Ten Things I’ve Learned From Not Drinking Alcohol

Josh Bowman has learned a few things from taking a break from alcohol.

Originally appeared at Ten Things I’ve Learned

Note: I’m taking a hiatus from drinking alcohol. My previous hiatus was in university and lasted pretty much two years.

  1. Drinking is expensive, especially at bars. Having extra disposable income is a nice reward.
  2. Being sober when everybody around you is drunk at a party is like trying to make sense of a dream while in the dream. Why is that man standing on a table? Who are all those people, and why are they slurring?
  3. At its best, drinking alcohol can loosen you up and make you feel happy and silly! But then again, there are lots of times I just go home and feel so damn depressed. Then I wake up and I’m all like “what was I so sad for?”
  4. Alcoholism is, to some extent, hereditary Since my grandparents were alcoholics, alcohol has had a more menacing connotation for our family.
  5. I like to know I can control my body if I need to. I can shape it with exercise. I can push it to work harder. I can go without sleep. “I am in charge…body!”
  6. When you don’t do things, people like to push you to do things, or don’t understand why you don’t do those things. I also mentioned this in my post about not smoking weed.
  7. Alcohol is fundamentally built into so many social events. Wine and cheeses, networking events, going to a bar after work, first dates. It’s an active and unconventional choice to not drink when you are at an event like that (and you aren’t driving).
  8. Throwing up is really terrible so…I can’t say I’ll miss that.
  9. Being a social drinker is fine, but when you are socializing 4-5 nights a week, it can get excessive.
  10. When I don’t drink, I need some other kind of emotional release. I’m thinking….mixed martial arts?
Image courtesy of russelljsmith
About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh here.. If you want to know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.


  1. kathryn says:

    I find it funny that you say “I’m in charge…body”, that you can push it and force it to do stuff. I stopped drinking 3 years ago (best idea ever i was NOT a happy drunk lol) and one of the things I have learned is that if I listen to my body I will be better than if I push it and ignore the feelings.

    Also…interestingly, A lot of people I know who stop drinking got into exercise. For some people it becomes a replacement for all some of those brain chemicals their alcohol was giving them. Exercise addiction is just as destructive as alcohol addiction, both to your body and to those you love.

    I also find that if people do the *why aren’t you drinking thing* which they do a LOT (I like going out and dancing) I always say something like…you know that girl who cries in the toilets or goes missing and there is always drama when they are drunk…that’s me, most people understand then 🙂

  2. I thought I was the only one who didn’t turn into the happy drunk. I would get soooo depressed after drinking to intoxication when I was more of a drinker back in my days of escapism.

    Now a days I just tick of the drinkers around here. I do one fruity beverage during dinner maybe once every few weeks. People get mad when I do slam back the beers and then go to the house afterwards and drink to excess. I don’t like the taste and I don’t like the feeling I get.

  3. #7- that’s because people who have been drinking are easier to convince. It’s built into social events so people can get what they want from those in a compromised, “happy”, state of mind. It’s done to take advantage of people. “Business Dinners” depend on it. The one doing the convincing always drinks less and pays the tab. They stay in control. It’s strategic. If that wasn’t enough to stop people from drinking at these things, not really sure anything could be.
    #6- I’m not a “sober” person, I’m just a non-drinker. I’ll have one drink every other week or so. I just don’t like the taste that much. I’m a rarity I know, but we do exist. That being said I feel like my not drinking actually OFFENDS people. “If you’re not with us you’re against us” kind of thing. Dude. I just don’t like to drink ( or get high ). I’m not judging anyone. My friend, a consummate pot smoker described the feeling to me. I told them that I feel that way most of the time. We concluded that I must be on a natural high all the time and that’s why I don’t need to GET high. Sounds cool to me.
    #3- I’m pretty much happy and silly all the time. Except for when I’m depressed. don’t need alcohol for that either.
    #2- I find I like most people A LOT better when they’re slightly tipsy or buzzed. Not drunk or burnt, but slightly tipsy or buzzed. Why do so many people need chemical help to just let go and be open???

  4. Hey thanks Tom. 🙂

  5. Thomas Matlack says:

    A few more for you Josh:
    1) You don’t have to pretend you remember the woman’s name in bed with you when you really don’t
    2) Sober people don’t kill people behind the wheel because they can’t see the road
    3) You are much better at feeding your kids a bottle without the martini
    4) Puking on your boss is bad for your career
    5) Women prefer sober
    At least that’s what I’ve figure out 15 years away from a drink.

    • Ha. Some men don’t even pretend any more. Last one night stand I had, the man simply told me he couldn’t remember my name. 🙂 I found it amusing, fortunately. We had a good laugh over it.

      Here’s another:
      Even though sometimes we’ve run out of resources to cope, alcohol doesn’t really make life better (although it can make us comfortably numb in the moment).

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