Just gonna put this out there because it's always awkward explaining it:
I don't drink anymore.
I feel like it's really hard to tell folks that without sounding sanctimonious. It's such a common part of life for adults in this country, and I always seem to get a deer-in-headlights look of disbelief when I tell someone after being asked why I’m not drinking. Trust me, I get it. I work in radio…in Wisconsin…I’m a bit of a black sheep here.
I don't call myself "sober" because I'm not trying to make a point about not drinking or trying to dissuade others to stop, nor did I have any kind of addiction to alcohol. So why did I quit?
Simply put, I lost interest in it.
It was all slowly, over the past few years. When we lived in Kansas, it was nearly habitual. Meet the friends at a bar, have a few drinks. After softball, head to the bar with the team, have a few drinks. Work an event at a bar, have a drink. Have some friends over; better make sure the fridge is stocked. We then moved away from home to New York, and had a smaller group of friends to see, and started going out less. We did less extra-curriculars, which tend to accompany drinking activity. The next thing we know, Danielle is pregnant, and stops drinking entirely. Now it’s just me, and I don’t drink that much to begin with, so my alcoholic intake went down to next to nothing.
When Ben came around, some drinking resumed, but our lives were different now. There was no more meeting of friends at the local watering hole, or staying out late with buddies and sneaking off to order a round of shots for the whole table (one of my old tricks). So for the most part, any drinking was limited to home, or the occasional stop at a friend’s house.
Fast forward to us living in Wisconsin, and now we’re in a new situation, and getting to know all new people again. We’re so far removed from the bar scene that I’m hardly ever in one, even for my job. The frugal side of it hit me too, as I started to realize that alcohol is EXPENSIVE, and I found myself enjoying a soda or water a lot more for a fraction of the price.
On a more serious note, I also decided that I never, ever, wanted to be impaired in any way around my son. I always wanted to be on the level when I’m around him, always able to drive a car, etc. That hit me in a profound way.
Lastly, I just really got tired of feeling like crap after a night of drinking. No one likes having a hangover, and even the smallest amount of alcohol in my system made me feel miserable later on.
All of these reasons coalesced into a decision last June: I was done with alcohol.
Now look, nearly 500 words written here, and I’m starting to feel sanctimonious again for even typing something like this up. Bottom line is this: I really don’t care if you drink, and will never make you feel guilty about it because I don’t. My wife still drinks, there’s still alcohol in our house, I just don’t imbibe. I’m more than happy joining you at a bar, and being around people enjoying alcohol. It won’t be awkward, trust me!