcohol.
You appreciate the practical advantages of quitting drinking
Social drinkers don’t really notice how much money they spend on this habit.
But a couple of bottles of wine a month included on your grocery list, a nightcap at the bar across the office everyday to unwind, margaritas and beers with friends every weekend can add up to a very pricey habit.
And the money you save can go towards developing interests, hobbies and passions.
Fairbairns ends his piece by saying, “I wish I’d done it sooner”.
He argues that freeing himself from booze-induced haze gave him a great sense of clarity and purpose. It enabled him to be more productive, and definitely made him happier and healthier.
You can read through his entire post here.
Awareness is essential
Like the author, it’s likely a lot of social drinkers don’t realise that their drinking should be a cause for concern. However as we have seen, it really is.
Moreover we can expect the same positive effects of drinking no alcohol at the workplace. Wouldn’t that make for a more positive, productive work environment?
It is time we take drinking at work as seriously as it needs to be. If you would like us to help you establish an alcohol safe work environment, give us a call today.