Just Because I Stopped Drinking Doesn't Mean I Became a Lameass
While attending college, I had my fair share of booze fueled late nights that turned into wretched hangovers. It was a vicious cycle that my friends and I would put ourselves through. Thursday-Sunday, start pre-gaming around 7 or 8 while getting ready (nothing is better than a shower beer, IMO), invite some friends over and continue the pre-game until we built up a strong buzz, head out to the bar around 10 and stay out partying until last call and then finish off the night with a delicious deli sandwich. Wake up the next day with a violent headache, grab a Gatorade and a slice of pizza and watch TV all day till it was time to do it all over again. Don't get me wrong, some of my best memories of college came from those nights (see thumbnail pic of me with a kiddie pool of Stones). But, when I graduated college and started getting older, the appeal of drinking my liver to oblivion quickly started to fade. The weight started piling on from the weekend binge drinking/eating and lack of exercise due to being hungover with no motivation to move. It wasn't only till recently that I decided I really wanted to dial back on alcohol and become more strict with my weekend activities. In turn, I had to learn how to go out with friends and sip on some seltzers or find alternative activities to do that were more health conscious. While I was able to adjust to this lifestyle change I wanted to take on, my family and friends weren't so happy about it.
When you stop drinking in excess or eating unhealthy, you realize how much of your social life revolves around just that. Want to catch up with an old friend? Let's grab drinks! Had a rough day at work? Crack open that bottle of wine. Celebrating a birthday? Let me take you out to dinner! It became tough to say "no" to certain situations where I knew I would be doomed because going out partying was what me and my friends always did on the weekends and they didn't want to take no for an answer. Even when I would go out and say I am not drinking, I was always forced to explain myself and have an excuse. Like maybe I just don't want to drink alcohol tonight, is that so bad? While I was able to successfully overcome temptations and peer pressure, some friendships started to fade. Friends stopped calling me to go out, invites to brunch became non existent and the bonds I once had with them weren't as strong. I pride myself on being a strong ass bitch, mentally and physically. While this might cause people to revert back to old habits, it made me realize a lot about my life and who was in it.
Friends should be constantly present in your life and be open to positive changes you are trying to make. There are plenty of fun things to do that require no drinking, like going hiking, taking a new class, going to the movies, doing corny site seeing in NYC etc etc. Also, just because I don't have a Vodka Soda in my hand doesn't mean I can't come to the bar and socialize with you. If anything, I can be your voice of reason when you think the guy across the room is a perfect 10, when he actually is a weak looking 3. Luckily a lot of my friends have been open to alternative hang out ideas or have just come to terms with the fact that I am not the booze hound I once was.
I still do occasionally drink and I am not stone cold sober - Margaritas taste too damn good. But, when I have taken long stints of sobriety, I have felt my absolute best and most productive. Waking up early on a Sunday to hit up the gym and cross off items on my to-do list will always outweigh waking up at noon wondering what the hell happened the night before.