27th Mar, 2018

A Year without Alcohol - Three Months In

At the beginning of the year I sat down and thought about what I want to do with this new year that had just begun, as so many of us do. I though about where I was, where I wanted to go, defined goals and checked if I was still standing behind my long term plans. At some point, more or less out of the rose, I decided I would not drink alcohol for this entire year. This was 86 days ago. In the following, I want to talk about the reasons why I decided to stay sober for an entire year and reflect about how the first three months went. Let’s start at the beginning.

Why would I stay sober for a year?

When I drank, I never used to drink much (I wasn’t really drunk in about 3 years now), but I used to drink often. I was the kind of guy to never say no if someone asked for a beer after work. At some point, I was drinking almost every day. I was healthy otherwise, I worked out regularly and I was on a vegan diet, which makes it a lot more complicated to eat unhealthy. I just used to drink beer often. Recently, I noticed it got harder for me to just drink a single beer. I used to be disappointed if the group only drank one beer and did not want to do another. At times, I would just drink a second one on my own. I think these are some red flags. I would not consider myself an alcoholic, but I think I set my self on a dangerous path. That’s the main reason I decided to cut out alcohol for a year.

There are a couple of other reasons, though. I like to challenge myself and try out roads less traveled. I took the cold shower therapy multiple times, back in university I joined the NoFap community, I started to get up at 5am the last few months and went Vegan last year. I believe there is something to find on these paths most people don’t take, even though they tend to be more uncomfortable in the beginning. I might be wrong.
I also was curious: The last time I was sober for a year was the very year before the day I first drank alcohol. I never was sober for a year in my entire adult life. What would that be like?

Benefits after three months

There are a lot of articles on this topic already (like this or this, or one of my favourites, this video), and the following list of benefits mostly coincides with those pointed out in these articles, so I’ll just go over the most important ones real quick.

  • Better sleep: This is possibly the most valuable benefit so far. I sleep way better (I should note that we also threw our bed out in favour of a futon, which has also affected my quality of sleep). I generally sleep deeper, wake up less often and feel more well rested in the morning.
  • Weight Loss: Without changing my diet or workout routine, I lost some weight around my waistline. I do not own a scale, but its visually visible, so I think it must well be some kilos. It makes sense when you think about it: No more empty calories from beer and no more eating shit after drinking because I’m too lazy to cook.
  • Longer days: When I drank a beer after work, the day was basically over. I would go home, cook something, but never really had the feeling of being productive or doing anything other than lying around and clicking through Youtube or Netflix. Without alcohol, I find easier motivation to still do something in the evening, like writing this.
  • Less anxiety: In general, I feel a lot less anxious, both in my head and in social situations. I feel like I’m in control more. Here again, I have to point out that I’m also doing the Headspace course on anxiety, so I don’t know how much of this is due to lesser alcohol intake for sure.
  • Saved money: I read this in a lot of other articles and thought it wouldn’t be so impactful, but over the course of the past months I’d say I probably saved 30€ - 50€ per month. Not the world, but nice nonetheless.


For every decision in life, there are consequences, and not all of them are positive. The same goes for this one. Some of the disadvantages I have noticed include:

  • Most alcohol-free beers taste bad: I really like the taste of beer, in the last year I started getting into craft beer a lot, so alcohol-free beer is mostly a disappointment. Most of them are really sweet. I try to get my hands on a Clausthaler Extraherb, Becks rose or Jever Fun when I can. Also most alcohol-free white beers do taste decent.
  • You are always that guy: If you have social surroundings that are okay with having people around that do not drink like I have for broad parts, that’ll make things easier. But you will often have to explain why you do not drink. A lot of people did sober January in the beginning of the year, which helped a lot.

For me, all the advantages, by far, outweigh the disadvantages I found, so I’m pretty excited to see what will happen in the next few months. I’m not sure if this will be a regular check in, or if it will just happen every now and then, when there is enough to write about. But I like the idea of having this written down somewhere, if not only to remind myself that it’s worth to stick with it.

© 2024 Chris Jarling