To start this off, I should let readers know that I don't really have anything against drinking alcohol and I have never had issues with substance abuse. I understand that there are many individuals out there that suffer from substance abuse, and this surely is not an article to comment on their experiences.
Over the years I've been a casual drinker. I never really had a reason to drink other than to blend in during social settings. So I never really had urges for a drink and I never really acquired the taste of alcohol. I do have to admit in that the past I have had fun while drunk, as I have plenty of stories in the past that I'd rather not describe.
That was one of the great things about drinking. I'd have great stories that me and my friends could talk about. We bonded over these experiences and had good times. While inebriated, I would let loose and stories would come out that we'd never have thought we'd talk about. This was great, especially when I was young. Back then, I would be able to drink a ton and not feel it the very next day.
As the years went by something changed. I started to get sick after these drunken nights. I'd feel terrible, and depending how heavily I drank it might have taken more than a day to recover from a night of partying. So, drinking started to slow down. Of course there would be the odd occasion where I'd get plastered, but they become more rare as the years went by.
Drinking friends also started disappearing as I grew older. I guess a lot of my friends started to feel the same way I did about drinking. We became more responsible and realized that we can't live the same lifestyle we did when we were young.
Last year I noticed that I had been drinking much less than I used to drink. I also found that my life was starting to become more productive because I wouldn't lose a whole weekend due to one night of partying. Those extra hours in the day are truly valuable. You don't realize what you can accomplish in a few hours until you're given those extra hours. I've even noticed today there's a lot of activities geared toward early birds. I don't quite wake up that early, but there are a lot of things to do if you don't spend all night drinking.
There are still pressures to drink though. I see it advertised everywhere, and I've started noticing that there are some friends that don't really know how to start a get together without drinking. What is there really to do? There are a lot of people that need to drink to loosen themselves up before starting conversations. After all, didn't I just mention that some of us have been brought up like this? I can see how it can become a part of our ways of life to drink.
Overall, I would say that my life has become way more productive without drinking. Conversing with some people might be a little more awkward if they know you're not drinking, but if you keep the conversation going then it really won't be that much of an issue. I can still have a great time without drinking, it just takes a little more effort on my part in keeping conversations going with different topics that might come out of my head. I found that if I'm not participating in their drinking activities, I have to bring something else to the mix. Bringing yourself to the mix can be just as great and rewarding. People will still want you around as long as you have a great presence.