One Year of Sobriety

Although I never had a drinking problem, last November I decided to give up alcohol for a year. (I was tired of being normal.) I went several months without a single drink, and never drank more than 3 beers over a “night out” period. I didn’t so much as catch a buzz for over 12 months. Here are my observations.

Friend of Bill

1. Most people who drink have a drinking problem.

When I drank, my usual pattern was the 3 drink cruise. I could catch a buzz off of three standard Bombay Sapphire and Tonics, so I’d drink two, then switch to water, then have my third. This would give me a nice buzz that was sustainable through the entire night.

No longer with a buzz, my senses remained acute. I would watch otherwise sane, rational people become shit-faced. They would stumble, fall around, and go through various emotional extremes.

Near closing time, people become zombies. My general practice was always to leave the bar before last call. Rarely does anything good happen once a bar closes. Seeing how drunk people behave reminded me to never second-guess my practice to leave before the drunken inmates are released from the insane asylum.

1a. Drinking is a form of self-medication.

If you binge drink to the point of intoxication, you do have a mental illness or condition of some sort. I say that not as a sanctimonious teetotaler. I’ve been drunk plenty and there’s nothing to say I won’t catch a nice buzz very soon.

If you doubt me, try this: Go out and do not drink. Watch people who do drink. Then tell me that those people don’t have a drinking problem.

When you drink, you are those people.

My theory is that drinkers are dominated by a super ego. They drink to shut off the noise that authority figures have ringing in their ears.

A better solution is to reject the slave morality you live under. I’ve enjoyed alcohol but never needed it because I live under my own code. I am my own super ego.

Society and my parents and teachers and the other idiots who tried implanting their voices in my head are all dead.

Kill your family and the voices will stop and so too will your need to drink alcohol.

2. People think we’re in high school with all of this peer pressure bullshit.

I am closer in age to 40 than 30.  I’m old enough (or should be old enough) to just say, “Nah, I don’t drink.”

But man, it ain’t like that at all. People get a look of anxiety on their faces. “Why aren’t you drinking?”

These aren’t mean-spirited people. They would seem genuinely concerned. It was really weird. Why care if I’m drinking? It made no sense to me.

It’s hard for people to understand that I sometimes do things just as part of the journey of life. (I’ll someday write about my decision to leave the comfort of my home office in order to commute for 1 hour each way for a year, all in an effort to better understand the human condition.)

As a joke, I said  I was on anabolic steroids and needed all of my liver’s efforts to go towards clearing the steroids from my system. That seemed to work really well and I stuck with it.

3. Girls cannot handle liquor.

I think every girl should be given a punch card before she goes out. This card could only be punched three times. After three drinks, nothing a woman does is going to be good.

The things I’ve seen girls do while drinking astounded me. One girl literally fell on her face right in front of me. I got nervous, wondering if she’d try to say I tripped her or tried throwing her on the ground to rape her. (There were witnesses to her nonsense, fortunately, but what a risk dealing with drunk American women can pose.)

I’ve seen girls sitting on the curb crying. Just sitting there. Crying. I’ve seen girls fall down in the middle of a bar, scream for no reason, start shoulder checking  people, and generally just act like savages.

4. Talking to women while sober is hard.

It’s not hard for the reason it used to be hard. I don’t feel anxious. I just feel really bored. The average American woman really doesn’t have anything interesting going on her life worth talking about.

The American woman seems to lack any emotional depth. “I love my job,” she might say. If you probe deeper, asking her what she likes about her job and what her hopes and dreams are, you’re going to get one or two sentence answers. “I don’t know, it’s just fun.”

5. If you get drunk, you’re treading water.

Back when I partied hard, there was one simple rule to follow: “Get drunk, do what you want on Friday, but you cannot be a pussy on Saturday.”

That meant I would go to the gym no matter how hung over I was. There were days when I’d sit in the steam room with a  wet towel on myself trying to detox.

Your workouts are never going to be as productive as they would have been if you had remained sober.

If you get drunk every weekend, you’re failing to optimize 48 workouts per year. Not drinking means you get those workouts back. Think of the progress you can make with 48 additional workouts a year.

6. Alcohol makes pick-up easier.

There’s a reason people have been imbuing for thousands of years. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and also leads to a greater sense of connectedness with others. Alcohol is a big boost for an introvert’s game.

Whoever says pick-up isn’t a crutch should go out stone cold sober. Seduce a girl when you’re not drinking. Seduce a girl when she’s not drinking.

When is the last time you remained stone cold sober, the girl remained sober, and you still closed on the first (or even third) date?

7. Drinking is expensive. told me that I spent $800 less during my first month of sobriety. Although I didn’t drink hard, alcohol costs add up quickly. In Los Angeles, a bar tab of $100 is easy to ring up. A bar tab here, some post-bar food there, and suddenly you’re talking about real money. I saved and made more money by not drinking.

8. I’m not anti-alcohol.

Although there are many problems with drinking, I’m certainly not opposed to it. .

I do believe that we do not treat alcohol as the serious drug that it is. Alcohol is like anabolic steroids. These are serious substances and you shouldn’t just blindly put them into your body.

What’s your take?

  • Do you drink? If so, why?
  • When is the last time you met a girl for the first time, remained completely sober, and still seduced her?
  • What would happen to your game if you eliminated alcohol?
  • Glyn

    Great post and very poignant for me to read because I haven’t drunk alcohol for over a year. This after a lifetime of habitual drinking, I mean I drank a glass of wine every night because I felt I deserved it and more at the weekend. I had frequent hangovers, regular random headaches and my body was soft around my torso even though I trained often. I had a random liver function test as part of a health check and was shocked to see that the levels were elevated! WTF! so I did something about it. Now I feel leaner (13% BF), fitter, healthier and more clear headed than I can remember and this way of feeling has become precious and delightful. Drunk people make me sick

  • tRr

    I have found that day game has taught me that I do not need alcohol to approach women.

    After a couple months of going out during the day, you’ll feel much more comfortable staying sober at night.

  • Fearless

    I do drink, at most 3 drinks once a week, mostly on Friday nights. I travel alot for my job and never end up in the same town more than once, so I have to go out alone to new places frequently. A few drinks helps me switch over from work mode and acclimate myself to wherever I’m at.
    All of my ONS have involved alcohol, post age 21. It’s strange, it seemed effortless to pull without drinking when you couldn’t, but as soon as I hit 21 I felt that alcohol had to be involved and caused my daygame to slide off until a few yrs ago.
    If I cut out drinking I would have to maintain a positive mental state through the day since alcohol will not help switch over anymore. Shots, toasts, and some buzzed karaoke are staples in my toolbox, nothing non-alcoholic beverages can’t fix besides the buzz.

  • Bob Wallace

    Nearly every person I’ve met with a drinking problem said the same thing: “I can stop drinking anytime I want…I just don’t want to stop.”

  • L. Roy Aiken

    I learned this 20 years ago with a buddy of mine I used to work out with. He proposed going clubbing one night, with the catch being that we would declare ourselves designated drivers and drink tonic water with lime so no questions were asked. (There is a genuine, barely concealed terror in the question, “You’re not drinking?” as if you might [*gasp*] be judging them. That should be anyone’s first red flag.) It was like a trip to the strangest, saddest little zoo I have ever seen. Although I had been to these places many, many times in the past it was like seeing them for the first time..

    I strongly recommend doing what we did as a social experiment for anyone. I’m by no means a teetotaling prig either (sucks how we have to run that disclaimer every time, eh?) but it is, to say the least, sobering. Keep in mind this line from the post as you watch the little animals at play, too: When you drink you ARE these people.” For those who would like a good example of the benefits of dialing back on the sauce, I recommend Googling a recent image of Henry Rollins. He looks like he does at age 52 because of the straight-edge lifestyle. I’m the same age, and I look ten years older.. Again, I’m not saying “don’t drink, ever!” But do try going out at least once at watching while sober. Hell, you might just switch to day game and avoid the sloppy night bunnies altogether. For my part, I did swear off the bar sluts after that one night. Once you see them as they really are, without the beer goggles….your mileage may vary, of course. But try it at least once.

  • Wallstreetplayboys

    Great post.

    Decreasing alcohol consumption is key. The one caveat here is going on dates, if you don’t drink the girl will usually assume you’re boring which turns the pussy into sandpaper.

    A decent balance in my opinion is this:
    1. Day game approaches
    2. Only drinking on a day game date
    3. Only drink on Saturday 2-3 drinks (jog on Sundays as it is a rest day from lifting, chick usually lingers till noon anyway)
    4. Lift 6 days a week

    Getting hammered is great for a 1-3 times a year type deal.

    No one needs alcohol, if you do it means you have zero day game skills.

  • Dylen Durret (@sicklove)

    Nobody likes a quitter

  • XDays

    Great post.

    For legal purposes, under 21, I don’t drink. The amount of stares and questions that I get for not drinking is incredible.

    If you don’t drink it’s also interesting to realize how lame drinking culture really is. The average man spends his bar time retelling stories about previous drinking outings. It’s like listening to someone take inventory on what alcohols they’ve consumed over the past month.

    Also, I think that going out sober is a great wake up call as to how most women actually behave. You’ll see all kinds of disgusting sights: girls pissing in alleys and women staggering around and spilling on themselves; it’s eye opening.

    Not to jump on the “foreign women are infinity better” bandwagon, but the only girls (outside of my social circle) I’ve ever seduced who hadn’t been drinking were all non-Westerners.

  • Ryan

    I just wanted to comment on one major thing that you said in this article.

    “”My theory is that drinkers are dominated by a super ego. They drink to shut off the noise that authority figures have ringing in their ears.”

    I think this was 100% true for me. My friends and I have always drank a lot on the weekend but the only time things got bad for me and I wanted to drink during the week was because I was completely miserable at my job.

    Now i’ve been working for myself and traveling for the past 6 months and i’m much happier. I also have cut way down on drinking and have gone several weeks at a time without a single drink and when I do drink it’s not to get blackout drunk.

    I know I felt miserable because I felt like a servant to a boss that I didn’t like. The big thing for me going forward is that no matter what I can’t let any person have that sort of control over me.

  • Seven Dials

    Great post and so darn true. I’m twenty years sober, or since 05:45 this morning, depending on how you look at it. Everything you described happened to me in my first year. It took a while before I got really comfortable just saying “I don’t drink” in matter-of-fact-it’s-no-big-deal manner, and people say things like “Good for you”. Most Brits know they drink too much. And as for cost? Eating out is half the price when you’re not ordering the starter at the bar and the bottle of wine and a whiskey afterwards. As for talking to (new) women, it’s always hard, you just don’t notice the hard so much when you’re drunk. And getting laid? Yes, it can be done. Just not often. Girls need the excuse of a couple of drinks. As for “Kill your family and the voices will stop and so too will your need to drink alcohol”? Word.

  • Dagonet

    I also realized long ago that alcohol is a crutch people use, and at least for me, it’s an inhibitor of my skills and enjoyment. Remaining alert and in control of your faculties– particularly if you’re out at night trying to tactfully pick up girls– is much more valuable than any “liquid courage” you might gain from getting sloshed.

  • Rob

    Nice write up. Sober for you and sober for Bill W…two entirely different things. Which I’d say is a good thing for the both of you!

  • Victor Pride

    Hey guy, interesting article. I’ve also been “sober” for about a year. I gave up alcohol when I started taking bodybuilding seriously, which I would guess is a similar reason for you. The last time I got drunk I got so angry over a tiny, non issue that I realized “this is a bad idea”, and in my advancing age my hangovers became day long affairs. Just not worth it whatsoever. I’ve had a few beers in the past year but never been drunk and when I have a beer or two I have to have a nap afterwards. I never go to bars or clubs, waste of time if you aren’t drinking. Drunk people act like animals, not my preferred company.

  • Badger

    Bravo, D&P. I think people would do very well to institute “dry-out periods” and get a new perspective. I think people will find their minds are so much clearer and you’ll sleep better which helps with everything. Most people I see who have more than two drinks in a night are on their way to incoherence, emotionality and non-agency, and if you’re sober alongside them, they’re not much fun.

    Related: I have a theory that the semi-illicit nature of college drinking culture all but requires students to consume widely-available, cheap, crappy alcohol, and so further enhances the frame of drinking to get sloshed instead of consuming quality beverage products for their taste. Here in America too many people regard Bud Light and well tequila as regular booze choices.

  • Badger

    I dated a divorced Mormon woman who told me she had never had alcohol. I have to admit to a hiccup of the “am I being judged” feeling. However she didn’t have any problem with me sipping a tasty cocktail on our first date, nor with me kissing her right after. Go figure.

  • Badger

    Don’t mean to spam the thread but I just came across this very apropos quote from GNR founding guitarist Izzy Stradlin, whose path to sobriety eventually led to his leaving the group:

    “Once I quit drugs, I couldn’t help looking around and asking myself, ‘Is this all there is?’ I was just tired of it; I needed to get out…I didn’t like the complications that became such a part of daily life in Guns N’ Roses…When you’re fucked up, you’re more likely to put up with things you wouldn’t normally put up with.”

  • reaper23

    WSP: you’re wrong about your assertion that if you don’t drink a girl will think you are boring and the pussy will dry up. You’re boring if you’re boring.

    I haven’t had a drink in almost five years.

    I’ve seduced countless women stone cold sober.

    In fact, my entire time in the game has been sober, as I started right about when I quit drinking.

    I have literally been on scores and scores of dates without drinking, countless nights at bars, clubs, whatever…no booze. and i’ve killed as much high quality pussy as any true player.

  • Cuntoholic

    In general, giving up things even for a few months – drink, smoke, weed, pussy, midgets- allow you to learn more about who you are, how your mind works, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. We live in a society of constant stimulation and distraction. It is nice to take a step back and see who you are.

  • hvr

    I have never been much of a drinker. I was busy doing other stuff in high school. Partied and drank a bit in college. After that, drinking was not worth the consequences outlined above, particularly in #5 (gym performance and career performance were noticably affected), so I mostly stopped. That was over 10 years ago. I still get buzzed on occasion, a few times a year, but rarely more than that.

    I will confirm everything on this list except #1. Although I’ve seen people with drinking problems and some obvious examples of self-medicating, I’m way too biased and lack any real data to say whether any individual’s drinking is a problem for them or not. Certainly, some people are able to drink more than me and perform better than me in a variety of ways. Everything else though is spot on for sure.

  • Mage

    I learned game to do not have to drink and smoke for picking up women.

    I have never liked drinking – even in my “party” years. Of course I noticed how alcohol was socially lubricating and made it easier to get girls, but to me it was a big quastion whether the ends trully justified the means.

    The idea that people need to consume a substance that makes them urinate their brains to acheive intimacy is absolutely repusive to me.

    I am well aware that I miss many notches because I am always sober. But my health is more important to me then getting drunken pussy. I get enough sober pussy to feel sexually satisfied, plus I am very satisfied with my body and my mind.

  • derthal

    I noticed that some time after starting very hard training (hiit, running, callisthenics, boxing), taking care some mineral and vitamin deficiency (mainly magnesium, potassium, iodine, boron) and detox my cravings for alcohol just disappeared itself, no need for any self-control regime. I’m in fuck yeah sober, sharp mind state which give me emotional control I hadn’t for years, maybe never. I drink some alcohol every now and then because I like wine and some brands of vodka and funny thing is that alcohol make me anxious thus I drink no more than one or two shots. I know that healthy, good nourished body don’t need any stimulant. And I experience regular morning wood again. I’m almost 40.

  • GM

    I gave up drinking somewhat (still have a few drinks here and there), a few months ago now.

    I did it for slightly different motivations to you, no so much as an experiment of sorts, just because I didn’t think a day wasted (hangover) was worth it, plus it was expensive. And my expenditure has decreased substantially, and I do have productive days following an evening out.

    Also, as you say, it is absolutely staggering to see what people are like drunk… They turn into animals. When you’re drunk too you don’t realise it. I do firmly believe that people drink to their detriment and will be sticking to low consumption from now on.

    Bonus reason: I can drive to a bar or wherever and don’t have to fumble with the crap public transport to get back home because I’m inebriated.

  • meatbowling

    This is spot on. I’m a heavy drinker. I drink Thursday to Saturday and sweat Sunday to Monday. I usually drink a half bottle of vodka, sometime a whole, before going out, which only makes me slightly tipsy. I proceed several pints of beer when I reach the bars. I’ve survived a BAC of 0.5 and I somehow managed to walk 2 km home afterwards. I’ve been an everyday alcoholic, because I’m more charismatic and charming when I’m drunk, so my girlfriend at the time pretty much encouraged me to drink, she bought a bottle of vodka for me every day and went into debt to support my alcoholism.

    I stopped drinking for a while, completely sober. It was after a festival. I had been drinking heavily for days, with no food at all, breakfast was a bottle of vodka and then a lot of beer and wine. I ran out of vodka so I went looking for a camp with some strong booze in the early morning. I found a party and asked for some booze. They had a bottle of 70% absinthe with about 1/4 left. A guy handed it to me and said I could just drink as much as I could. I downed it all, spat on the ground, lit a cigarette and pointed at a chair and asked, “Is that seat taken?” I sat down and started talking while the group just laughed, because they had never seen anyone drink absinthe like water and not be affected by it at all. I left after a while and kept drinking at other camps, a total of 50 unites of alcohol that day.

    I stopped drinking after that, and it turns out I can actually pick up girls when I’m sober, the boredom is just the biggest issue, so I developed an amphetamine addiction instead. I experienced having two naked Asian girls in a bathroom, only to look at my sad flaccid dick because I lost all of my sexuality from amphetamine addiction. Then I went back to drinking. It’s not the drinking that’s the problem, it’s the withdrawal on Sundays and Mondays. I work out on Mondays but it’s extremely painful to work out with alcohol withdrawal, I almost cry.

    • geekonomics

      Your post was 6 months ago. I hope that time has gone by better for you. Every word of your post penetrates my psyche — I *was* you twenty years ago. Your life will be exponentially better without alcohol. You need to go through the suffering of withdrawal — medically supervised, please — to feel the pure joy of sobriety. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  • Wrist Swagger

    I knew a guy at work. His ex wife took everything. His kids. His money.

    He would come and climb wind turbines drunk as a skunk smelling like bananas and alcohol.

    Don’t use alcohol for your problems. Get it out of your system. Lift weights to help with the depression, try to help other people whatever way you can, and man the fuck up.

  • Yellow Kid

    I go to a college that studies hard and parties hard and usually binge drink at least one night every weekend. I don’t like drinking much, which is pretty ironic since I live in the campus party house but I mainly drink because I don’t like being around drunk people sober, don’t have access to healthier alternatives like GHB, and it’s my last year and I want to make this year as memorable as possible for my crew, all of whom drink hard.

    Alcohol is a vital part of my game mainly because I find it challenging to close without a little grease to move things along. I’ve noticed a lot of the girls I meet have difficulties with emotional and physical intimacy while sober and use booze to anesthetize themselves enough to act on their desires without feeling bad about it. At least until the morning comes….

    All in all it’s a vicious cycle: they drink to act on their desires and I drink because I can’t deal with their shit sober. I see the writing on the wall and am working more on sober day game.

  • Ryan

    I have been sober for the past 6 months, and I work in a bar on Friday and Saturday nights. Watching people fucking themselves up every weekend has not motivated me to drink at all. I had my first Saturday night off in 6 months the other week, and I went out sober.
    I found that once you’ve kicked the habit of drinking, it’s hard to come up with a reason to go get drunk again.

    “People get a look of anxiety on their faces. “Why aren’t you drinking?”” – Lol, I get this every weekend.

    As for sober game, being a fit bartender works wonders.

  • dave farley

    If you want to stop drinking,get a job in a club, having to deal with drunk people,there is nothing worse than being stone cold sober and have some smashed fool chatting complete and utter shit to you , girls shud not be allowed more than 2 or 3 drinks after that it really isn’t a pretty sight.

  • Rye

    I’m not disagreeing with you, but why do you think alcohol is a serious drug?

    • Danger & Play Blog

      Can you think of a drug that has ruined more lives or destroyed more families?

      • SongTalkingMan

        Sugar. And fat. Just compare the medicinal recommendation with what the average person thinks of sugar and fat. Alcohol is somewhat okay everywhere to frowned upon. Some talk of not drinking too much, but no one considers that chocolate is dangerous. Haven’t you seen people talk of chocolate? Or coffee with cake/cookies? Or any other socially legitimate drink/food with hidden sugar and fat?

        I remember when I was visiting New York, and the sun had set, when we just came to New York, just found were we would stay, and we were hungry and tired. We needed to eat something, and chose a burger at Burger King. The lettuce tasted sweet like sugar, the bread tasted like sugar, so did the meat and the ketchup. We didn’t finish a bite. And we wondered, do they not notice it as we did? Sure, the laws here in Sweden are maybe stricter on these matters, but do these customer not notice it as we did?

        But I agree with you on alcohol. I am an introvert too, and I have difficulties with being friends with those who drink, and I can’t stand to even be in a proximity during their drinking. In fact, this post persuaded me to pour my alcohol in the drain. I did it twice. The second time I did it slowly, to teach myself and my body that I don’t drink. Habits have to be made properly, don’t they?

  • NoFancyName

    “They drink to shut off the noise that authority figures have ringing in their ears.” Well said sir I agree with this point 100%.

  • azakil

    i remember at my teens/early 18 i would get smashed with alchohol,almost every weekend,sometimes i would purposefully intoxicate myself as i though it was cool. Little did i know back then,that it was actually a sign of depression which i tried to “kill” with booze.I remember when i would often buy wine bottles,and then wander the streets like a lunatic in my neighborhood drinking.It was after i turned 19,which i got so severely intoxicated i almost wanted to puke,and i saw that i looked ridiculous to the eyes of everybody. It is then (bbing helped me alot in this mindset) that i said “I WILL NEVER EVER DRINK AGAIN”. I am 21 now,and i havent drunk a single drop of alchohol. I feel much better,my body thanks me

  • Nick

    I’ve been clean from drink for 3 months now and I am really feeling the benefits. I’ve managed to use the saved money and extra free time I have to start up on my own business – it is only small time atm but it’s a start and it’s profitable.

    Now I’m not spending 3 days of my week off my face or hungover I have gained new skills, confidence in myself, accepted and faced up to my problems and sorted them out (instead of drinking to forget) I’m stronger than ever as a result.

    Alcohol is something that I will only touch again under very certain circumstances. The benefits of staying sober over drinking is amazing if you have the correct mindset to take advantage of your new free time.

  • Ironthumb

    I drink every weekend – but I never spent anything. People on our place when you walk right through the streets they will give you a shot. And they’re great guys. Alcohol kinda bonds Filipinos every weekends. But I dont like being “wasted”. Just enough until my lips numb. It usually gives a pretty good relaxing feeling without the vommiting part