Alright, let’s get this out of the way… I love whiskey! It’s actually pretty funny because 10 years ago I would have said the exact opposite.
I remember sitting in my college dorm room and “pre-gaming” with a $15 bottle of the cheapest, most disgusting whiskey you can imagine with a splash of Coke to ease the horrible taste. Back then, it was all about “how do I get myself from 0 to 100 as fast as possible”.
I wasn’t a crazy frat boy or jock who was a loud and obnoxious drunk. Even though I was a college athlete, I despised those kids. No, I was painfully shy and the whiskey made me more outgoing and helped me tolerate those kids at parties.
There is definitely something to be said about mental illness and drinking habits. For the “socially awkward, anxious, quiet, and introverted” kids… its an escape to a more fun and relaxed you. But, that’s a longer post for a different time… but, there is a reason I bring this up and I will explain later.
Fast forward a couple years to my mid-late twenties. One of my college friends comes into town and we decide to go out “like old times”. Except, this time we go to a hole-in-the-wall Irish bar and drink Jameson on the rocks all night. It was a blast!
Now, I am by no means saying Jameson is a high-end whiskey but its better than the 1.75L I was drinking in college. And, there is just something about drinking whiskey neat or on the rocks that makes you feel like a grown-up. It makes you feel distinguished, tough, and strong… I just loved the feeling. Thus began my whiskey obsession.
Since then, it’s been buying a new bottle to try each week, going to distilleries, and having a couple low-balls before bed most nights. It was just a nice way to relax after a day of work and took the stress off.
Let me be clear, I am not an alcoholic. I was completely in control the whole time and never felt like I “needed” a drink, I simply wanted one… so I did many nights.
About 6 months ago I started to develop a pain in my abdomen. It was consistent and, even though it wasn’t super painful, it was scary. I went to the doctor and most test they ran came back normal but some of my liver tests were a little high.
Well, I figured I was fine and went back to my old ways. Not exercising, a glass or two of whiskey most nights, and not dealing with the stress in my life.
Then the panic attacks started. I have been a very anxious person my whole life to the point of needing to be on medication. I went off the meds a couple years ago thinking I could deal with it myself. Even though I have always been anxious, I have never had a panic attack before.
I was 30 lbs overweight, not exercising, drinking many nights out of the week and add in the fact I had this new pain in my abdomen which I thought was cancer. It boiled down to experiencing multiple panic attacks, chest pain, and many hospital trips trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
Finally, last month I had enough. I was sick of feeling like I was going to die at age 32 and needed to make changes. Especially since my wife and I found out we were pregnant after over a year of trying. I knew that if I was going to be a good father and better husband, I needed to feel better both mentally and physically.
Since my wife couldn’t drink, I thought “Well, I won’t either”. I didn’t put a time limit on it or anything. Literally, a 10-second decision, not expecting it to last more than a couple days.
I also decided I would eat better and exercise every day. Again, no real thought of how to eat better or what I would do for exercise.
I am telling you this because this doesn’t need to be super thought out. Just do it and stick to it! you don’t need to buy fancy gym equipment or a membership… run outside if you want. You don’t need to go on some crazy diet, just eat more vegetables, get nutrition supplements or shakes, and stop easting like shit. It’s not rocket science folks, its pure will-power, and determination.
So, as I write this post, its been a month with no alcohol, exercising every day, and eating better. I have dropped between 7-10lbs and feel the energy just oozing out of me. Honestly, this is the best I have felt in a long, long time.
Do I miss whiskey? Hell yes! Will this sobriety last forever? Hell no! But, what this experiment has done is shown me how great I can feel my taking better care of myself. When I go back to sipping a nice bourbon, I know that it has to be moderated better. No more drinking 5 nights a week.
The exercise and eating well can (and hopefully will) last forever. It truly is amazing what these things can do to your energy level and how you feel in general. I am SO much more relaxed and happy then I was a month ago and that’s with finding out we have a baby on the way!
Overall, I just want to continue feeling the way I feel now. It’s amazing what losing a little weight and gaining energy can do to your well-being. It makes you want to continue down the right path because you see and feel it working without any doctors or medication.
Unlike some people, I am not saying you have to give up drinking. Life is short and if you enjoy a nice bourbon, scotch, wine, or beer… cheers mate! But, what I will say, is that if drinking is contributing to the decline of your overall physical and mental health, maybe consider making some changes and see how good you can really feel.
That is what is motivating me. I want to see how good I can feel by continuing to improve my health. Also, I know how bad I can feel if I let myself make poor health decisions and that’s equally as motivating to never feel that way again.
It’s truly amazing how different you can feel in just one month. Again, I am not giving up drinking and will be back for more whiskey reviews soon. But, they most definitely won’t be coming as often anymore!