How I stopped drinking alcohol

377 days ago was the last time I had a sip of alcohol. Specifically, a glass of Pilsner beer at my best friend's wedding.

This decision didn't come out of the blue, but was planned for a long time. In this article, I would like to tell you how I managed to say goodbye to alcohol and even improve my quality of life in many ways as a result.

Like most young men from the village, I started drinking beer when I was 16. Even if I didn't really like it, it was part of a social evening with friends. Someone always brought a crate of whatever brand was on offer. A beer here and there was simply part of the normal routine when you met up in the evening. At the age of 18, regular parties in clubs were added to the mix - or those establishments that were called clubs. Beer quickly became a soft drink and spirits or alcoholic mixed drinks became the norm at the weekend. The high point of my relationship with alcohol was definitely my studies, where every weekend there was a student party somewhere organized by some obligatory group. Don't get me wrong, we didn't just party, you can see my degrees, but we definitely didn't relax either. I can still remember very well that Jägermeister once organized a party with a team of promoters in our student hall of residence... Of course, the Jägermeister was free. The rest is history.

But that was many years ago now, as I left university in 2020 with my Master's degree. So, what made me decide to quit in the meantime?

Let me try to reproduce it for you.

As I am a big fan of always trying out new things and testing myself, I started something after university that I would never have thought possible before. I started drinking wine. Red wine, white wine, anything called wine. The feeling of opening a fresh bottle of wine in the evening, sitting on the sofa with relaxing music and drinking a glass with friends or family is simply wonderful. However, one glass quickly turns into two or three and a bottle of wine like that can be drunk really quickly... So I quickly found myself drinking a whole bottle in the evening with a friend. But Alex, a glass of red wine is supposed to be healthy, what's the big deal? Yes, certainly without the 12% alcohol per glass...

I remember a sunny Saturday when I drank several bottles of champagne with two friends. Yes, within 12 hours. I think that sums it up quite well.

In her book „The unexpected pleasure of being sober: Free and happy - a life without alcohol“ Catherine Gray talks about the definition of alcohol addiction. When do you actually become addicted to alcohol? Do you always have to be a completely drunk, aggressive idiot to be officially labeled an addict or is your own inner feeling that an evening with alcohol is simply nicer enough? I certainly didn't regularly drink myself into ecstasy, but I always had the inner feeling and the confirmation that alcohol makes life a bit nicer. Anyone who knows me knows that I liked to have an extra glass at parties… I see you laughing now.

Well, then suddenly it stopped. Once again driven by my curiosity, I asked myself whether I could give up alcohol completely, 100%. No wine in the evening, no beer with my mates, no spirits and certainly no indulgent champagne or whisky. Oh yes, I know this is an impossible challenge for some people, but I wanted to challenge myself. So over the course of time, I kept starting small periods of fasting, sometimes 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, then suddenly 3 months. My body and mind very quickly lost the desire for alcohol, so I no longer even thought about spending money on it...

Finally, the day came, 377 days ago, that I kept a promise to my best friend to toast his wedding with him and thus take my last sip of alcohol since ever.

I have not had any medical tests since then to check if there are any significant changes in my health. What I do know and definitely feel is my physical fitness, which of course also has something to do with regular personal training. Friends believe me, waking up on Sundays without a hangover and enjoying the morning after a nice coffee is more valuable than the most expensive champagne in the world. I've told this story to many of you and always received the same response: "Wow, I don't think I could do that." Why not? Just try it, what could go wrong? Don't hide behind a fictitious shell of alcohol to make yourself feel better at events. Present yourself to the world as you are, it doesn't matter if you're shy.

I can highly recommend the mentioned book from Catherine Gray as it talks about this topic in perfect detail with way more examples and fantastic reasons why people should stop drinking alcohol. It it's not specifically because of health benefits but more because of a significant increase of quality in life and self awareness.

Alcohol is not the solution.

my first try to stop

In the picture you can see me on New Year's Eve 2012, making my first attempt to never drink alcohol again. At that time I said this would be my last beer. Two months later I started drinking again and lost a bet that resulted in a slap in the face from one of my best friends.