I’m in this category also - now at my advanced age in my 50s . When I was younger I drank way too much, and wasn’t sustainable as I got older.
A number of friends of mine have given up alcohol, and haven’t looked back. I’ve thought about it, but do enjoy a post-ride beer, while camping, or while watching rugby (although with the current World Cup, there’s a lot of games to watch!). As long as I consume in moderation and keep things under control, the downsides are manageable.
Occasionally, however, I do over consume - and that can kill my motivation to do anything the following day. That’s the risk I find with continuing to drink - the occasional times when I drink too much. But as I get older, I find that happening less, so heading in the right direction. I’ll also sometimes have one regular beer, then switch to non-alcoholic. That seems to work pretty well.
It’s not an addiction, I can stop and start whenever I want and often do. I think what it is, is that I’ve become disappointed and unmotivated with training and work recently - ilness and boredom respectively. So now that I’m having a resurgent training period the resulting discipline in food for a little weight loss (which hasn’t worked yet either btw) and removal of alcohol feels like now that I’ve little left to enjoy.
Just my kids and and evening decaf Tea.
So it’s a combined state of mind. It also I have a big decision to make. With my form likely needing a year or to to reappear yet my son going for a National Qualification (Triathlon) on Saturday, everything involved to support him next year gets a bit tricky time wise, Bearing in mind our events will clash. So it’s likely I need to press the pause button on Racing for 12 months at least. .
While not exactly in the same situation, I get it. I was there. The alcohol isn’t the bridge to joy or relaxation. It’s dulling the boredom IMO. Adopting additional hobbies to occupy your mind will work. Some model, work on cars, draw, journal etc…
Beyond a hobby try NA/0.0% beers and/or some form of sugar when the urge hits. I’ve become somewhat dependent on Trader Joes lemon squares. I have a couple after dinner. Now I really crave those more than I craved alcohol! Crazy how the mind works.
Anyways, for the fact you are on here writing about it I suspect you will eventually free yourself of alcohol. As far as cycling performance and training goes IMO if you are a drinker being alcohol free is the single best thing you can do to improve performance.
Lastly, for me, stopping was a weird positive feedback loop. I was proud of myself in a similar way when you put in the work (at anything) and get a good result. Keeping track of time free of alcohol helped resist. Like a daily challenge.
For whatever it is worth, I am on a 26 year break from drinking. The hangovers were TERRIBLE and I decided to stop when I realized the only drink I could say no to was the first one. The key to stopping, at least for me, was to avoid situation where serious drinking was going on like bars. Once you realize how much better you feel, not having a drink is no problem and I have no issue hanging out in bars or other places where people are drinking with intent. While it might be nice to have a drink with dinner, I realized a long time ago that it just isn’t worth it.
This is great advice IMO. One of the big struggles with quitting/reducing any ‘bad’ habit is finding other good stuff to fill the void. Despite knowing that the cons outweigh the pros in a longer term sense, it’s still hard, because that thing likely fills a short-term purpose (dopamine hit, coping strategies, etc.) and our brains are comparatively bad at evaluating long-term consequences- and that’s worse when you’re dealing with other stressors since you’re in more of an ‘immediate’ frame of mind (survival mode might be hyperbole, but you get the idea.) I’ve found a combo of positive and negative reinforcement to be more helpful in that regard- most of us are pretty bad at setting time/space aside for the things that we genuinely enjoy, so I think that’s a good place to start.
Last Friday I went out to dinner with the family for some Viet Namese food in town at a trendy little restaurant. I had been planning on breaking my not drinking streak for a while but didn’t have the occasion until that night. I decided to get a flight of beers, 4 - 5 oz pours and I got a lager, pale ale, hazy, and a double ipa. I have to say, after not drinking for about 4 months I could really taste all of the flavors quite nciely. I enjoyed my Banh Mi sandwich and the flight. The beers were good, the double IPA was excellent. I had an ever so slight buzz after dinner. The next day however, I was groggy as can be with the lamest hangover that really sapped me until about 4 PM…almost a full 24 hours after having a flight.
I can’t believe it took that much out of me,
I’m sure I’ll have another drink or two at some point during the holidays…maybe this time a wine with dinner and I’ll be curious to see if I still have the same after affects. Other than that, I have a fridge full of NA’s for the week ahead.
On the flip side, I can’t believe how much less jaded I feel when I don’t drink, having just been through 4 weeks of off-season. I pigged out, drunk too much, had several days of no drinking, and several days of 1-2 evening drinks.
I discovered a marked difference between drink / no drink the night before with the level of tardiness reflected in the amount of consumption. This will be a surprise to absolutely no one ever. But guess what, I enjoy a drink and I’m not a robot so I’m falling back on my prior modus operandum; there shall be no drinking on a night prior to a training session, nor during a recovery evening (aka window, I tend to train around 6:30pm), nor within 2-3 days of the run up to an event. With my current training schedule this essentially leaves me a) Thursday when the whole family is out as my “downtime”/netflix evening with a couple of beers, and b) Sunday nights to have a glass of wine with Mrs K.
I’m not a pro and life is for enjoying all things in moderation and balance IMO, and the above is my preference.
39/M here and have been drinking since young teenager, with occasional binges, but gernally speaking nothing too concerning. That said, i did get to stage over pandemic where i was smashing whisky bottles over a few days and also this cal year i was hitting g&ts quite aggressively.
I am now 50 days sober which feels fine, but i am struggling with motivation to stay sober. I don’t really know why I’ve quit.
I enjoy drinking nice wine and strong spirit in moderation. I hate hangovers. My job means i need to be 100% on it in the morning, and i don’t like feeling fuzzy.
Alcohol is everywhere! On the podcasts i listen to, the books i read, the parties i’ve been to, the social gatherings… I feel like i’m missing out on something.
My wife and I have been doing “Dry January” for many years now. It started as we were both training for goal marathons in Feb and Mar. I was a bit younger and it was too easy for me to go overboard with drinking the night before a quality long run. In this case, my running was definitely affected by the amount that I drank the night before. I’ve transitioned to cycling over the years and still support my wife on Dry January. My drinking has decreased and I’ve become much more in tune/wise with the amount of alcohol that I drink the night before a ride. 3 IPA beers are the max for me when I’m doing anything of quality. And, if I have a race or some big group ride, I may have 1, 2 or none. I’ve gone back and forth with quitting alcohol. For me, it’s more of a social outlet, but I do understand that some don’t have the capability to hold back and every occasion is a party. These days, that hurts way too much (I’m 54). You’ll find your balance and, in time, that may mean zero alcohol or some alcohol.
I find it easier to say no to the first drink as it’s much harder to stop later in the evening . I also get the munchies after too much alcohol.
Making hard workouts very hard also helps keep things consistent while keeping the cork in the bottle.
I have a realistic view ( 56 years old and an average club rider at best) but for me the benefits of alcohol are out weighed by the negatives. Each to his own though as life is far too short to give up what you want to do🍻 (mines the no alcohol beer😉)
When I quit drinking I had a pretty good understanding of why am I doing this, and I didn’t really need any outside help with that, like AA or books or interventions. That being said, take my advice (just like any other one) with a grain of salt. YMMV. However, I did read the famous “The Easy Way to Stop Drinking” by Allen Carr. It’s not what made me quit, but it certainly did make a small contribution to my goal. Why am I mentioning it? Well, mostly because of what you said here:
The book doesn’t have an answer to that, but I believe it can be a great help in finding one by yourself, through asking some right questions.
And since I began recommending books to other people anyways… There’s one more on the topic of this thread that I really enjoyed reading: “The Sober Diaries” by Clare Pooley. She’s hilarious, and the book is more of an inspirational one. Hope you’ll enjoy it
Having stopped drinking along with relapses (currently 3 months sober) over the years, I find that looking at the science behind alcoholism and alcohol’s effects on the body is incredibly useful. I am best motivated by non-judgmentally delivered information. A good example is this video
The sponsored content is annoying but the info is great.
In my case due to many factors including a family history of alcoholism I either am a heavy drinker or sober. For me there is no middle ground. So I choose sobriety. Cycling daily is probably my biggest aid in not drinking.
My wife is able to drink in moderation (like 1-3 drinks per week) and I am not. And that is okay. For now I have no plans to drink. If I do relapse I am not a failure…just need to start over.
Yeah I do a few weeks off entirely every now and again (I’ve been working in Kuwait a few weeks this year which is a dry country, so that helps ), and I am never really sure why I have bothered (except when drinking is literally illegal). I think my background is basically the same as yours, drinking since teenager, obviously sometimes to excess, but never had any real issues. I think the main reason I do it is that there’s a bit of a history on my dad’s side of the family and I like to occasionally check…
Regarding beers and work - I just don’t drink much during the week as a rule. Obviously there’s the odd exception. Even at the weekends I obviously do drink too much from time to time but if left to my own devices I might have 3 beers. Midweek I drink quite a bit of NA beer.
I also really enjoy good wine and good food, I can’t really imagine going for a nice meal without it being accompanied by a nice glass of wine. One of the things I find in Kuwait is the food is incredible in the restaurants at the hotel I get put in but that kind of high quality food is really complimented by a nice glass of wine… And I don’t think that’s just me.
I did London-Edinburgh-London last year and cut down quite a lot in the run up, but I never really felt that 2-3 beers on a Friday was hurting my training on a Saturday.
I have a similar feeling towards it and this video helped me too because it makes a strong case that it’s bad for you in, as you said, a nonjudgmental way. Just a really good case for drinking less or not at all. However….as an endorser of athletic greens I don’t trust his judgement completely. Along with Peter attia and Tim Ferris.
I figured it was Huberman before clicking the link. I watched this video a day after making a terrible decision to drive home one evening, luckily I made it… I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since. The timing was impeccable, I needed to hear this at that very moment. I’ve totally turned my life around since.