Life is full of defining moments that lead us on new paths. For me, such a moment emerged amidst chronic health challenges and sociable times over drinks.
For some time, I grappled with persistent health issues until I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a condition that threw my heart rhythm out of sync. This health setback served as a prompt for me to reassess my lifestyle habits.
One evening on March 10, 2020, found me at the Crystal City Jaleo, marking my 50th birthday with my friend Zan over a glass of Sangria. It wasn’t a moment of deep enlightenment as much as it was a simple resolution – I needed to stop consuming alcohol. I committed to this resolution the very next day, and since then, I haven’t indulged in alcoholic beverages.
To be fully transparent, there were a few exceptions during the holidays and at a friend’s birthday when I sampled a beer, a wine, and a tequila. These instances were more of a test for my determination, stress levels, and health conditions – notably, no AFib! Yet, it didn’t lead me down a slippery slope. However, it’s essential to note that I am not an addict, so individual circumstances and reactions may vary.
Contrary to what one might expect, giving up alcohol was less challenging than I thought. During this transition, I understood that my issue wasn’t addiction but a tendency to overconsume. I found pleasure in the act of drinking. Thus, I decided to address this behavior directly.
My initial strategy was a straightforward substitution – I started drinking water or water mixed with hydration salts in place of alcohol. The volume of my fluid intake remained unchanged, but the substance had changed to something healthier, benefitting my body instead of harming it.
My decision to quit alcohol was heavily influenced by my family history. Having grown up in a family where one parent was an alcoholic and the other a heavy drinker, I was well aware of the long-term consequences of alcohol abuse and wished to avoid the same fate.
This decision necessitated a significant shift in my lifestyle as well. I used to frequent bars during my evenings, but I changed that routine. Instead, I began turning in early, leading me to become an early riser. This new routine felt unusual at first, but it quickly became a refreshing change.
In retrospect, I am grateful for making that life-altering decision when I did. The looming threat of chronic diseases, compounded with a predisposition towards alcohol, represented a considerable risk. That seemingly simple decision to quit alcohol one evening at Jaleo may very well have been a life-saving one.
Since that day, my journey has been one of exploration and learning – finding joy in non-alcoholic beverages, embracing new routines, and actively working towards better health. I won’t claim it’s been an easy journey, but it’s certainly been a rewarding one, with each step teaching me something new about myself and the importance of a balanced lifestyle.
Each morning, as I wake up early, refreshed, I’m reminded of that pivotal decision I made. And each day, I’m grateful. My story may not be marked by dramatic twists and turns, but by a series of small, consistent changes. These changes, however, have profoundly impacted my life, and I hope my journey can encourage others to rethink their choices and adopt healthier habits.