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Sunday, March 17, 2013

5 reasons I quit drinking after turning 30

So I realized shortly after turning 30 that drinking every weekend wasn't as productive a lifestyle choice as I had once thought it could be.Graduating from Ohio University - a known party school - didn't really help me brake the habit but after several attempts I finally quit for good (or at least for the past 2 and half years - there's always the potential for a relapse but, I'll hope and pray that never happens).

So as you may be recovering from your St. Patty's day hangover, I'll dare to get a little bit preachy on why you may want to consider cutting out drinking or at least taking an extended brake. And no, this blog post is not sponsored by any major or minor liquor distributor. 

Here are five of the reasons I quit drinking once hitting 30 years of age.

1) I realized hangovers are no longer cute - I used to spend every other weekend regretting what I did on Friday or Saturday on Sunday morning. At one point it seemed like I was writing an apology email or in some cases a hand written letter once a month during my stay in Chicago.

Add to that the fact that being hungover when you're in your 20's is completely different from being hungover during your 30's. One of Chris Rock's funniest jokes is about the "old guy in the club"-I don't aspire to be that guy.

2) I learned Billionaires don't really drink - with the exception of maybe Mark Cuban, billionaires like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates don't really imbibe or at least not on a regular basis. Even John D Rockefeller one of the wealthiest people to ever live swore by his teetotaler lifestyle. Now I'm not saying that billionaires are the world's role models by any means but, I will say that a majority of them could be considered smart. Since I aspire to be looked at as at least moderately intelligent one day, I kind of look up to people who are also considered as such.

And even multi-millionaire old guys who do still go to the club like say Russell Simmons don't drink while they're out. They're  just there to have a good time.

3) I found courage through more reliable sources - "Liquid courage" is a nickname for alcohol but it's misleading. Courage comes from doing what you know that needs to be done even though you know it's not easy. The only thing that alcohol gives you the courage to say - in my experience - is whatever idea that tumbles into your thought process good or bad because alcohol removes the mental editor that is usually there to stop you from uttering such gems as:

"F**king Jews...the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." 

Mel Gibson from

4) I found Meditation:

 So about a decade ago I had a major shift in my life and found Eastern Philosophy. I was completely blissed out and didn't need any alcohol for about 6 months and then some major personal issues (let's call it a breakdown) caused me to go back to drinking again and this time a little harder and more pathetic than before. 

When about 2.5 years ago I decided to quit cold turkey again I needed something to replace that emptiness that was left from not drinking. I made a commitment to begin meditating more often and found for me that relieved a lot of the stress and anger that I used to relieve with alcohol. 

5) I figured out I am in control: 

Probably the hardest part for me to continue staying sober was the fact that a majority of my friends still continue to drink. It's hard to hang out with friends when the unspoken idea of hanging out is to grab a beer at the local bar. I conquered this in two ways (so far anyway) one way is by just ordering plain red bull or lemonade or something else - some bartenders snicker a bit but usually they don't give you too much crap. The other way is go out for lunch or brunch with friends and catch up. 

By far the most difficult test of my sobriety thus far happened about 2 months after I made the decision to be a teetotaler again. That test was called a very good friend's wedding. There were a lot of friends there, it was in a beautiful location and the bride and grooms goal was to have a big party for all their family and friends. They achieved that with stunning success and an open bar and great music It was so difficult to not just take a sip of beer or a glass of Merlot but, I got through it with water and maybe a lemonade or two. 

If you make the decision to be sober after 30 - I can guarantee you, that you will likely have a similar situation where there is so much pressure to drink but if you can find the inner strength to overcome it you'll admire that hot person in the mirror that much more because you'll have proved you're in control.

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