Today I’m celebrating 6 years of alcohol-free living. Six YEARS!
I’m so pleased that back in April 2013 – for some unknown reason – I finally decided to pay attention to the voice in my head that had been wondering whether I’d be happier sober.
Initially, my plan was to stop for 100 days as an experiment. I promised myself I’d give it my all and see how I felt afterwards.
Back then, I had no idea that I’d fall in love with this alcohol-free lifestyle 😀
It’s hard to measure the impact sobriety has had on my life over the past 6 years, but in this blog I’m trying really hard to do just that!
I decided to get out my calculator and work out a few key stats… and the results are pretty mind blowing, if I do say so myself…
Amount of wine not consumed: 1458 bottles
The hardest part of writing this blog was working out how much I actually used to drink, because it varied so much!
Sometimes I’d be good for a few days and then drink two bottles of wine a night. Other weeks I’d have a few glasses after work, night after night after night. Sometimes I didn’t drink wine – I switched to gin and tonics. Or strong cocktails.
So calculating some kind of average is tricky. But having read back through some old diaries, I decided – for simplicity – to account for 2 large glasses of wine a night (250mls of wine per glass). But as I said, it was often more than that.
1 bottle of wine = 750 ml
2 large glasses of wine a night = 4.6 bottles of wine a week
730 glasses a year = 243 bottles a year.
243 x 6 years = 1458 bottles!
Money saved: £8,748 ($11,405 USD)
Pretty amazing, huh? That’s £1458 a year. And the thing is – I know that figure is wrong. It’s a massive underestimate.
To calculate this I stuck with the formula I used above, i.e. 2 glasses of wine a night. A bottle of supermarket wine costs around £6. But obviously, wine purchased in a restaurant or bar costs waaaaay more than that. Things like cocktails, prosecco and spirits are all very pricey too.
I haven’t even attempted to work out how much money I spent on taxis home, late night takeaways, and the cost of replacing missing keys / phones / train tickets etc, all of which I was very good at losing!
Calories saved: 919,800
Wow. That’s not far off a million calories! One glass of wine contains 210 calories. So two glasses of wine a night means 153,300 calories a year.
Now of course, it’s not as if I only drink water these days. I enjoy lovely alcohol-free cocktails, and the occasional AF beer. Obviously those drinks contain calories too.
However, the liquid calories I consume nowadays are nowhere near what they once were. And alcohol-free drinks never, ever make me crave stodgy, calorific snacks in the way that booze always did!
Time saved: 2190 hours i.e. 91 days
This was another tricky one to calculate, because sometimes I’d be able to power through my hangover – I’d go to work and get the job done, even though I didn’t feel great. On other days, I lost hours and hours.
I wasted so much time being drunk, hanging out with people I didn’t like that much, getting into stupid arguments and watching movies I wouldn’t even remember afterwards. And I can think of plenty of weekends where I had to cancel plans because I was too hungover.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to allow 1 hour a day for all that drinking and recovering afterwards. That’s 2190 hours saved over the past 6 years i.e. 91 days. Heck, even if you halved that figure to just 30 mins a day, we’re still talking about weeks and weeks of my life!
Sleep gained: 312 nights
Even a few glasses affected the quality of my sleep. I’d wake up at 4am, tired but somehow wide awake. I’d often toss and turn until 6am, before finally going back to sleep just minutes before my alarm went off. That was very annoying!
When I was drinking I was more inclined to stay up late too – even if I was just home alone, watching trash TV. When you account for going to bed late, and then losing a few hours around 4am, you very quickly end up in a big sleep deficit.
I’d say I easily lost 8 hours – one night’s sleep – a week. Multiply that over six years and you’re looking at 312 nights. That’s not far off a year!
Memories gained: millions
Ah, I’d love to be able to put an actual figure on this! When it comes to sobriety, there’s a lot of important stuff you can’t actually calculate: e.g. memories and opportunities gained, increased self confidence, self worth and overall awesomeness. You simply can’t measure that stuff.
As a drinker, I regularly blacked out, which means there are pockets of time I do not remember. There are other times that I kind of remember, but not with much clarity. And that’s such a shame because I’m talking about weddings, holidays, parties and special moments that should’ve been very memorable.
Nowadays, I love knowing that I’m showing up fully for my one and only life. It’s not slipping by, blurry and forgotten. We only have one shot at this thing called life… so why not be fully present for it?