21 good reasons to live alcohol free

  1. Drinking makes us feel bad. Many drink to feel good, but it actually makes us feel bad. It can also contribute to increased anxiety, depression and many forms of illnesses. We’re all heard of the saying ‘the fear’ – that Sunday feeling of increased anxiety and lowered self-esteem. Why are we are paying good money to feel bad?
  2. Alcoholic drinks contain fat, sugar and alcohol, none of which will give us the body of our dreams!
  3. Alcohol has ZERO health benefits. Any claimed health benefit comes from other ingredients in the wine or beer it is mixed with.
  4. Drinking won’t work. Most of us drink to relax or socialise, or both. We drink to feel better, but alcohol is a depressant so it can’t relax you or make you feel any better. It will briefly slow down your thinking but not truly relax you. Once the alcohol wears off the stress returns, often stronger than before. Relying on alcohol to relax can create a dependency. There are many other ways to relax and unwind without any downsides. Find what works better for you and go do that.
  5. Alcohol is an addictive depressant drug, it just doesn’t say it on the tin. This is why there is rarely such thing as ‘just the one’. Any one of us can become addicted, dependent or reliant on alcohol at any stage in our lives to a greater or lesser degree. Habits can vary from monthly to weekly to daily. Addiction is not being able to live without something, it’s that feeling of being enslaved. Everyone can break free of the shackles of addiction with the right support and care.
  6. Alcohol can increase your risk of cancer. Alcohol can cause up to 7 types of cancer, especially in parts of the body that come into contact with alcohol like the mouth, throat, oesophagus and liver. 3 Deaths a Day in Ireland and 88 deaths every month are caused by alcohol related illnesses. 1,500 Irish hospital beds are taken up every day from people with alcohol related problems. The Trollied on Trollies. (It’s another days work attempting to figure out why so many Irish people struggle so deeply with alcohol, why so many people need to self-medicate with this drug…)
  7. We don’t need to drink. Children don’t drink alcohol so why should we. None of us were born with an alcohol deficiency. It is a dysfunctional learned habit.
  8. Non-alcoholic wine or beer anyone?… I think not. Most of alcohol tastes like shit. Alcopops were invented by drinks companies to get young people drinking earlier because they needed to make the taste more palatable.
  9. Alcohol dehydrates you, causing you to want to drink more, you’d be better off licking a rasher.
  10. Dutch courage requires no courage. It’s fake news in real time. Hi, nice to not meet the real you.
  11. Drinking is not socialising, it’s drinking with other drinkers. Binge drinking can often lead to anti-social behaviour, abuse, violence, crime, blackouts, falling into dangerous situations as well as increasing the risk of self-harm and suicide. Among men aged 40 years and older who had died by suicide, the majority (76.5%) had a history of alcohol abuse. Alcohol is associated with increasing self-harm and suicide among both men and women.
  12. Socialising without alcohol is possible. Dating, pubs, nightclubs and gigs are all possible without alcohol and you get to be there and remember it all. If it’s not good without alcohol then it’s probably not very good in the first place.
  13. Drinking does not make you an adult though it is often perceived as a rite of passage and a step towards adulthood. Drinking can stunt your psychological growth and keep you a child for far longer than you imagined.
  14. Alcohol increases stress. You can plaster up stress by getting … well… plastered up. But it’s not a long terms solution. Drinking can increase stress and reduce our ability to manage stress naturally and effectively.
  15. False advertising. Linking alcohol to sport and music attaches drinking to our culture and identity and normalises the madness of getting drunk. While we get drunk and sick, the drinks companies get rich. Avert your eyes to the tidal waves of alcohol advertising that is literally everywhere in this country for all eyes (young and old) to soak in and normalise. When you really think about the amount of alcohol advertising everywhere we look (billboards all over Ireland, TV, magazines, newspapers, online, on street advertising etc.), it boggles the mind. How have we normalised this?
  16. Drinking is win-lose. Alcohol induces a euphoria but also a depression after the euphoria inevitably wears off… it’s win-lose in a feel good feel bad kind of deal. Once you step off the rollercoaster your innate natural sense of well-being will return.
  17. Drinking is not a solution to your problems. It won’t help get you where you want to go. It tends not to solve problems just numb us from them and prolong the time we need to face our issues and deal with whatever we need to deal with.
  18. Drinking can mess with your relationships. No drink – no drama.
  19. Non-drinkers are happier, healthier and wealthier.
  20. Getting drunk in front of your children is not setting a good example. You also become more absent in their presence once you have had even 2-3 drinks and they know it. You are also not yourself the next day if you’ve drank ‘one too many’ and they know that too. They observe your behaviour week in week out and then can end up repeating these patterns unconsciously in their own lives, continuing the cycle. You have the power to break this cycle and create a new story for your family.
  21. Drinking is expensive – A new Eurostat report shows that alcohol in Ireland costs 75% over the EU average, making it the most expensive in the EU. Think about what you could do with all that extra cash in your pocket. Holiday to The Maldives anyone?

Try giving up booze even just for one month, see does it make any positive difference in your life. Are there other ways you can spend your relaxation time? Any other hobbies you’d love to get into? Get creative, create new habits and see how your life transforms. You won’t regret it.

If you have a real issue with giving alcohol up for just one month, perhaps explore that a little deeper and consider getting some help around it. There is obviously a big difference between someone who is addicted to alcohol and someone who is a regular drinker and is okay to stop for a while. If you feel you might have a problem, please do reach out for the help you deserve.

Check out Andy Ramage’s (from One Year No Beer) article Why taking a break from alcohol will be the best decision you ever made.

Help information

If you need help please talk to friends, family, a GP, therapist or one of the free confidential helpline services. For a full list of national mental health services see yourmentalhealth.ie.

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Pieta House National Suicide Helpline 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement) or text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)

If living in Ireland you can find accredited therapists in your area here:

John McKiernan
John McKiernan
A writer living in Wicklow. He, like most, began drinking at an early age. It took until his thirties before he realised he didn’t want to drink any more. After 15 years of drinking John took the road less travelled and said goodbye to the port and brandy as it were. It was the single best decision he ever made. John would love to help others find freedom. John is currently working on his first book ‘Feck Drink - An Irishman’s Guide to Alcohol’.