Before I get into why I have decided to quit drinking, I would like to first mention that some of the best nights and moments of my life have came to fruition because of alcohol. There are experiences I’ve had whilst intoxicated that I will cherish forever.
That being said, with what I want out of life, I cannot justify continuing to spend any time or money on alcohol. In the medium term, I want to be respected in the online poker community as a very strong player with an extremely admirable work ethic. In the long term, I want to have a following for my comedy, and to be respected by other comics on the circuit. That, as of right now, is a very simplified description of who I want to become. Drinking and recovering from the drinking takes time. That is time I could spend on getting better at poker or writing more stand-up material.
I’m not a particularly good drinker. I obviously don’t have impeccable balance when I’m sober, so I’m sure it won’t be hard to believe that walking around in the body that I have while drunk is not without complication. I have spilled too many drinks and had more than enough bruised elbows to want to keep getting drunk. I’m very well aware that one day I might fall again and hit my head.
Everyone is guilty of making some wrong decisions in life whether sober or drunk. But the most potentially life ruining things I’ve done in adulthood have occurred when I was heavily under the influence. I went on a date with a girl in Saigon. She was nice enough to pick me up at my apartment with her bike and drive us to the bar. After a couple of drinks I knew that she wasn’t the girl for me. I should’ve politely ended the date and called it a night. Instead I kept drinking with her. Six or seven drinks later, I asked her to come back to my apartment with me. She agreed, but insisted that she drive us back there on her motorbike. Getting on the back of a motorbike that was being driven in by a girl who was obviously too drunk to drive is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. The bike fell as we were sat on it waiting at a stop light and I scraped my forearm quite badly. It could’ve been a lot worse. Alcohol played a big part in me agreeing to get on that bike. For as long as I live, I want to make sure I don’t do anything that risky ever again.
The money you save by not drinking is understated and even often underestimated. Even in a very cheap place to drink, like here in Vietnam, it’s not as cheap as people think it is. the added costs of taxis, late night food and things that get lost and damaged as a result of drunken carelessness really do take their tole on your bank account. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t lost money, some jewelry, their phone or wallet at least once during a night out. It’s hard to measure the cost of all of that risk, but it’s definitely something people don’t think about when estimating how much a years worth of drinking will cost them financially.
I still go out with friends to bars as a sober person, but now instead of alcohol I get a sprite. And I now never regret saying anything out of line or approach any girls with unsolicited advances. That was a big problem for me as a drinker. All “Dutch courage” gave me was the inability to read a girl’s signals and body language. Making them uncomfortable and making me look like someone who doesn’t respect women. I obviously can’t undo any of the things I’ve said and done, but I can recognise that I’m much less interested in asking strangers for sex when I’m sober, so sober in bars I shall be.
As I said, I had some great times with alcohol. But I want somethings out of life that won’t be easy to achieve, and I need to make sure I give myself as big an edge as possible. Living in Asia has made me really appreciate how lucky I am to have the opportunities I have. There’s millions of people here who only have drugs and alcohol to look forward to. They don’t make enough money to travel, to invest or open a business. I’m fortunate to have a lot more options than them. Knowing that other people have to do mundane jobs that they hate for little pay, gives me more drive to be as conscientious with what I am lucky enough to be able to be doing.
I’m never going to shame or think less of anyone who doesn’t want to give up alcohol, it’s very fun. Even if you have a particularly lucky life it’s still good to cut loose sometimes. But for me, in my late teens and early twenties, alcohol was the substitute for having ambitions and a sense of purpose in life. But now that I have found that sense of purpose and know what my life ambitions are, I need to substitute alcohol for some extra time to give myself a better chance of achieving them.