2,400 Days of Being Alcohol Free

I quit drinking alcohol 2,400 days ago. For a little perspective, that’s six years, six months, three weeks, and six days of not drinking. I quit for health reasons; chronic anxiety. When I stopped drinking, my daily anxiety and panic attacks vanished. For that reason alone, I would be surprised if I picked up a bottle again.

Distance from alcohol has provided a perspective that I’d like to share. Some of this you may agree with, and some of it you may not. These thoughts are not an attack on anyone’s lifestyle; they’re my honest opinions with a few facts thrown in at the end for good measure.

  1. Alcohol is a drug, and is rarely treated as such;
  2. Alcohol contributes to violent behavior in men;
  3. Alcohol destroys lives;
  4. Alcohol promotes behavior we regret later;
  5. Alcohol is a lot of fun.

Of course, not every man who drinks is violent, and not every woman who drinks has destroyed friendships. These do not apply to every person on the planet, but I see alcohol as a game of Russian roulette. The longer and harder someone drinks, the higher chance of lasting harm.

The solution is in treating alcohol as a drug; because it is a drug. We should be teaching our children the hard realities of the damage it has caused and continues to inflict on our lives; with the intension, they never pick up a bottle. That may seem extreme, but why? There isn’t one person reading this who doesn’t know an alcoholic, or two, or five, or someone who needs help, divorce, or someone who has died, driving, in his sleep, suicide, or worse. Teaching our children how to be responsible drinkers is not working, and will never work, because of the five points I mentioned above.

The excuse I hear all too often that alcohol is not the problem, that people are, is uninformed at best. Taken directly from the World Health Organization’s website, these are the “Key Facts” on alcohol’s global impact. As you read these below, pause and think about what each means. #4 and #7 are the two that shock me the most.

  1. Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from the harmful use of alcohol; this represents 5.3% of all deaths.
  2. The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.
  3. Overall, 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
  4. Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20–39 years, approximately 13.5% of the total deaths are alcohol-attributable.
  5. There is a causal relationship between the harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioral disorders, other noncommunicable conditions as well as injuries.
  6. The latest causal relationships have been established between harmful drinking and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as well as the course of HIV/AIDS.
  7. Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large.

With all of that said, I don’t see any signs of heightened awareness. I have no confidence that things will change in my lifetime or any lifetime in the future. If anything, I see alcohol’s hold on our global cultures becoming stronger.

It’s been 2,400 days of not drinking. I would never go back.