March 23, 2019

Why I quit drinking

In 2018, I quit drinking after over a decade of alcohol. I considered it a lot for the past few years but I always thought it was impossible. I quit from April to December, 2018, and I decided to carry on for 2019.

Recently, I was listening to Build your SaaS podcast and Justin shared he quit drinking until transistor.fm reaches 10K MRR. More importantly, he sees it becoming more and more of a trend. I definitely agree with this, that why I decided to share my story.

I don't consider I ever had a problem with alcohol, I quit for many reasons and here is the gist of it. Some people go sober for a month once in a while, typically in January with "Dry January". I knew I dind't want that, I didn't want a challenge or some redemption, I wanted to build new habits. I had to quit for long enough so I'm not just on hold, thinking about all I'm gonna drink the month after. I set the traget to "end of the year" and see how it goes.

Some people motivated me a great deal without even knowing, like my friends I met in Los Angeles last Febuary: Jordi and Vinny. They don't drink and are very happy about it.

The main benefits

The benefits of not drinking is litterally endless, but here are my personal reasons. Bare in mind that I love wine, whisky, beer and random alcohol from other countries.

Better sleep

The older I get, the harder it is for me to sleep when I had a few drinks (even very few). So I'm lying in bed, exhausted, incapable of sleeping. This gives you a lot of time to think. This was the reason I seriously started considering going sober.

No more hangover

How many mornings did I wake up feeling terrible: exhausted, dehydrated with a terrible headache? I can't say getting up has become easy, but it's much easier for sure.

Getting some time back

I have a million thing I'd like to do: projects I'm working on, outdoor activities, training, reading. If I drink, even not much from like 7pm to 9pm, then I go home and I don't want to do anything, I can't focus, let alone going to the gym. I also tend to oversleep, so most of my morning is gone.

I'm talking about 7pm to 9pm, but after two drinks, I rarely go home at 9pm. I'm way more likely to stay for another one, and end up leaving way too late. Sober me is tired at 9~10pm and want to go home. I'm also way more likely to stay home instead of going out.

Better health

Alcohol is bad for you. I know this not really how we see alcohol in the modern world, especially not in France, but I'm convinced this is going to change. Typically, if you get serious health issues, every doctor will tell you to quit drinking until further notice. Guess why.

If you train for something or hit the gym regularily. Alcohol will affect your recovery and progress. You just can't train hard and drink a lot. I started seriously reducing my intake when training for the Paris marathon 2 years ago.

Other effects

There are plenty other benefits, they weren't the main reasons for me, but it's always good anyway.

  • You save money
    Remember how you would typically spend on a saturday night pub crawl
  • You remember everything
    Even if I remember most of the things, there are a few fuzzy time in my memory
  • You won't say things you'll regret
    Actually you will, but you do it conciously

So no drink at all? Never ever again?

To be honest, I didn't quit entirely but I have reduced my alcohol intake by 95%. I have defined some situations where I allow myself to drink.

Here is what happened when I told my friend I was planning to quit on April 1st, 2018:

  • ME: I'll quit drinking entirely.
  • HIM: How about the MetalDays Fest next summer?
  • ME: OK, I'm allowed to drink at festival.
  • HIM: And Emeric's wedding?
  • ME: Ok weddings too.

I found that making alcohol something exceptional, makes if even better. In December 2018, I considered this was the end of the year, so I started drinking again. Christmas was coming, it was time for family and friends, not time to work on some side projects. I had fun drinking with people, but this definitely conforted me in my choice: I don't really want to drink again. Funnily enough, I got a lot done in december, especially on localhxc.com. Sometimes it just happen, you can't plan for it.

In 2019, I happened to drink occasionally, like during a ski trip. I'm holding the rules loosely now but still, nothing compare like what I used to drink. Maybe after a while, even those "exceptions" will vanish. I don't know.

Be ready to be judged

You can have a drink without getting drunk

A glass of Champagne is fine, it's to celebrate

Can't you just drink with moderation?

Sure, you can also smoke with moderation. When I tell people I quit drinking, they usually ask me why first, and then tell me that I could just drink less. I don't mind people saying this, because I said it before for sure.

I allow myself to drink from time to time, people take great pleasure in highlighting that you "didn't really quit then".

In other words, get ready to explain yourself every time you drink sparkling water in a bar.