Thousands of people are five days into a Dry January, the annual ritual of skipping all alcoholic drinks for 30 days. Many of us have a new year resolution and most think of eliminating the bad habits, in order to focus and have more time for the important things.
Have you ever thought of what happens if you manage to nail Dry January, then decide to keep going – for another year or two?
I recently met a Milan-based designer that did just that last year and inspired me to share his story.
He said that the first results he saw were the sleep quality. His sleep improved as he went to bed at a decent time. Who does not want to have a better quality rest?
Another thing that disappeared from his life was the gossip. As you may know or could imagine, the fashion world is full of gossip and temptations. He told me that he noticed the lack of social interaction quite early and this allowed him to have a better diet and more quality time for himself, which made him feel less stressed.
“Going out for drinks, comes in a form of stress-relief for those that want to believe this could help, but it doesn`t. Being with others and gossiping as a drunk person doesn`t actually relieve anything. It is an illusion and a lie we keep saying to ourselves. Last year I wanted to be a deeper and better person, so I asked myself: how can I do that? Right after that I got a phone-call and invitation to a bar. That night I attended and couldn`t drink. When looking at everyone around me being drunk, I realized that I didn`t want to deal with gossip as a sober person anymore. The fact that I was sober that night, helped me understand the picture of how I could`ve looked next to the other drunk people. This made me realize how I could be a better person that year.”
There were also some other clear, large wins for both his body and his wallet. He says that he saved over 800 Euros a month, which helped his business that year.
“I used to go out every Friday and Saturday night. Sometimes I`d even go for an aperitivo in the Piazza Duomo. Every time I`d go out, I`d spend about 40-60 euros.”
What is aperitivo, I asked him?
“It’s early evening, you just finished working and are on the way home from work. Perhaps you’re also a tiny bit hungry, or, at least, are at that point where you start planning what you’ll be eating for dinner. As you’re on your way home, you see a place on the way, or your regular spot, where you know you’ll bump into a friend or two for a drink along with some nibbles, nothing that will ruin your appetite for dinner. That’s the aperitivo. It`s the Spritz, Soda, prosecco / sparkling white wine and usually Campari or Aperol that make this aperitivo an unique drink. More than that, it`s the ritual of going out for a pre-dinner drink, as well as the sort of drink that you would probably have at such a ritual. None of these rituals come in cheap after a month though. ”
As I was truly inspired and happy to hear, I asked him: What other great changes have you noticed after giving this up?
He then also admitted that the drink always made him feel more stressed and anxious, causing him sleeping problems and many issues with his digestion. The sleeping problems also affected his social interactions and stopped him from focusing on his creations and job duties.
“As I sleep better, wake up with more energy and have more money in the bank, I can say that I am a better person. The thing about being a better person is not about being better than others. I never took it that way and it was never a competition for me. I simply wanted to do something strictly for MYSELF. “
My designer friend asked to remain anonymous.
Cool, Interesting Facts
The World Health Organization reported last year that drinking can increase your risk of depression and anxiety, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, suicide, violence, and accidental injury.
BBC noted that “alcohol is also linked to cancer of the mouth, nose, larynx, oesophagus, colon, liver, and breast cancer in women. Between 4% and 30% of cancer deaths worldwide could be attributed to alcohol use (for breast cancer, the most common, the figure was 8%). Importantly, even moderate drinking confers some increased risk: just one glass a day increases the risk of breast cancer by 4%, while heavy drinking can increase the risk by 40-50%.
BBC also notes that “heavy drinking weakens the immune system and is therefore linked with pneumonia and tuberculosis. It also encourages risky sexual behavior which increases the chance of acquiring sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. And drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the fetus, leading to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
As Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH) noted, “in total 3.3 million people die from it in a year, 62%of adults abstained from alcohol
in the past 12 months, there are more than 200 diseases and injuries that can be linked to alcohol consumption, including 30 that are caused only by alcohol.”
Take a moment to reflect: Can alcohol help improve your existence, contribute to a better world or even help you be a better person this year?