How To Be Socially Unacceptable (or Why I Quit Drinking)

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“Ocsober? No drinking in October? WTF are you talking about?”

While in Brisbane, Australia I tried to explain my sobriety pledge for October to a stranger.

Back track just a bit: While in Sydney, Australia in September I read about an upcoming charity event called Ocsober.

I was immediately intrigued.

No drinking for the month of October? Count me in!

Backpackers are expected to drink. I don’t do what’s expected of me. :)

I’ve cut out drinking multiple times before.

It was usually for other reasons, like the 30 days I quit drinking while I was on a gluten free (+vegan) diet.

Years ago I quit drinking for 6 months simply because all I ever seemed to do with my friends was drink.

It was easy.

Ocsober started early for me. I quit drinking 26 September, 2009 and fully planned on drinking at midnight on 31 October, 2009 (Halloween Party!).

Then I meditated for a while on why I enjoy drinking and why I don’t enjoy drinking.

Why I enjoy drinking:

  • I like the taste of beer, wine, Jagermeister, tequila, and vodka. (Trying to cover all the bases!)
  • As much as I’d like to lie to myself about it, getting a buzz makes being social in new environments easier.
  • Getting buzzed feels good.
  • It temporarily relieves feelings of sadness/depression, which, for the past ~2 years has been a non-issue. (More on this topic in the future.)

Why I don’t enjoy drinking:

  • Lots of beer/wine is made using isinglass, a fish by-product, as a fining agent. That means lots of beer/wine isn’t vegan. I was unaware of this until a wonderful CouchSurfer in Sydney enlightened me.
  • I hate using it as a crutch in social environments.
  • When I think about the times I’ve had the most fun in my life it has never involved drinking.
  • I started drinking when I was 13. My liver has probably gone through enough abuse in the past 15 years.
  • My veganism is, first and foremost, about respect for animals. But health is a strong second. I love my life and want to live forever.
  • It’s a ridiculous waste of money. While in Germany for 8 days in March ’09 I spent almost $1,000 USD on alcohol. Did I have a great time with my friends? Yes. Would I have had a great time with my friends sans alcohol? Yes.

I haven’t had an urge to touch a drop of alcohol since I quit.

I feel god damn electric!

It’s difficult to put into words, but I’ll do my best.

After that first month of sobriety I felt on top of the world. Eating a vegan diet already felt pretty amazing on a daily basis, but when I added sobriety to the mix I reached another level.

I sleep better. I wake up better. I feel better about myself. I feel better about being an advocate for Ridiculously Extraordinary Health.

Living a Ridiculously Extraordinarily Healthy Lifestyle

There is evidence to support small amounts of alcohol as beneficial. There is also evidence to support small amounts of alcohol as detrimental. At this point, I haven’t read enough compelling evidence to support either choice completely.

All I know is the choice I’ve made.

How To Quit

Interested in giving it a shot?

I’ve always been a do it or don’t, black/white, type of person.

That’s where this comes in…

Ridiculously Extraordinary Challenge #001

Quit drinking for the next 30 days.

That starts TODAY. Right now.

Have plans to go out and party with your friends? Great. Perfect time to actively practice living on purpose.

A regular at the local bar? Cool, save all that money. I just gave you a raise.

The Big Prize

Your prize is proving to yourself you can do something not a single person around you thinks you can do. Believe me, you will get shit for not drinking.

At any time during the Challenge if you feel like you’re not going to make it give me a call (352) 577-0173 or send me an e-mail: KarolGajda AT Gmail.com (Considering I’m traveling around New Zealand, e-mail will have a 100% success rate, whereas phone will be far less, sorry.)

3,000 Days of Sobriety

My small, but attainable goal, is for 100 people to do this Challenge. A collective 3,000 days of sobriety. That’s 8.2 YEARS!

Yes, I like the number 100. Yes, this Challenge falls during the Holidays. Good. Join it or don’t.

Sobriety is not socially acceptable.

Being socially acceptable is overrated.

If somebody asks you why you don’t drink you can use one of the following succinct phrases:

  • I respect my body and my health.
  • I’m being socially unacceptable.
  • It makes me feel great.
  • Or a short and powerful phrase of your own.

If you’re in on this Challenge post in the comments. You can drink again on December 24 so let it flow let it flow let it flow. :)

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If you need to get real help with alcoholism or anything of that sort please seek it out.  Friends, family, SMART Recovery (secular, science based), SOS International (also secular), or any other organization.

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Last week, Karen from DreamInTheLife.com wrote a really brave post called “I Don’t Want To Be The Alcoholic That I Am” and you should check it out. Maybe, if you don’t want to do it for yourself, you can dedicate your next 30 days of sobriety to her.

Photo Credit

{ 88 comments }

Kelly

The most courageous thing anyone can do is to be themselves.

Karol

Hey Kelly, thanks for sharing, I like that. :)

Adam

Great challenge!

Glenn

I determined to quit in 1992 and am still not drinking. Alcoholism runs in my family and I was already headed down that path. I’d say the hardest part was exactly what you mentioned… getting shit for not drinking. You’d think that people would just respect your choice and leave it at that. Nope. I guess it is the socially unacceptable aspect. They insist on knowing why, and if it isn’t something dramatic like “I drove drunk through an intersection and killed a bus load of school children.” they give you even more shit and become determined to try and get you to drink.

This is quite a challenge for reasons that won’t occur to most folks until they give it a try. I think that it will make people much more aware of how alcohol is ingrained into society.

Karol

Hey Glenn,

Thank you. You hit on so many points. Especially the fact that when you have an anti-climactic reason for quitting you’ll get more shit. What I’ve also found is that when people learn I don’t drink they assume I don’t want to go out to bars/clubs and party.

Conversation with people I was hanging out with a few days ago:
Person: “We’re going out to karaoke tonight.”
Me: “Oh cool, I love karaoke.”
Other person: “Yeah, we’re gonna get drunk and make fools of ourselves. But you probably don’t want to come since you don’t drink.”
Me: “I love karaoke.”

:)

Congrats on quitting 17 years ago!

Karol

MJ

It has been 7 weeks since I stopped. I like how I feel without the alcohol. I feel younger, healthier and my vegan diet has become easy. I AM ONLY AS HAPPY AS I FEEL GOOD!!! I Feel Good!!! Thanks for your article.

Karol

That is so awesome to hear MJ! Thank you. :)

Amanda

I am so totally in, especially around the holidays when the pressure to drink is so much more. Thanks for the post, it is a Ridiculously Extraordinary post.

Karol

Thank you for accepting the challenge Amanda!

Amelia

I needed this…I didn’t used to drink, then let the old peer pressure get to me, and I’ve been trying to get back off the horse, or on the wagon, at least, away from the barrels…Yeah, so, let’s do this thing!

Karol

I like that attitude Amelia. :)

Mike Long

I have to be the dissenting voice here on one point that you made – the NOT drinking is socially unacceptable.

I would say that maybe you need to live where I live, but then I realized that I’ve lived all over the USA – including 4 years each in two drinking mecca’s – Reno, Nevada and Las Vegas.

In both of those cities – perhaps more than any other, drinking is a part of life. And yet, not one single time did anyone I ever came into contact with try to either (1) pressure me into drinking, or (2) give me a hard time about not drinking.

I don’t drink, but it isn’t for any reason other than the fact that I can’t stand the taste of any alcohol I’ve ever tried. (This is one area where having a ridiculously picky palette works to my advantage.)

Maybe I’m just generally drawn to people who don’t drink a lot, but I can’t remember a single instance where the response to my refusal of a drink was anything other than “okay” or “no problem”.

Love the post Karol, just found that particular point not to be true in my own experience.

Karol

Mike, that’s awesome that people have never pressured you to drink. Incredibly odd, and I have a feeling it’s not the norm, but wonderful to know none-the-less. :)

Mike Long

You know, I’ve thought about this more over the past few days, and I think I realized the reason why I haven’t felt the pressure that you and so many other s here have talked about.

It comes down to have a simple, succinct, easy to understand reason why that people find difficult to argue with – just as you described when you found your new explanation for going vegan.

For me, when people ask why I don’t drink, my instant (and very true) response has always been:

“Because I can’t stand the taste of any alcohol I’ve *ever* tried.”

12 words, that get right to the heart of the matter. It usually stops people dead in their tracks, and the normal response after that is “oh……okay”.

It’s definitely a conversation stopper….lol.

I’ve also realized that I’m WAY less social than most “normal” people, and I’m sure that plays a role as well.

I’m so impressed with all the people willing to take up this challenge with you. There is a branch in my family tree that has struggled with alcoholism, and I watched it completely destroy that particular branch as I was growing up.

I hope every single person who takes up this challenge proves to be successful. :)

Karol

Thanks for mentioning this: “I’ve also realized that I’m WAY less social than most “normal” people, and I’m sure that plays a role as well.” I speculated that was the case, but I didn’t want to vocalize it unless you brought it up. I think that’s the case with anybody who has never been pressured or gotten shit for not drinking.

If you don’t hang out at parties, bars, clubs, concerts, etc, etc, etc, of course you’re not going to get shit for not drinking. There’s nobody to give you shit. :) In most social environments drinking is normal, not drinking is abnormal. Weddings, tailgating, high school weekend parties, college parties, and so on.

Although drinking is ingrained in my family (it is a Polish household), I don’t get shit for not drinking when I’m around them.

Desiree

I just found your blog…great post!

After making an ass out of myself one too many times, I am finally willing to take the plunge and quit.

I’d hesitate to say I’m an alcoholic…but it does run in my family, and I definitely can see myself heading in that direction. I live an otherwise healthy life, and much like you, would like to live forever :P

Karol

Hi Desiree,

Thank you for adding your thoughts. I hope that means you’re in on the Challenge. :)

Karol

Diggy - Upgradereality.com

Damn dude, awesome post!
I only had my first drink when I was 16 and never really enjoyed it much. The last year or so I drink when I go out (a couple but enough to get me tipsy or mildly drunk) I also like how it tastes but dont like that I rely on it to have a good time (which isnt always the case). So sometimes I go out and drink just a coca cola or something, no alcohol. Yes, it is possible to have a great time without alcohol.It just takes some training :)

Cheers
Diggy

Karol

Thanks Diggy. I agree it takes some training. When I first started going out (in new towns where I didn’t know anybody) without drink in hand it was a bit awkward. It got easier with practice. :)

Ian

I think you are my best new-found best internet friend. Vegan, check. Rollins quotes, check. Distaste for consumerism, check.

Karol

hahaha, thanks Ian. :)

Monica

Im in! Between acid reflux, heartburn and ulcers I probably shouldnt be drinking as much. But like you said its socially acceptable and fun. Ive started a Gluten free diet so beer has been out, now for the hard alcohol and wine.
Thanks, Ill keep you posted!

Karol

Thanks for joining in Monica. With acid reflux, heartburn, and ulcers it’s amazing you could drink at all to begin with! They do have gluten free beer, but it’s gross…so…uhh…don’t try it. :)

Amber

Count me in that 100! I have been battling with drinking since I launched my travels six months ago. Like you said, backpackers are expected to drink. Going against the norm is not easy, but so well worth it!! The energy you gain is incredible. It’ll be tough over the holidays, but I’ll do it with you.

Karol

Hi Amber,

Thank you for joining in! It being tough over the holidays is precisely why I decided to schedule the Challenge now. :)

Karol

Karen

Hey Karol,

Your point of view of drinking alcohol as being the socially accepted behavior is such a refreshing perspective! As I am struggling through my own journey with it, I am finding that it is so conditioned as being the norm, and just what you do socially… without any challenge. I like how you question your own behavior and relationship with it, despite your apparent non-addictive relationship with it. We should all take a critical look at behaviors that we just accept as the “norm” or the right way to behave… and judge it to see if it is really working for our own lives.

Thanks for the shout out, support, and the eye opening perspective. I really appreciate it. :)

Karen

Karol

Thank you Karen. It’s about challenging everything and challenging everyone. :) And although I make it seem otherwise, it’s not always easy.

Chris Harmon

I accept the 30 day challenge. I am not drinker, but this is the time of year that I do dink to be sociable. Wine with Thanksgiving meal, dinner parties and Christmas parties. The next 30 days I am a tea tottler!

Karol

Thanks for joining in Chris. :) First big test for many of us (Thanksgiving, for those in the US) is very soon. I hope you (and everybody else too!) let me know how it goes.

Marko

Hi Karol,

You can count me in as well, though it won’t be a challenge for me.
I’ve stopped drinking 19 years ago. :-)

Initially there was some (mild) pressure, but my friends got used to it and what anybody else thinks, I simply don’t care.

Depending on the situation and the new person asking about my reasons, it’s actually fun to come up with “weird” justifications. Definitely avoid the weak, regular responses like “I’m trying to quit” or “Alcohol is bad for you.” Then people feel threatened like you’ve attacked their lifestyle. Instead, make your response in a way that breaks their usual pattern and makes them go “Huh???”. ;-)

Karol

Thanks Marko. “Then people feel threatened like you’ve attacked their lifestyle.” Yes, they do. Oh well, you can’t please everybody. :)

?ukasz

Hi Karol,

I stopped drinking 8 months ago, from no apparent reason. Now this is something not easily understood by others, especially in Poland. My most successful phrase to “reason” with others my choice was that it hurts my training runs.

Also, count me in.
Cheers

Karol

Thanks for joining Lukasz! I like your reasoning. I’ll bet anybody could use that. :)

Jen

Great post. I think its something quite engrained in our society, the pressure to drink in some form or another. I am pretty mellow with drinking these days, but have definately had times in my life where I have felt a bit out of control. Its funny though, I think it seems like you sometimes get more approval from others by being that way, than not drinking! Crazy really! Thanks for a very insightful post.
Jen

Karol

Hi Jen,

Thank you and yes, you definitely get more positive approval by drinking than by not drinking. Good thing we don’t need anybody’s approval. ;)

Karol

Sonicsuns

I’m in!

Except, I should probably point out that I’ve actually never had a drink, ever. (Yes, I’m 21 and can drink legally, but I’ve long since decided not to drink.)

So, either this will be a really easy challenge for me, or I don’t “count” as one of the 100 people in the challenge.

Incidentally, dude, giving out your phone number? That’s pretty bold of you, and cool. Quick question: Am I allowed to call you up, even when I’m *not* struggling with alcohol? =)

Karol

Hey Sonicsuns (why no first name?),

Yeah, no problem joining in even though you’ve never drank. Respect!

You can call, but like I said, I’m in New Zealand…e-mail is better right now.

Thanks for commenting!
Karol

Sonicsuns

Thanks for responding. Since you asked, my first name is Jimmy. I’m just in the habit of going by “Sonicsuns” when I’m online.

And don’t worry, I won’t wake you up at 3AM with phone calls. =)

Brandi

Hey Karol, great post. I cut back severely on drinking last year when I lived in Canada and didn’t have any money (and booze in BC is extremely expensive!), only allowing myself to indulge on special occasions (which I interpreted liberally, like Canadian Thanksgiving, American Thanksgiving, Inaguration Day, Election Day, you get the idea). I like the idea of 30-day challenges since so much of what we do is habit. You change the habit and after awhile you really don’t miss it so much. I used to drink much more coffee than my current 1-2 cups daily. I felt crappy and now like the amount I drink. However, sometimes I get interested in cold turkey challenges, but I’ve never done one since I find myself to be more of a moderator than an abstainer (have you read Gretchen Rubin’s blog happiness-project.com? She talks about these differences in people’s natures). It’s not very punk rock to be a moderator but I’ve always had extreme difficulty with giving things up totally and immediately, ie. it took me a few years to wean myself off meat. I want to do a vegan challenge now that I’ve had enough experience with vegan food and see if I can make it permanent.
You are so right about people giving you shit for not drinking. I’ve been to bars with friends where I drank club soda only EVERY OTHER DRINK so I wouldn’t get too drunk, dehydrated, or broke, and people thought THAT was weird. Anyway, though-provoking as always!

Karol

Hey Brandi!

Is it time you become an “abstainer” instead of a “moderator”? :) 30 days…you can do it. No need to go every other drink with club soda. Make it EVERY drink. ;)

Speaking of vegan challenge. That is coming too. hehe

Thanks for sharing!

Karol

Dave M

Thanks Karol! I just read this post all the way through (I’ve been busy lately). I’m not a HUGE drinker, but I definitely do it socially. Monica touched on the biggest problem for me — acid reflux. Seems I only get that when I’ve been drinking. I get it in the middle of the night and wake up thinking I’m dying. It’s HORRIBLE!

Right now, we’re getting ready to head off for Thanksgiving dinner with the family and I’m going to NOT drink. Well, water and maybe some coffee, but no alcohol. :-)

As for reasons why if anyone asks, I’m going with, “I’m being socially unacceptable.” LOL – Love that one!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Karol

Thanks for joining in Dave! Was wondering where you were. :)

Kenny

I stopped May 25th, 1977. I was born around 11:34am…so my Mom says. As you know, I’ve never had a drink of alcohol.

I’ve never been pressured either. Ever.

I honestly have never cared what people thought anyway (at least when it comes to this). I do me.

Beyond looks of disbelief and lots of “wows” and “you’ve had nothing?” and “no ways!” I always get, “That’s really cool!” Most people think I’m joking at first. They can’t believe that a guy could go through life never taking a drink. I usually joking tell people, “you can’t look this good, if you drink;)”

So I’m not sure if I qualify to join, but I’m in:-)

PS: If you’re a guy and reading this, you don’t need alcohol to get hot women or cool friends aka to be accepted. Just be you and believe in YOU!

PPS: If you’re a woman reading this, being drunk isn’t the key either;-)

Peace to all!

Karol

Maybe we have different definitions of pressure, because I know I have definitely asked you something along the lines of “Come on, you don’t want to try it?” Because you know…I’m an asshole like that. :) And I also did the “wow, you’ve never had any?!” too.

Respect though. I only know a handful of people who have never tasted alcohol and it’s quite impressive to me to go through high school/college without doing so.

Kenny

Yeah, I don’t count someone asking me a question as pressure:-) That’s just being nice…haha.

Ok, now I’m feeling bad for all my “you should eat some meat” comments…haha. I AM VEGAN! Ok, that was the last one;-)

Love what you’re doing bro…keep it up!

Karol

I only consider it pressure if the person knows you don’t drink. Otherwise it’s just a harmless question. :)

Adam

Excellent post, one I can relate with fully. As I mentioned before, I quit drinking for four weeks and I’m backpacking across New Zealand so you can imagine the amount of shit I got. If you’re young and/or traveling it’s expected you drink. Most people don’t understand it if you abstain from getting smashed at the weekend.

It’s Saturday here at the hostel and I can guarantee that 95% of the people here will be getting drunk. I’m not, because firstly I have no desire to drink tonight and with my only one day off work being tomorrow I’d rather spend it working out than dieing in bed with a hangover.

Whenever I quit drinking for more than three weeks I feel AWESOME. That’s my motivation for doing it, the last three weeks have been drunk though so I shall start another four alcohol-free weeks starting today.

I’m also getting annoyed with people questioning my soberness, so I’m kinda doing it out of stubbornness as well. Fuck off and get drunk and spend tomorrow feeling like shit while I wake up early, eat a healthy breakfast and enjoy a good run in the sun and rely on the natural endorphin release to feel good which costs absolutely nothing.

There’s always an excuse to drink: It’s someones birthday, someone is leaving tomorrow, it’s a holiday etc. In fact as I’m writing this I just got asked if I was coming out to join everyone for a drink…

Carol

OK, Karol, I’m in! Starting today, December 1, so that would take me through December 30. And that means – no drinking on *my birthday* which is December 23!

What will be really interesting is to see whether I choose to drink on New Years Eve.

Thanks for the inspiration and the support.

Carol

Karol

Thanks for joining Carol, that’s so awesome! Let me know how it goes!

Karol

Carol

Of course, when I “signed up” I forgot that last night I had plans to enjoy some (very rare, for me) margaritas with a friend, in the renewal of an old tradition! She enjoyed her variously flavored drinks and I honestly enjoyed my water. And the guacamole. No biggie, really, after all.

Karol

That is so awesome Carol! Congrats!

Robin

I’m a vegan too. I found http://www.barnivore.com/ recently, its a vegan alcohol guide essentially so you can figure out if certain beers, wines, and spirits are vegan or vegetarian friendly (or not!). It’s been really helpful to me, hopefully it is to you too. :)

Karol

Thanks Robin! I’ve seen quite a few lists of vegan alcohol, but I quit drinking so it doesn’t matter. Hopefully others will check out the link. :)

Karol

Angela

Hey Karol

We’re starting our 30 days on Monday. We ‘needed’ (lame, I know) wine to help us attain our goal of being 100% raw for 30 days. Well we did it (check out latest post regarding that), so now our next goal is to be completely raw without any…erm…help. So we’re lagging a little compared to the rest of you, but we’ll be there in a couple of days. For sure!!!

Ciao, Angela :-)

Karol

hehe, cool! thanks for joining in! That’s so awesome that you did raw for 30 days. Are you keeping it up now after the 30 days? I’d like to know more about it. A large portion of my diet is raw, but I’ve never went all the way.

Angela

We’re actually giving ourselves a new 90 day challenge. Completely raw. No loopholes. No alcohol. We had the weekend off from being raw, more as an experiment than anything else. I’ll be writing about it shortly. But ja, basically we’re planning on staying 100% raw. :-)

Karol

That sounds awesome! How would you do a raw diet if you were traveling full time? (Yes, I’m asking for my personal benefit! ;) )

Angela

That’s a really good question…and thank you, you’ve just sparked an idea for a post. Give me a couple of days to write something. I’ll let you know when it’s up. Cheers :-)

Bender

Hey there. I guess you’d call me a professional “Roadie.” I’m a stagehand for traveling shows. Not rock n’ roll (yet), but musicals and stuff and let me tell you, my people know how to drink. When you get done with work after everything has closed except the hotel bar and you have no means of transportation besides the tour bus, your options are limited. So, the hotel bar gets plenty of business as well as the convenience store down the street where you buy beer and let it chill in your bathtub!! For some reason, everyone thinks they need to have a few drinks to wind down after a show or a rough load out or because the day ends in Y. I’m also a volunteer firefighter when I’m not on the road. There’s another group of people that can slam back the booze!
I decided to quit drinking about 6 weeks ago. I just don’t really like the taste of any alcohol I’ve tried. It’s is a gross waste of money. And it was making me fat!! Now, when I go out with the boys or with the crew, I just ask for a water. Sure, I get picked on and hollered at and have drinks offered to me, but I find it only lasts a few minutes and then everyone gets distracted by something else. I feel good about the money I’m not throwing away, the weight I’m not gaining, and the hangover I won’t be having!!
Thanks for the challenge and thanks for this whole site. It’s pretty damn extraordinary! Safe travels and remember to sleep with your head to the back of the bus!!

- bender

Karol

Hey Bender,

That’s funny to hear about the musicals crew getting rowdy. :) It makes sense though. “I find it only lasts a few minutes and then everyone gets distracted by something else” – I’ve found the same thing. I don’t mind a few jabs. Keeps me on my toes. :)

Thanks for sharing!
Karol

Benny the Irish polyglot

I’m also a fellow backpacker and a non-drinker, but I’ve never drunk. So rather than 30 days I’ll be approaching 30 years of not drinking not too far away in the future! I wrote an article about it on my blog and got some fierce criticism for sharing why from my readers! People invent such ridiculous reasons – Sheep dislike it when you challenge their status quo… :P I just got a comment on that post from someone saying that “sober guys are creepy” – apparently drunk guys are better prospects for prince charming. Drinkers will clutch at straws and invent any old excuse they can to justify (to themselves) why a change can never happen. It can be quite sad! I avoid the argument whenever possible and try to be naturally social and people rarely offer me a drink or bring up the argument :)
I’ve also found travelling as a vegetarian not to be that difficult. I’ve also always been a vegetarian, but would find it hard to go vegan in some places that I’ve lived in which only seem to have cheese or egg options if you want to avoid meat/fish while sampling the local cuisine. There is of course always an option if you try hard enough!
Hope our travels align some time – I’ll invite you out for an Orange Juice – things usually go crazy after my 3rd one! :P

Jim

Actually, instead of getting shit from your friends for not drinking, always volunteer to be the designated driver so they can get smashed when everyone goes out… you’ll never get shit from them!

Henri

I quit drinking a few years ago. I’m 23, so it isn’t easy, but I don’t care, because drinking just feels wrong to me. The people attracted to it are not the people I want in my life. This post rocks. This blog rocks. You rock! Keep on rocking ;)

Kevin

Hey Karol,

I’m a little late in announcing my participation in this challenge, but I decided I might as well chip in and add my support. I rarely drink anymore so its not overly difficult to stay away from alcohol even though I am only 23 and that seems to be the status quo for many people my age. Especially my friends who are in university.

I am not going to knock drinking or alcohol, I mean like anything in moderation it can be fun. It can also be the cause of a really brutal morning after or an entire day thereafter. In all honesty I did most of my drinking underage when I was in grade 11 and 12. By the time I was of legal age (19) the novelty had pretty much worn off for me. I did drink a few times a month when I was 19/20 but nothing compared to previously.

Anyway, I hope you don’t mind my long winded comments I just felt like contributing a little bit of feedback to your website. I’ve read every single posting on this website and I love every one of them, yet I’ve only posted a few times. So it never hurts to express your thanks verbally rather than just think it. So once again, thank you for this awesome blog!

Oh, I also haven’t had anything to drink since Mid October.

P.S. This is just my experience and I don’t know if anyone can verify it, but drinking is a phase that almost everybody goes through. As I stated above by the time I was of legal drinking age, the novelty had pretty much worn off. Meanwhile, I knew friends who did not drink at all in Highschool until late grade 12. This group of guys I knew were all pushed to excel by their parents and I mean to the point they started resenting the amount of pressure their parents were putting on them to get grades higher than 85%. Most of these guys have gone on and attended the local university. And do you know what they do? They drink and party hard mostly. Watching these guys in their first two years was incredible. You supposedly mature as you age…haha! Thats a nice sentiment. But untrue in this situation. I didn’t think it was possible for the human body to sustain 4, 5 and 6 nights a week of drinking for a few years non-stop.

For me I got the drinking phase out of my system early on. For my friends and guys I grew up knowing and going to highschool with; first year university the party had just begun. I guess its just expected so everyone does it. At one point in time, I followed the herd and didn’t really think for myself. Now I strive to distance myself from the herd mentality and forge my own path. Its so much better this way.

Trent

Hey Karol,

I’m Trent and I love bourbon. I took you up on your challenge on November 5th and made it to November 25th, not too bad.

I decided to pick up the challenge again and will be spending my New Year sober as an honest nun. From last Saturday, December 19th through January 19th, yeah!

Cheers,
Trent

Karol

Trent, thanks for sharing! 20 days is great, but it’s awesome that you decided to start up the 30 days again.

Thank you!
Karol

Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com

I’m actually stopping drinking this month for 30 days then planning to continue for 3 months. I want to be able to control the urge to drink . It’s tough in the UK where drinking is basically the favourite past time. Started a bit late though for your challenge but loving the physical benefits. I feel amazing!

Karol

Hey Richard,

Drinking is a favorite past time in the USA too. I’m one of the few people in my circle of family/friends who doesn’t drink.

Thanks for quitting for 30 days though! That is really awesome. :)

Karol

Kelsey

I’ve never been a drinker myself. I have been drunk on only 4 or 5 occasions in my entire life, and probably tipsy even fewer times. I’ve only ever found one or two drinks that I actually enjoy drinking (I’m picky about my flavors), and I don’t enjoy the loss of control that comes with inebriation. I have rarely seen anything positive come out of someone being drunk, so I have just never really understood the appeal. When I opt out of drinking, people always act as if there is clearly something wrong with me, and they try to get me to drink. You hit the nail on the head with that one, and it’s really something that has always annoyed me about many folks in the traveling scene – they’re fine with people doing their own thing until “their own thing” is different from their own views.

I’ve decided, instead, to give up my own vice – candy – for 30 days. I’ll have a blog post up about it soon, and I’ll let you know.

Karol

Thanks for sharing Kelsey. Quitting candy for 30 days sounds like a great plan. I don’t eat much candy myself. Since quitting unhealthy foods my palet has opened up so nicely. Fruit is life’s blood and I crave it far more than any candy. :)

Kelsey

Here’s my post about it: http://www.driftingfocus.com/blogs/?p=6225

Kelsey

Well, as I will be explaining in my post, I have inherited this weird thing from my dad in which I don’t feel satisfied after a meal until I have something sweet. Fruit works just fine, but I tend to gravitate toward more sugar-based things like cookies, candy, etc. I want to try and change that, so I’d be giving up sugar-based sweets for 30 days.

Daisy

Hey Karol,

Great post! Actually, I’ve enjoyed all the posts I’ve read on your blog. :D

I admire the way you looked at the habit so objectively when it wasn’t even nearing addiction status. I don’t think abstaining from alcohol is really on my radar though since I’ve never been drunk before.

I blame the fact that I’ve been sober my whole life on my parents and their possibly non-traditional method of bringing me up. My Dad brought me to bars to drink exactly one serving (bottle, cocktail glass, wine glass, etc.) of every kind of alcohol he knew of before I even thought about drinking it (I was a pre-teen at the time; don’t remember the exact age). About the same time, my Mom started giving me alcohol with the weirdest meals (champagne with KFC chicken, for example) and the whole family would have a great time that wasn’t really because of the alcohol. Oh, and they gave me one ridiculous rule: “Tell your friends you can only drink alcohol with your family, including your grandmother.” Just ridiculous enough that it didn’t seem like an order but more like an inside joke.

To this day, my whole family only drink alcohol when we’re together at Christmas. I’m always sober in bars and parties because I’ve often tried whatever everyone’s drinking (so I’m not curious), and using my reason not to drink and watching people’s faces dissolve in confusion is too good an opportunity to pass up.

Have a great time being socially unacceptable! :)

Daisy

Karol

Thanks Daisy!

That’s funny that your Dad took to bars to drink everything. :)

That confused look IS fun, isn’t it. :) I get it a lot too.

Thanks again for your comments,
Karol

Ute

Hi Karol,

I was just wondering how you could spend so much on alcohol in Germany (of course everything is possible, but I am just curious). Where have you been? At this time of year there is not the Oktoberfest.

Best

Ute

Karol

Hi Ute,

1) Munich is not cheap. (Berlin wasn’t either.) 2) We drank a lot. It’s not hard to spend 100 EUR/day on alcohol if you try hard. 3) The US dollar sucked in comparison to the Euro.

Karol

Brett

Hey Karol, I’ve actually seen your site mentioned a couple times via @evbogue and others and just never got around to checking it out.

Wow. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know how or why I missed it, but I’m damn glad I found it now.

I’ve actually been kicking around dropping alcohol for awhile now in preparation of ramping up my marathon training. Reading through your enjoy/don’t enjoy list, I felt an eerie similarity to my own feelings.

It being May 31st for only four more hours here, I think tomorrow is the perfect time for me to do my own 30 day challenge.

Karol

Thanks Brett!

Once you make the decision it’s actually not too difficult to quit. Especially for just 30 days. I went 4 1/2 months straight, and then since then have had ~5 drinks. It’s just not part of my life anymore. But if there’s a special toast or something else special going on I don’t have a problem having a drink. (My Aunt here in Poland made some traditional Polish alcohol so I had one shot of it at a family dinner, for example.)

Cheers!
Karol

Christopher Cassada

I have been a vegetarian off and on again since high school. Most recently, my wife and I gave up meat (ovo-lactovegetarians) and have raised both of our children with the understanding that a vegetable based diet is a better choice for your body mind and soul. 30 days ago, my wife confronted an alcohol abuse issue that runs through her family. Being a good husband, I agreed, unwillingly, to go through this with her. After a couple weeks sober, I felt awesome. She on the other hand had to deal with the demons that come along with alcoholism, the guilt, withdrawal, etc… and so I decided, I needed to give up something that would be difficult for me too. So, I gave up all animal byproducts (eggs, dairy, cheese, honey, etc). It’s been two weeks now and I feel even better. I have experienced some food enlightenment. By choosing to limit your diet whether for health or spiritual reasons, you are forced to eat better. I have to think about my meals in a way that I didn’t have to even on a vegetarian diet. So, stumbling across your blog, I am curious, how are you doing now after your first year?

Karol

Hey Christopher,

Kudos for being supportive and for cutting out animal products.

I’m assuming you’re asking about how I’m doing not drinking? I mentioned it elsewhere on this blog, and for the life of me I don’t remember where, but I am not a 100% teetotaler. That lasted almost 5 months. Now I say I’m not a drinker, but that doesn’t mean I won’t drink. I especially won’t drink if it’s the “cool” thing to do or if I’m out places where I’m expected to drink.

Example: 2 weeks ago I went to a restaurant with 34 other people. :) About an hour in we pretended it was my birthday (not to get anything free, but just to make a lot of noise and sing “Sto Lat”) … then someone decided we needed to do shots since it was my birthday. And 35 shots were poured. I grabbed an empty shot glass and pretended to do a shot with everybody then gave away my actual shot.

Cheers,
Karol

Rosa

“I feel god dam electric” I love it !
I was trying to explain to a friend how good I was feeling lately and was having trouble explaining this, but this sums it up!

Karol

You can thank Phil Anselmo for that line. :)

Bender

Hey Karol,
I just reread my post from 11 months ago. I couldn’t remember exactly when I gave up alcohol after reading your article on being “Socially Unacceptable.” So, yeah, it’s officially been over a year and I honestly do not miss it at all. I started with a month, then 2, then figured why not an entire year!? Now that I have done it, I really can’t think of a good reason to start up again!!
Still loving your site and appreciating your outlook on life. All the best to you!!

- bender

Karol

That’s fantastic Bender! I went about 5 or 6 months. Now I drink if I feel like it, but it’s still pretty rare.

jay

currently ive been trying to stop drinking for a variety of reasons, and i’ve been surprised and annoyed by my friend’s resistance to it. my main motivation for not drinking is being able to drive (on my license you can’t have any alcohol) because its so much easier. i also really hate the taste of alcohol.
it actually makes me quite angry when my friends will keep trying to make me drink when i’ve said i dont want to, because i dont try and tell them to be sober. i dont see how it makes any difference to them whether i drink or not since its not like when i’m sober i sit in the corner alone and when i drink i become some sort of entertaining party animal. if anything i would have expected them to encourage me to stay sober so i can drive, since it is cheaper and easier for them to not have to catch the bus or pay for taxis.
lol maybe i should try the ‘socially unacceptable’ line next time they try pressuring me to drink and they will finally shutup.

Nate

Not sure how old this posting is, but wanted to let you know that I am starting a 30 day challenge today! I have always felt like I could quit drinking any time I wanted, but lately, I am not so sure. I turned 21 a few months ago and its been a little rough since then. Anyway, time to see if I am just as mentally bad ass as I think I am. Thanks for your blog for inspiring this. Looks like you post some good stuff. Will read more!

Eric

As a male in my early 20′s, if you want your friends to be concerned about you tell them you quit drinking lol. You may as well have died to them. People actually get angry when they hear this. Its as if you’re no “fun” anymore. I decided to give up drinking after a few epic hangovers and found out that after about a week of abstaining (I was in a frat in college so would be a long time to go sober) I feel “electric” as you stated. I would go out with my friends and tell them I wasnt gonna drink, to their chagrin, and hear replies like “come on, have some drinks with the boys”,”live life”,”I think you’re gonna look back and regret this”,”you’re being a p*ssy,b*tch, etc.”. I think you’re perceived as taking yourself too serious by abstaining. My friend actually told me a story of his friend who read a book about the dangers of alcohol and thus stopped as if it were a terrible tragedy and said friend was brainwashed for doing so. I think its easier from the peer pressure side for women to stop, but that might be a generalization. Drinking is terrific fun, but its like Im useless for days after even moderate drinking. After abstaining for a week I feel awesome, optimistic, full of energy, more confident, sharper thinking as opposed to down, anxious, moody, irritable. Its puzzling because most of my friends go out to bars on weekends and while you can attend and not drink, its pretty boring. Im confident I can 30 days with relative ease, if i do fail it will be due to intense peer pressure because of some rare occasion, like a good friends wedding, rather than my desire to consume alcohol.

Karol

Thanks for bucking the trend Eric.

The dudes calling you names aren’t real friends. That doesn’t mean you can’t get drunk with them if you want, but they won’t ever be the people looking out for your best interests.

Since writing this post over a year ago I drink again. It’s not all that often, but I do. For example, I was recently in New Orleans for 4 nights and I drank exactly one beer. When I see other people making fools of themselves it turns me off. :)

“Drinking is terrific fun, but its like Im useless for days after even moderate drinking.” – It’s good to know that limit.

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