Cold Turkey

Something in my life needs to change, and I know what it is.

I have decided to stop drinking alcohol, effective today.

This is an oddly personal thing to write about, and doing so sort of defies the purpose of this blog, but I feel that making it public here will keep me honest.

I am realizing more and more that the downsides of drinking outweigh the perceived benefits (fun, relaxing, etc.). Here are some of the things I've increasingly noticed that I think are linked to my alcohol intake:

  • At 230 lbs, I am somewhere between 15 and 50 lbs overweight for my height.
  • My blood pressure is too high and goes up measurably after drinking.
  • The quality of my sleep is getting worse, which causes me to sleep in more frequently.
  • My memory is getting noticeably worse.
  • I'm less articulate than before.
  • My attention span is shorter after drinking.
  • Drinking occasionally makes me more irritable.
  • I seem to have more issues with stomach acid and with my teeth.
  • I have lower back pain that may be linked to my kidneys.
  • Combining everything above, I simply feel like my body is aging faster.

I think (just guessing) that by reducing my caloric intake from alcohol to zero I can probably lose 15 lbs within 2 months without changing anything else in my diet. But my biggest goal is to make my mind sharper. I've had far too many "hazy head" days, which always lead to me being less productive.

I don't think alcohol is bad in moderation. But I do know that moderation hasn't worked for me, so this is my only option.

My goal is to not consume any alcohol between now and the end of the year. At that point, I will reassess whether moderation makes sense going forward. I trust myself enough to make the right decision at that time.

Goals for This Year

I'm setting two initial goals for this year:

  1. Stop drinking alcohol immediately.
  2. Lose 20 lbs by the end of the year.

These will be the first of many goals that I will lay out in writing in this blog. I'm finally taking the advice from a great presentation by Ryan Allis that I have referenced before. It all starts with writing down your goals. Compared to him, I am 18 years late in doing this. But it starts now.