The story of how I gave up alcohol and fell in love with marijuana is quite a journey, actually.
Growing up on Long Island, paired with living and working in New York City, I’ve seen plenty of people taken down by their vices.
My substance of choice just so happened to be alcohol.
I used to drink every single day, and not in the way most people say they do.
I mean, I had places to be from Sunday to Saturday.
Whether it was Sunday Funday on Long Beach, Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday in Massapequa, Industry Night Wednesdays in Long Beach again or Thirsty Thursdays, I always ended up at a bar.
Waking up nauseatingly dehydrated with a pounding headache and empty stomach became so routine, I forgot what waking up after a sober night felt like.
Alcohol was just a natural part of my routine. I didn't realize it was bringing out the worst in me.
It sucked up my time, money and memories.
In June 2015, I left everything and everyone I'd ever known behind.
I packed a bag and purchased a one-way bus ticket to Cleveland.
Ohio would be the first stop on my backpacking excursion from NYC to LA.
The first week I went without drinking while traveling this summer happened organically.
I’m so glad this habit naturally stuck with me.
I noticed I was drinking less and less, although I was going out more and more.
Being in an unfamiliar territory made me rethink each drink I accepted.
I didn’t want to risk my safety or risk feeling sh*tty the next day.
When I moved to California, I decided to get an evaluation for medical marijuana to treat my anxiety, as alcohol seemed to only temporarily numb it.
While phasing alcohol out of my life and welcoming marijuana into my routine, I started to notice changes in my health and life:
1. I easily lost 10 pounds.
It only took a few days without drinking for me to notice differences in the appearance of my lower abdomen and skin.
I quickly started to realize a noticeable difference in the way I felt and thought.
According to Livestrong,
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration, and therefore, problems with water retention. When the body is dehydrated, it tends to retain water to make up for the loss. A major health concern is that when you don't keep your body well-hydrated with fluids, the organs have to work harder.
When I smoke marijuana, I rarely feel the urge to binge when I’m anxious or overwhelmed.
Instead, I feel like I’ve gained more control of my urges.
2. I noticed more money in my pocket.
Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one who has had a few nights where one turned into two, and two turned into shots until the wee hours of the morning.
We’ve all done it.
The shots, snacks and cabs we impulsively purchase while drunk add up quickly.
I have never blacked out while smoking weed and woken up with a new pair of Tory Burch flats.
It doesn’t affect my productivity.
There is nothing better than knowing only I am to blame if I don't wake up at 5 am for work.
Marijuana doesn’t leave me with a long hangover.
3. There are no crazy side effects.
When I think about consuming alcohol or smoking weed, I think about the side effects they have on me.
When I drink, I’m a completely different person.
Not to mention, I feel like complete sh*t the next day if I have even a single beer.
4. I connect with people on a deeper level.
I can see clearly now that the fog of alcohol is gone.
Now that alcohol isn’t the center of gravity in my social life, I find myself having deeper conversations and making more meaningful connections.
5. It didn’t hurt my dating life.
Removing alcohol from my lifestyle didn’t affect my dating life at all.
People were actually curious and refreshed to engage in activities outside of a bar and alcohol-fueled environment.
Plus, there are way more creative, alcohol-free date ideas out there.
These days, I wake up around 6 am, drink green tea and stretch.
I also run, walk or bike 2 to 3 miles per day, and I use a standing desk while I work.
This is the healthiest I’ve been in my entire life, and there’s no doubt phasing alcohol out of my life had everything to do with it.