I mean… it is possible to give up alcohol at any age isn't it? Or never start drinking alcohol in the first place, but a lot of people for some reason want to give up drinking in their 40s. I can relate to this, I have been a heavy drinker (binge drinker) in my teens, 20s and 30s, and it's only now, that I'm in my 40s, that I've decided to give up drinking.
I don’t know, I kind of think that 3 decades of drinking is probably enough? How about you? It’s the same feeling every time you get drunk, there are no surprises with the effects alcohol can give me now. I mean all the effects that I'm used to by now such as falling over, feeling absolutely terrible the next day, getting in trouble with family and friends over stupid arguments. Yes, I'm used to all the effects of alcohol, and quite frankly, I'm getting pretty bored of them.
Here are a few of the reasons I wanted to give up drinking in my 40s.
1) I need to save more for retirement.
I've blown a lot of money in my 20s and 30s trying to have fun. I've lost count of the holidays I've been on over the years, I've spent so much money on travelling that it must be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The sad thing is, that I don’t remember a lot of it as I was drunk. I wasted so much money getting blind drunk when I was travelling when I could have been saving that money for even more travelling, or putting some money aside for when I wanted to retire.
Unfortunately, the drinking has got in the way of my saving, and it's now in my 40s, that I have to work harder than ever before to be able to have a comfortable life when I want to retire. I don’t have any kids, so this is one less cost that I don’t have to worry about, but I have friends who do.
My friends are both around the same age as me and are raising children who are not even 10 years old yet. A boy and a girl who need looking after, feeding and clothing, birthdays and Christmas presents and hopefully holidays abroad, or at least in the UK. The average cost of raising a child, based on what the public thinks is a minimum standard of living, according to Child Poverty Action Group is £180k. This price is up until the age of 18, and then maybe they will be able to support themselves or maybe not.
Having children is going to put quite a strain on your income, and your sanity. The final few years before they are 18 can be some of the most expensive, so I’d imagine that cutting back on a few nights out is going to help you financially.
2) Health reasons
I have not, as far as I know, done any permanent long term damage to my body through drinking alcohol. This is not the case when I am drinking though, I do damage my body when I'm using alcohol.
When I am drinking alcohol, my blood pressure is raised to a dangerous level, after just one-night drinking binge (which is more than 1 small glass of wine a night by the way) my blood pressure is raised the next day and I have hypertension. This in itself being bad, does nothing for my anxiety levels, knowing the damage that it's causing me.
It's not uncommon for somebody my age to get a stroke from hypertension, so it's something that I must stop to reduce this chance. Have you ever taken your blood pressure the night after drinking more than a couple of beers? You might be surprised if you haven't, and it's something that I would recommend you to do.
Of course, you can take blood pressure pills to reduce this and to continue drinking, it is a medical alternative, but doctors are not going to be very happy about prescribing them to you.
3) Sleep Improvements
As you get older, you become less able to sleep through the entire night. You may have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet due to some kind of prostate issue. It's pretty common to get worse quality sleep the older you get. When you are a baby, you need over 10 hours of sleep a day/night, this figure does become less and less the older you get. I want to get 7 hours of sleep a night, and if I'm drinking alcohol, I'm not going to achieve this.
The sleep I get when I used to drink was poor quality sleep. Often I was not able to sleep at all, and if I had work the next day, then it would be a battle to stay away during the day. Now that I'm not drinking alcohol at all, my sleep is much better and it's possible, even in my 40s to get a great nights sleep with no interruptions providing I don’t drink too many liquids before I go to bed.
4) Fitness Goals
This is also to do with number one, health reasons. But it goes much further than just staying healthy, I also want to stay fit. Since I stopped drinking, I've been able to shed 20KG (over 3 stone) of excess weight. It’s the first time in my life that I've actually been really happy with my body.
Now, it's not just the calories I've saved by giving up drinking that has helped me do this, it’s the motivation that comes with stopping drinking. Now I have no problem in dedicating time for the gym, or even just exercising at home. You will not believe the extra motivation you will get if you cut alcohol out of your life.
I could write a whole book on how to do this, and I am thinking about creating a video course on it actually, it's not that hard to do. The main point though is that to do it, the first thing you will have to do to make the process easier on yourself is to quit alcohol. You will not be able to get to the gym as much as you should if you are recovering all day long on the sofa eating pizza and feeling sorry for yourself.
My physic is now the best it's ever been in my life, and I find no problem controlling my calory intake. This is down to not drinking alcohol, as alcohol would weaken my willpower and cause me to not only eat some snacks after the pub but also overindulge the next day when I was feeling like I needed to make myself feel better because I had a hangover. What better way to make yourself feel better than a fry up? Introducing all this cholesterol into your body is not what you want when you are in your 40s. Now is the time that you need to be looking after yourself as it's only going to get harder later on in life.
I find that I have so much more productivity now after giving up drinking. In the past, I would find so many excuses to go out for some drinks or just buy some beers to drink at home. The problem was that my body would crave more and more each time I had a drink. It’s the same with any type of drug, from alcohol to sleeping pills, the more your body becomes accustomed to it, then the more it requires to reach the same level as before.
Now I am not having to feed my body with the drug we call alcohol, I have so much time available where I am clear-headed, that I can be creative with other things. For example, I created this website on my own just by studying a few videos on YouTube. There would be no way id have the patience to do this if I was still using alcohol as when a problem came up when I was hungover, id get fed up immediately if I could not work around the problem.
Now I can spend more time creating meaningful and profitable ideas rather than just wasting my time drinking or recovering from drinking. You will also have much more time available if you decide to stop drinking. That could be to build better relationships with your children, concentrate on your career, and don’t forget about all the money you could be saving if you didn’t drink alcohol each night, or even once a week.
6) Living abroad was more dangerous
I have lived in foreign countries for a lot of my life, I've done an 8-month solo around the world trip, lived in Australia for over a year, South America and also I've spent a lot of time in South East Asia, having just spent 19 months living in Hanoi, Vietnam. Now the trouble with living abroad in all these places is the drinking culture among other travellers. Everybody you meet will tend to drink more than they should do, and nobody cares that you are drinking too much either.
Many of the bars are open 24 hours, or if they are not, then you will be able to sniff someplace out which is. The convenience stores are open 24 hours in many of the places I stayed in, making it all too easy to stock up your fridge with beers if you can't find a bar open. It’s a very dangerous game if you are susceptible to drinking too much when you go out.
I've had countless times where I don’t remember getting home, seen friends injure themselves and even injured myself on nights out. I've seen friends not being able to walk home and they have just slept in bars, on sofas in Hanoi. It’s a sad state to get yourself into and I'm glad this is not going to happen to me again.
It's all too easy to get into an argument when you are drunk, and I've had occasions where I've got into fights over a stupid disagreement over something like a game of pool. It's not something that you would do when sober, so giving up drinking is going to stop things like this from happening to you.
There are so many negatives to drinking into your 40s, it is time to give up and concentrate on your family, career and future. Here are a few of the things you need to think about when you are still drinking into your 40s.
3) Improved sleep