In 2019 I went from 195 pounds after my surgery to 155 pounds. I decided I wanted to eat less and move more, and I did. But something else happened too.

I almost entirely stopped drinking. I had been in the habit of enjoying a drink at night, even when my partners weren’t enjoying a drink. Rarely ever would I have two drinks by myself, but with friends, I’d likely have two, or maybe even three.

I stopped mostly due to diet, to avoid excess calories. At first, I started drinking low calorie hard seltzers, but soon the taste bothered me. Then I switched to having bourbon neat, but the strength of the alcohol paired with my lower body fat percentage made waking up after much more unpleasant. Then I just kinda stopped.

I’ll have a glass of wine at a special occasion–like New Year’s Eve, or a beer with my brothers, but I lost the desire to actually drink. I believe I’ve replaced the pathways that drinking used to trigger in my mind with a different dopamine pathway: one that wants sobriety for the benefits I now feel.

In addition to the physical benefits of less calories and overall better feeling in the mornings, my mind is also sharper. I used to enjoy a drink to relax, and I’d slow my mind. Now, I slow my mind with reading. I slow my body with daily exercise, and possibly most importantly, I don’t feel distracted by the desire to drink.

I’m not sure how to be social as a non-drinker. The world of hanging out in this town is pretty beer-heavy. Meeting new people is hard, but bars make it a little easier. Where shall I ask someone to meet up with me? The slightly disappointment teahouse in town? At a restaurant where cost is greater? I don’t know exactly, but I’m sure I can find new options.

I think the larger change is that I’m no longer acting like a carpenter; who I was the last couple years. Now, I’m acting like an athlete. I’m acting like an author, albeit a sober one. Case in point: I’m actually blogging right now.

Who we were, who we are, and who we will be is certainly determined by the lives we live, but choices make a difference. This all started because I wanted to lose some weight, to be healthier. Now healthier, I am. What’s next? I become a more highly-productive writer? Sounds good to me.