Beer and Coffee: My Problem Children, Put to Bed at Last

drinking man

Thirty-two days ago, David began an experiment wherein he vowed not to touch any drugs for thirty days.

And I’m a new man. Just like that.

This last month has definitely begun a new chapter for me, and perhaps closed an old one.

To recap quickly: thirty days ago I was a daily coffee drinker, and I had a habit of drinking alcohol to excess on a weekly-ish basis. I have spend the last month completely un-high, with not so much as an aspirin passing through my system. The last time I went thirty days without a drug was probably over ten years ago, when I was a minor.

Though I have never been (quite) out of control, certain drugs established an alarming regularity in my life. I used them so casually, and for so long, that I suspected they might actually be necessary to hold my work and social lives together. Getting drunk and buzzing out on coffee had become too normal an activity for me to still feel okay about it. I didn’t want drugs to be part of who I was.

So I set out to discover who I was without them.

The Questions:

Basically I wanted to know exactly where these drugs fit in my world: what they added to life, and what they cost me. Specifically:

  1. Could I comfortably hang out with people who are drinking, when I’m not? Many of my friends drink on an extremely regular basis, and I’ve become accustomed to joining in when I’m around them. I wondered if I would feel left out, or if they’d be resentful, or if I wouldn’t be able to identify with anyone else if I was totally sober. All this time, I’ve avoided being ‘sober guy’ because I wasn’t sure how I’d fit into the typical social proceedings. Above all I was worried that hanging out with my friends was never really that fun, without the dose of chaos provided by alcohol. That was my worst fear with this experiment.
  2. Would work be less pleasant without my morning coffee? It’s no secret I’m not completely inspired by my day job, and I knew I was leaning on my morning coffee as a little daily ray of sunshine. I wanted to know if the caffeine was improving my workday, or sucking the life out of it.
  3. Would I feel a sense of deprivation? I wasn’t sure if the act of teetotaling would be like pulling teeth for a conditioned indulger like myself. I always knew I could abstain if I wanted to, but I wondered if I would come to dread social engagements, as if they were nothing but ‘willpower marathons.’
  4. What would I feel like physically and mentally? Were alcohol and caffeine sapping my energy? Dulling my mind? Making me fat? Ruining my sleep? If I was totally drug-free, would I be more calm, or more irritable?
  5. How tempted would I be to partake? I know that I am most susceptible to indulge in drugs excessively if I’m already a little under the influence. In other words, the buzz from two beers makes the third one much more tempting than the second was, and so on. It’s easy to renege on promises you made to yourself if you’re tipsy, but I knew I’d be totally sober for any tests of will that arose. So would I ever come close to breaking my commitment?

The Answers:

  1. Yes. A pleasant surprise. A regular pattern emerged in my social engagements: at first, I’d feel a bit left out, a bit tethered by my commitment. Club soda in hand, I wouldn’t quite feel like I was ‘participating.’ Each time, this feeling gave way to comfort, and the cravings would cease. I would become more and more at ease until the end of the night, when my peers would be getting a bit rough around the edges, and I’d be clearheaded and calm. I loved being able to drive my friends home. I felt grateful to have all of my faculties with still me at one in the morning, and proud that I’d had fun with no chemical aids. I felt like sobriety was my secret weapon.
  2. No. Quite the opposite. Without a doubt I can say work was much more of a drag when caffeine was a part of it. I’d hit the “3:00 wall” every single day when I drank my customary large coffee in the morning. Without coffee I was more productive, more calm, more alert and less irritable. As I suspected, my morning coffee was a crutch. It was my daily hit of gratification at work, my warm sanctuary away from my daily grind. It made me want to escape work more than anything. When I got to the office, I suddenly had nothing to lean on, so I’d just get to work, without trying to force some extra pleasure into it by getting high.
  3. A little. But it passed quickly when it did happen. There was no persistent, nagging dissatisfaction like I’d feared, just little jabs here and there. With a clearer head than I was used to, I was able to sink back into the moment and enjoy it quite easily whenever I was interrupted by a pang of envy or temptation. The most difficult moments were watching people pass around cold, condensation-covered beers, while I was sucking on a watery shirley temple. The office-coffee at work wasn’t very tempting, but the times I happened to catch a whiff of real gourmet coffee, I felt a bit left out.
  4. Awesome. I really felt the best I’d felt in years. I didn’t realize how much drugs (probably the caffeine, mostly) were stealing my energy. The whole month, I only got tired at night. I went to sleep easily, I became alert much more quickly in the morning. There was no need for a second wind, my first wind lasted all day. Thinking was easier and more productive. I worried less, I became more organized. And my stomach felt great! I didn’t realize it, but I had a slightly upset stomach at some point on most days. This I attribute to the caffeine too, and there was no trace of it during my month off. I never got indigestion, even mildly, no matter what I ate. I felt distinctly clean.
  5. It varied. A lot. Most of the time, I just didn’t want to take any drugs. I liked being in control of my consciousness, I liked being clean. But there were times when I really wanted just to crack a beer or brew a pot. In the final days of the experiment especially, once I had already answered the above questions and gone a stretch I was really proud of, I really considered partaking. As the memory of these drugs’ effects faded, I became correspondingly more curious of what they would feel like with my new-found perspective. I am so glad I pushed to the end of it.

Breaking the Fast

Though I did cruise right to the end of the 30 days, I didn’t go much longer than that. When the finish-line hour came (8pm August 4th), a friend happened to invite me for a drink to celebrate his 31st birthday. So I went.

I had two beers. As I finished the second, I began to feel the subtle, familiar effects. I wrote this as soon as I got home:

After having two beers… I feel a little depressed, a little mean.

I feel a little reckless, a little disrespectful.

I feel a little irresponsible.

I feel like another beer. If I had one I ‘d drink one.

I feel a little less me.

I feel like I’m no longer responsible for my state of consciousness, my state of mind. A little cranky, a little guilty.

And I’ve only had two beers.

I care a little less. About being ready for work tomorrow, about washing up before bed, about not throwing my clothes on the floor.

I feel less compassionate, and a little sorry for myself, though I don’t know why. I don’t know what I have to feel sorry for.

I’ve lost the ability to just sit, and enjoy the moment. Or maybe I’m just unwilling. I feel an appetite for something, a lack of something. I’m having trouble just resting in the moment I’m in.

I’m not happy.

It will be interesting to see if I can actually achieve a happy, calm state when I’m feeling alcohol’s effects, or if it’s only gratification — happiness’ inferior cousin — that I can achieve while under the influence.

Alcohol seems to make it a little more difficult to be genuinely pleased with the moment, at any rate.

Yikes.

I really did enjoy drinking the beers though. They tasted good. One beer would have been better. Or maybe two in total, with an iced tea in between.

During the second one I started to feel the effects, and I couldn’t help but remember that alcohol carries the classification “depressant.” It really was depressing some delicate faculty in me that had been present for the last four weeks… a subtle air of stability, of needlessness. Depressant was the perfect word. Mostly it made me want more beer.

***

Of course, my first opportunity to have a coffee arrived soon enough. We went out for breakfast at work.

After having a cup and a half of coffee I wrote this:

At first I felt very good. Did not feel the disorienting, heart-racing feeling I had when suffered an accidental earl grey OD in Day 8. [
Read the progress log here.]

For half an hour, I felt quite peaceful. It was easy to enjoy the moment, unlike last night after the two beers.

But now it’s been an hour, and I don’t feel that great. My stomach has lost the easy, light feeling it has had for the last month. Once again, it’s more difficult to be at ease.

A familiar tiredness is coming over me. I want to put my head down. I definitely don’t want to work.

I feel a knotted feeling in my chest, a slight flutter all over that I don’t like. I think this restless feeling might lend itself to physical action or even conversation, but it sure isn’t helping me sit comfortably.

Just like with my two beers last night, I feel I’ve compromised my state of mind and body. It’s tolerable, but why should I put myself into a state that I have to tolerate?

Like the beer, I enjoyed the act of drinking it more than the lingering effects.

I didn’t like what coffee did to me at work. Definitely worth avoiding. I can picture myself having a cup as an after-dinner thing, but it introduced an unnecessary, disruptive element into my workday. I will never go back to morning coffee.

The Verdict

In my final report for Experiment No. 2, I described it as “A success, just not the smashing kind.” Well, this success was the smashing kind.

I’m very proud of myself, and I believe I’ve gained insight and self-control I never had before. I feel like I’ve unhinged a many-years-long pattern of mild but still costly drug use, and I’m ready for greater challenges.

Even though my both my reintroductions to drugs were troublesome, I am not swearing off either of them. They do have a part to play in my life, but a much smaller one than I’d been giving them. I will take both to excess again, I’m sure, but not on anything resembling a regular basis.

I feel like I’ve successfully wrangled these two troublesome problem children into their proper places.

It really amazed me how much I’d been sacrificing for these so-called simple pleasures, and indeed, how much the general populace gives up for these common highs. The physical drain alone I found to be considerable, not to mention the monetary and social consequences. I have a lot to say about drugs and their roles in society, but I’ll get into that in another article.

This month of sobriety has changed my relationship to drugs forever. I’ve rediscovered the superiority of the ‘base state.’ It’s where I want to be, it’s where I’m most comfortable and capable.

Though there still exists in me a desire to alter my consciousness, I’ve learned how costly it is to do so. It’s just a really bad deal most of the time.

I absolutely recommend doing an experiment like this if there are any drugs that you use on a regular basis, particularly if you are getting tired of some of the downsides. If you think you maybe can’t do it, then that means you almost certainly should.

For me, this was long overdue.

R

Photo by Ben Sutherland

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{ 56 Comments }

Karlil @ PDPro August 6, 2009 at 2:40 am

Congratulations! I personally feels that everything should be in moderation. Keeping some bad habits are not that bad provided it is not done excessively.
But then again, maybe that’s just an excuse for me not to work on getting rid of my ciggie addiction. :)

-Karlil
.-= Karlil @ PDPro´s last blog ..How to improve your sense of humor with 5 easy steps =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 6:33 am

A number of people told me it was a mistake to quit for a month, and that moderation was the way to go. I can see now that it was completely necessary for me to be totally off those behaviors in order for me to see what effect they had on my life. If I hadn’t gone completely without, I never would have known what it’s like not to use drugs, and my gains would have been limited.

Lori August 6, 2009 at 3:27 am

Congratulations, David! I am happy for you.
I enjoyed reading your notes after the first time(s) you broke your fast – I often think along those lines, and every morning when I glance a the coffee pot, I forget the late-morning tummy rumbles that caffeine gives me pretty much every day.
I need to get off coffee for awhile. ;)
I’m really glad you wrote about your experience and also found a new you! Fabulous!
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Tuesday Group Hug =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 6:35 am

The lack of stomach discomfort was a real wake up call for me. I had no idea that I was upsetting my stomach every single day with coffee. I just didn’t know what ‘normal’ felt like.

Jay Schryer August 6, 2009 at 3:47 am

Congratulations! This is awesome!! Like Lori said, I’m glad you found a “new” you. A free man is a happy man, and you’ve thrown off some heavy chains, my friend. Again, congratulations!
.-= Jay Schryer´s last blog ..Happy Birthday, Baby =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 6:36 am

Heavy chains is right! And I didn’t even know how heavy they really were.

Positively Present August 6, 2009 at 6:18 am

LOVE THIS POST! I could really relate to the whole not drinking thing. I quit drinking back in December but I’ve gone out a few times and had a couple of beers since then I feel the EXACT same way that you did. You hit the nail on the head with your words. Now I realize that I’d rather not drink at all because drinking, for me, equals unhappiness. Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. It was great to read someone else’s words and feel as if they were my own…
.-= Positively Present´s last blog ..want to be happier? stop avoiding unhappiness =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 6:39 am

Hi Dani. It’s good to hear someone else had a similar experience. When you experience it with a clean body, it becomes obvious that it really is a hard drug. I’m interested to see if I always get that reaction.

Craig | BloomVerse August 6, 2009 at 6:59 am

I enjoyed reading about this experiment, David. However, as I read this conclusion post I wonder how much your feelings and beliefs about caffeine and alcohol helped to shape your experience. Would the experiment results have differed if you had no charge on the issue (if you were more neutral to them)?

Best!
-Craig
.-= Craig | BloomVerse´s last blog ..Transforming your health with the Sedona Method: Part 2 =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 7:35 am

Good point Craig. The results certainly would have been different if somehow I could divorce myself emotionally from the results.

None of the experiments I do are fit for the Lancet. It is impossible to achieve the objective observations scientific experiments strive for, because of the subjective nature of personal development.

This experiment has everything to do with how I feel about drugs. The whole reason I did it is because my feelings began to change. Feelings and biases are inseparable and essential parts of self-improvement. To be neutral would defeat the purpose, if it were even possible.

Craig | BloomVerse August 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

I apologize, I wasn’t criticizing the experiment or insinuating that it should have been conducted using the scientific method.

What I was getting at was more the rhetorical question of where the real problem lies. Is the problem in the drugs, or the feelings about the drugs?

Regarding the issue of neutrality around the subject, it may seem impossible, but in my experience it’s not at all. I keyed in on the mention that there were still both attachments and aversions to coffee and beer (wanting to consume them and not wanting to consume them at the same time). This in itself can cause suffering even though there are positive gains from abstaining. That’s why I brought it up. Perhaps another experiment……

Best!
-Craig

David August 6, 2009 at 8:40 am

Ah, I see you mean.

Someone asked whether the problem was the drugs or the feelings towards the drugs in the comments in my original post.

I figure it’s both. No matter how I feel about coffee or my coffee habits, for example, it does have physiological effects I can’t escape.

I have largely come to terms with my feelings towards both these drugs, but that changes when the drug’s effects area added to the equation. It’s all about perception, and the defining feature of drugs is that they change perceptions.

John August 6, 2009 at 7:41 am

Congrats, David! I knew you could do it. I’m glad you’ve ultimately changed your life to suit your health and not artificial highs. This shows that 30 day experiments have the potential to change people’s lives.

I know that you’ll keep going and challenging the limits you thought you had and revealing the willpower you never knew. Again, congrats!
.-= John´s last blog ..How to Speak Your Mind Without Feeling Guilty =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 8:40 am

Thanks for the encouraging words, John!

Will August 6, 2009 at 8:40 am

if you like the taste of coffee but not the buzz you could switch to decaf… i am a big coffee and tea fan but not a big fan of the buzz either…

my favorite thing recently has been buying loose leaf tea. i bought a teapot with a diffusor and now if I find myself wanting some hot bev in the morning, i just brew up a small pot of china green with gojiberry or something of the like… 1000 times the flavor with a miniscule amount of caffeine. worth a look, if you’re into that sort of thing.

either way, great job! i look forward with anxiety and excitement for the day I stop smoking for a month. i do think of it as a crutch to an extent, however I don’t resent it and in fact enjoy it… so it will be interesting to see when I ‘have time’ for such an experiment in my life. perhaps another year or two… haha

David August 6, 2009 at 8:51 am

Hi Will. You know, I actually had never considered decaf, I’m not sure if I ever tried it. Maybe I will give it a whirl.

I do remember finding non-alcoholic beer terrible, but that was a while ago.

Hey, when you do your no-smoking experiment, I’d love to hear about it.

Kaushik August 6, 2009 at 8:56 am

Congratulations! And you’ve done a great job of describing how it feels before and after.

I had to acknowledge that I would miss beer or wine, for example when going out to a fine dinner, hanging out with friends, parties, games, certain outdoor stuff…alcohol does make it all looser, friendlier, outgoing, and funnier. But it also wreaks havoc on my body and consciousness. With that acknowledgment, it’s easier to let go.
.-= Kaushik´s last blog ..A Gentle Honesty =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm

That’s the main drawback for me: alcohol makes it difficult (sometimes impossible) for me to be truly present. When you don’t want to be present — such as when you’ve got a problem you don’t want to think about — it works great. If you like the current moment, I don’t think it adds much.

Mike D August 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

Way to go man. I couldn’t do it. I mean, with age I’ve just settled down more than anything. I only go out and drink maybe 4 times a year now but I still have one or two every few days just to relax or loosen up a little. I don’t know if you remember but I don’t exactly talk a lot, but after a few drinks I become everyone’s best friend. It’s sad, I know. lol

I can’t live without my coffee though or I end up having a nap halfway through the day. I’m thankful that my job allows for it.

The quitting smoking thing is by far the worst. Again to be social I took it up shortly after high school and it’s been a nagging monkey ever since. Trident and I have never been closer.

But your article reassures me that it is possible to exist without these things and to possibly revert back to a simpler time.

David August 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hey Mike D! Good to hear from you buddy.

I was wondering what would happen without coffee. I figured my afternoon “wall” would hit me that much harder. But I found the wall didn’t come at all. It was actually the coffee that make me need coffee to stay awake. Treacherous beans!

It’s interesting how you said “revert back to a simpler time.” That’s really how it feels. Once I started using drugs regularly after high school, it kind of felt like I couldn’t go back to life without them. Like I’d opened Pandora’s box and whatever I took out of the box was too big to fit back in.

Now it’s like I got it all back in there, and things are simpler.

Anastasiya August 6, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I enjoyed reading your post and I definitely could relate to it. I “had” to give up all drugs 2 years ago when I got pregnant (I know, men usually do not understand this thing and they really should not after all :-)) Before the good news I drank alcohol socially with my friends and coffee was my friend every other morning.
I gave up coffee and all kinds of alcohol for 1.5 years (a little bit longer than a month :-)). I didn’t feel deprived at all and I could easily go out with my friends and enjoy my glass of juice while everybody else was drinking beer.
But I can tell that the first time I had beer after that – wow- it was like the first time in my life! Completely new taste and feeling.
Now my husband and I drink a glass of wine a few times a week (more for health purposes than anything else) and I enjoy life with moderate consumption of alcohol and coffee. Of course now I know that if I had to do it all over again it won’t be any problem at all :-)
It’s really good that you experienced it on yourself. This experience probably taught you a lot about yourself and thanks for sharing this experience with others!

David August 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Luckily several of my friends and relative are pregnant right now, and that made my challenge feel minor in comparison. Several times everyone was drinking except me and my pregnant friends. It was nice to have some allies :)

Duff August 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Great post and personal descriptions of your experience. And congratulations! I too find that caffeine and alcohol are not life-enhancing substances for me, which is not to say that I have no vices!
.-= Duff´s last blog ..The Science of Happiness Experiment =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Yeah in the few alcohol and caffeine experiences I’ve had since, I have not found them to enhance much at all. So far they seem to just annoy me mostly. Caffeine especially, I had a coffee this evening and it was nice for five minutes and now I have a headache. Feels like my brain is rusty, hard to describe.

I’m definitely not going back to consuming like before.

Grace Boyle August 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I watched as you ventured out on this experiment a month ago and I was very anxious to see the results and what you thought. It looks like an overall, pretty positive experience.

Social alcohol (company happy hours, drinks with friends, catching up on weekends) and coffee would be the hardest for me to eliminate. Although I know that we are strong enough inside to do whatever we wanted. I’ve stopped drinking coffee everyday and if I do, it’s just in the morning. It’s no doubt that we all feel better with no alcohol (talk about hangover!?) so it’s something that I try not to make a regular habit.

Although I know you struggled, I’m glad you went through with it. I’m sure it taught you a lot. Thanks for sharing!
.-= Grace Boyle´s last blog ..Women: Learn to Understand Your Emotions In the Workplace =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I have to say I was surprised at how little flak I experienced for not drinking at social engagements. As long as I had some kind of drink (club soda was my drug of choice) I didn’t feel like anything was really missing.

I’ve had three beers and two cups of coffee since, and each time they take away more than they’ve added. But I needed that month off to notice what they do to my ‘base state.’

Glad you enjoyed it!

Brad August 6, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Congrulations. I also do seem to feel better when I lower my caffeine intake. I’m not sure how you can relate to your friends though when you are the only person there that is not simply getting drunk.

I don’t think the term “problem child” usually refers to a drug addiction, although it does sort of sound like that. Albert Hoffman coined it for LSD, because he discovered it (it was his “child”) and it upset the social and political landscape (a problem). I think that’s why.
.-= Brad´s last blog ..Alleviate Depression =-.

David August 6, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Heh, yes that’s where I got that term from, Hoffman. Seemed to fit at the time, though my situation was not really related to his.

I was actually surprised at how easily I was able to relate to my friends. In fact, it was easier than if I were drunk. Alcohol seems to dull the finer aspect of empathy, at least in me. I appreciated my friends much more when I was not drunk, even if they were.

Hoffman’s story was a neat one. Must have been one interesting bike ride.

prayerthegate August 7, 2009 at 9:42 am

I really enjoyed reading about your 30 day experiment. I gave up coffee on New Years Day, and lasted 6 months. A person does feel a sort of freedom at being able to have control over what we do. It makes us stronger. I have returned to having a cup of coffee in the morning. (It makes your breath really bad, I hadn’t noticed it until I gave it up for 6 months.) But I am glad to know I can stop drinking coffee. Thanks for sharing this very personal journey with us.
.-= prayerthegate´s last blog ..Bless You =-.

David August 7, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Yes, it is nice to have that stint under my belt, so now I know that I can exercise at least that much self-control in the future.

I’ve had two cups of coffee so far, and both made me a bit loopy because I have no physical caffeine tolerance. I’m going to keep it occasional so that the effects stay strong and I will therefore be reluctant to take the act of imbibing a drug lightly.

Nicole August 7, 2009 at 12:09 pm

did you feel compelled to hand out pamphlets explaining what you are doing?

Whenever I do something obviously uncommon (like not drinking at a social event) it often leads to repeated questions.

Due to monotony, I have considered printouts.
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..14 things oral sex taught me about blogging =-.

David August 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Despite my fears, not really. A lot of people responded with an understandable “Why?” Nobody bugged me about it or anything, I didn’t feel pressed to be constantly explaining myself.

Roberta August 7, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience. I completely related to your description of feeling a little depressed after imbibing post the experiment. I rarely drink sometimes going a month or longer sans alcohol.

Like Nicole mentioned I, myself have had to deal with repeated questions about why I was not drinking. It’s rather amusing that the dry person is the one who is questioned and not the slobbering drunks. Most cultures are very seeped in social drinking, so to do otherwise is absurd.

David August 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Hi Roberta. I do find it odd that alcohol is so normalized in so many human cultures, it has a lot of drawbacks. But I was right in it myself, doing it because it was normal.

Stephen - Rat Race Trap August 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

David, this was fascinating. I don’t drink much anymore but not because of the fact I drank too much before, but just because I don’t feel like it. I’ve never ever felt like I had an addictive personality and so I can’t relate much. I think this is a very personal thing and depends upon one’s own personality and chemistry – how one reacts psychologically and physically to various substances. Thanks for a very interesting read.
.-= Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..Paying the Price to Get Out =-.

David August 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Thanks Stephen. Glad I could let you get inside the head of someone who has become accustomed to regular drug use. It is a bizarre world once you’re able to look at it from the outside. That’s what this month gave me more than anything.

Davina August 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm

This is fantastic David. You are inspiring. I was moved while reading the section for “Breaking the Fast.” It takes courage to reveal the good AND the bad.
.-= Davina´s last blog ..Morning Muse: Writer’s Block, Pass the Windex =-.

David August 9, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I have both affection and disdain for drugs, and I got a better sense (than I had) about what good and bad really result from use.

Tess The Bold Life August 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Congratulations! When or if you get tempted to go back to your old ways read you post and comments. I like your blog!
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Do You Dare =-.

David August 9, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Thanks Tess! It may be too early to tell, but I don’t think my old ways appeal much anymore.

Kai August 11, 2009 at 11:47 am

Congratulations and well done!

David August 11, 2009 at 11:51 am

Thanks Kai!

Jared | SpiritualZen.net August 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Pretty wild. I’m currently on day 1,264 without alcohol. It has a little different affect on me however. Like the whole “I really did enjoy drinking the beers though. They tasted good. One beer would have been better. Or maybe two in total, with an iced tea in between.” I can’t do that. ;-)
.-= Jared | SpiritualZen.net´s last blog ..Resentment, the Spiritual Time Killer and How to Avoid it =-.

drug recovery November 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

I dont think that there is any thing wrong with drinking every day. Most of the day we have to put up with so much that we have to have a drink.

David November 27, 2009 at 4:33 am

Not sure what you mean by “have to.”

Mike January 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Awesome write-up David.

Especially related to the feelings after two beers. It’s amazing what we can learn when we take note of how we feel during the act. Looking forward to exploring more of your posts…

Mike

David January 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Thanks Mike. I just re-read it for the first time in six months. Alcohol and caffeine continue to play a reduced role in my life, but they’re still there. I still have much less desire to drink, but it’s not totally gone. I’m at peace with it now.

dallas June 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for posting this experiment for all of us to see. It’s inspiring and comforting to know that other’s have the same apprehensions about their own patterns of behavior, and that there is someone out there who is standing up to himself. I don’t know if that was the clear sentiment I feel after reading this article, but it’s close. Thanks again. And my experiment may be just around the corner. Bless you, friend.

David June 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm

I think unhealthy compulsions are a reality for most of us who drink coffee and alcohol regularly, but they’re such socially acceptable compulsions that not a lot of attention is paid to them until they get really bad.

Good luck with your experiment. Mine changed my life.

Lindsay August 22, 2010 at 8:25 am

David you’ve inspired me. Today will be Day 1. I think I really need this and your post was just the catalyst.

Samantha January 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I love your article, i think tomorrow i’m going to try a little experiment of my own

Sam June 5, 2012 at 12:52 am

This is quite old, but I just wanted to thank you. You’ve managed, as you so often do, to write something that I read and feel like it describes my thoughts. I’m going to try this out. Keep up the good work man.

Anne January 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

This is fascinating, David – thankyou. I’ve just discovered your blog, and many of the topics you explore chime with me, as I seek to live life more fully and truthfully. This topic most of all, though. Black tea is my caffeine source of choice most of the time, with a cup of good-quality coffee a few times per week. I’ve “come off” caffeine many times – getting to the point where I don’t get headaches if I stop drinking it – but I always slip back into the addiction. Alcohol is far more of an issue. I drank far too much for a long period of my life when I was very unhappy. Now my drinking is more controlled – but I know that my relationship with alcohol still isn’t a healthy one – the time and energy that go into deciding when to drink and how much, the continual low-level nagging of health fears, the reluctance to try abstinence… all these are telling me that I need to do a similar experiment. And January is perhaps the best month, as it’s getting quite fashionable to have a month away from the booze after Christmas. Let the experiment begin….

Gemma March 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

This is brilliant, I have been having a lot of stomach issues lately and it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be that I am suddenly drinking a lot more coffee. I may drop the coffee for a while and see how I go.

Darren November 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I still like this post. I often find myself re-reading your old ones once your weekly dose has been consumed – maybe that’s my drug :-) I’ve tried the no alcohol for a month many times but never the no coffee.

I think it is time to give these a try in tandem and review the effects.

Again, I thank you for you insight into being better

Gogig January 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

This was wonderful, thank you for experimenting on yourself and writing about it for the rest of us. This month my fiance and I decided to cut way back on alcohol to save money and lose weight. While the original goal was to not drink for the entire month, we ended up having a few drinks on Friday evenings throughout most of the month. Even so, we both noted drastic improvements in mood. I have been more jolly and less irritable and so has he. Alcohol really is a depressant, even without hangovers or other apparent negative side effects. And on top of that, exercising self-control is really freeing, paradoxically. Thanks again!

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