How bad is bad? How bad do things have to get before you say, “I need to get a handle on this”? Well the answer to that is completely up to you. I know that there are tests and questionnaires that you can fill out to assist you in answering whether you have a drinking problem or not. But you don’t have to fill out a questionnaire to figure it out. If you’re worried about your drinking or your friends and family are worried about you, then you probably already have a problem.
You may not feel that alcohol is causing any problems for you, and it may not be. But I do know from my own experience that you don’t have to be complete drunk for alcohol to create problems for you in your life. I know that drinking consumes a lot of money and time.
Now let me point out that I’m not lecturing you or going to lecture you on the evils of alcohol. You can drink all you want to, it doesn’t matter to me. I just happen to know that there are costs involved with drinking, and many of those costs are hidden. Sometimes you pay the costs, sometimes other people pay the costs; like your spouse, your kids, your family or your friends. And even when someone else is paying the cost, you eventually end up with the bill.
You don’t have to be a raging alcoholic for booze to cause problems. You may not have family problems as a result of drinking. You may not have alcohol related health issues. You may be responsible at work. You may be careful and don’t drink and drive. You might be a very pleasant and well rounded person. But if you drink every day or even every other day, your little drinking habit may be eating your life away. There are hidden costs to drinking.
Let me expand on the hidden cost of time. As I tell you this, I ask that you think about whether this has happened to you. You might find yourself saying, “Ya, I’ve done that.”
It’s a normal Tuesday evening and you’ve got plans to get some chores done. You want to clean up the house a little, pay some bills, answer a couple of emails and maybe work on a hobby or project. But right after dinner you grab a beer or a glass of wine. No big deal. But it goes down pretty quick so you grab another one. You sit down to work on paying those bills, but suddenly you don’t feel like doing that now. You grab your phone and call a friend. As you’re chatting with your friend that second drink magically disappears so you grab another one and keep on chatting.
You get done chatting and you really don’t feel like paying bills, doing laundry or working on your hobby. So you grab another drink and plop down to watch TV. You have a couple more drinks and the next thing you know, your entire evening has been wasted away. None of what you wanted to do (or needed to do) has gotten done. (I’ve wasted away entire weekends by being distracted with drinking. And I haven’t even touched on time wasted away with a hangover.)
Does any of this sound familiar or ring true with you? You’re not a rotten person if something like this happened to you. You’re not a full blown drunken lush because drinking can distract you at times. But when you become distracted by drinking it then consumes your mind and your time. (And you’re also consuming your money—not just the booze.)
This unintentional distraction of drinking can become a self-feeding cycle. My past is proof. I would get depressed or bored, so I would drink. Once I started drinking I would get distracted and I wouldn’t get some of my responsibilities done (or some other project I wanted to get done). Suddenly some of these things that I haven’t gotten done would become overwhelming. Then I would get sadder or more depressed and drink some more (or again the next night). Before I knew it I’d been doing that for weeks, and then it became months, then it turned into years. Not much of any substance was ever getting done, other than drinking.
Now there’s nothing wrong with talking on the phone with friends. There’s nothing wrong with sitting and watching TV or watching a movie. But if that bottle of beer, glass of wine or after dinner cocktail was the catalyst to wasting time, then even casual boozing is eating your life away. When drinking distracts you from doing what you wanted to do or should have done, then drinking is a problem.
Again, you don’t have to be a raging alcoholic for booze to be a problem in your life. Don’t you think it’s horrible for someone to waste their life away just sitting and drinking? To literally piss away money and time that they’ll never have again.
“Don’t waste your time or time will waste you.”
You don’t have to become a manic work freak. You don’t have to become some super-human accomplishment nutcase.
This isn’t a contest of who can be more sober or who can get more done. But please don’t rob yourself of your own time. Don’t allow drinking to distract you. Don’t let drinking consume your time and get in the way of you doing all the other things you want to do with your life.
I ask that you think about what you would like out of your own life. I would like you to evaluate—for yourself—whether you spend more time in the act of drinking than you would like to. Evaluate for yourself if even casual drinking is creating a distraction from accomplishing what you would like. Is drinking getting in the way of living how you would like to live. You may not even realize that it is getting in the way. Maybe this blog article or podcast will get you thinking about how much time even casual drinking takes up. Maybe you never realized that drinking distracts you from doing all that you want to do.
This is your own life, don’t rob yourself of the limited amount of time you have. You must also take other people’s lives into consideration, especially if you’re raising a family. Kids, spouse, family and friends all require your time.
We all have the same 24 hours per day. In that sense, we are all created equal. If you want to drink away some of your limited time, then do so. But remember that you’re making an exchange. If you’re doing one thing, then that means you can’t be doing something else.
It seems to me that many of my life’s unwanted and unexpected problems weren’t real problems, they were usually brought on as a result of my drinking. Drinking distracted me from doing what I should have been doing. I’m more than 10 years sober and I’m still paying on some of those hidden costs I spoke of earlier.
For your own sake, please think about how valuable your time is and don’t let habitual or destructive drinking distract you from using your time to its fullest. “Don’t waste your time or time will waste you.”
These are my own opinions and observations. Think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my blog, podcasts and website. It’s LivingSoberSucks.com. You can find my books in paperback, eBook or if you prefer, you can get my Audiobooks. My books and audiobooks are available through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places. I put my blog, podcasts and website out for people to access FREE of charge. If you like what I do and what I write about, you can show your support by making a donation to my site, it’s done securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site I post a truthful report on my website of how much is donated and what all this costs me. Thank you for spending some of your very valuable time with me. Mark Tuschel.