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Dry Spell Diaries

Dry Spell Diaries: I’m Not an Alcoholic, But 20 Months is 20 Months

Ever thought about what giving up alcohol for nearly two years would be like? Anthony Mullane, the Co-Founder & Country Lead, Australia at CUB (Club of United Business), is doing just that. In our new series Dry Spell Diaries, Anthony takes us along on his 20-month journey of living alcohol-free. So, if you’re curious about how his nights out, work life, and personal relationships are evolving, or just want to get a real-life take on shaking up your lifestyle, make sure you follow along with Anthony’s alcohol-free journey.

SUNDAY 14 JANUARY 2024

My name is Anthony and my last drink was at about 4:45am on December 31st 2023.

Some time during October last year, after much consideration, I decided that I would like to spend 20 months completely sober starting 1 January (or thereabouts).

I’m writing this first blog post on Sunday night 14th January, two weeks into my sobriety.

To paint the scene:

I am 33 years old

Have an amazing partner who has a bright future

Come from a loving family and stable friendship circle

Have a leadership role in a brilliant, growing business of which I’m a shareholder.

Have consistently performed above expectation for the majority of the past 8 years and assisted others in my remit to do the same.

Am generally ‘fit and healthy’ exercising rigorously 5-6 times a week as well as a walk each day

Have a sauna and a cold plunge 2-3 times a week

All the good stuff…

By every measure, I’m ‘doing pretty well’ for my age. But I can’t help but feel like I’m operating at about 30 or 40 percent of my full potential in different elements of my life.

I’ve long suspected my relationship with alcohol might be what is either making me feel this way or could be actually ‘holding me back’ from what I believe to be my true potential. I also truly believe there’s probably other men and women out there that feel similarly to me.

My relationship with alcohol isn’t one that I think most people would see as ‘problematic’ either… Monday to Friday I don’t drink a drop. I hate having alcohol in my system today and having a couple of drinks completely ruins my sleep. So I avoid it at all costs. Throughout the year I also regularly do stints without alcohol, usually somewhere between 2-4 weeks.

But an average once a fortnight over a 12 month period I’d rip in. Which entails heading out with friends for some reason or no reason on a Thursday (why??) Friday or Saturday night and getting home between midnight and 4am. This is pretty typical of my personality in general. Either in or out, off or on, 0 or 100.

‘I just need to blow off some steam’ I used to tell myself. ‘It’s sweet, everyone does it and needs it’.

But the question I kept asking myself before coming to the decision to undertake this 20 months was ‘What could I achieve in the different elements of my life if I cut that part out for a period?’

How much better and more present a partner could I be?

How much better a son, brother, uncle, grandson, cousin?

How much better a leader and role model to our team?

What else could I do with the time?

How much better could my physical and mental health be?

How much more balanced and consistent would my energy (of which I seem to have an unlimited supply) be?

Will I be more focused and productive each day if I didn’t have lingering effects from a night out every couple of weeks?

What am I sacrificing experiencing by spending one night a fortnight or thereabouts out partying?

In essence….. What is the opportunity cost of my alcohol consumption? I reckon more than I’d suspect. And there’s only one way to find out.

So this experiment will run for 20 months until my 35th Birthday on 28th August 2025. During this period I’ll be drinking no alcohol at all, then looking to reassess my relationship with alcohol overall and perhaps set some new rules and frameworks that rule the relationship.

I thought a great way of reflecting on my experiences and journey would be to journal and blog it here. ‘A blog…?’ I hear you say. ‘It isn’t 2006’. With no social media other than Linkedin I felt this was the best medium. It’s a great way for me to process the experience and learnings properly each week in a long form. My hope is that if there’s others who are looking to alter or change their relationship with alcohol, that they know they’re not alone and find this page to follow along.

I want to make clear that I’m not anti alcohol and am not standing here judging anyone who is out there having a good time as often as they want to. Get after it. Some of the best experiences and most fun I’ve had have been the big nights, spontaneous nights out, big events and particularly experiences overseas travelling. I also believe I will reincorporate alcohol into my life after this journey, albeit in a different way.

I’m not a professional writer (evidently). So it may read poorly. I hope to make this fun, engaging and not overly serious. I’m sure the focus of the conversation will shift as new space in my life opens for other things, too. It could end up being the most boring blog anyone has ever written and be read by only a handful over the next 20 months. But there’s only one way to find out…

I’ll be updating readers with new experiences, thoughts, reflections, realisations and tools every Sunday. I’ll also be diving deeper into my overall health to get a deeper understanding of how to perform at peak and fulfil my potential without alcohol.

If you’re off the booze and want to catch up to do something active, do reach out. I’d also love to learn from others who have changed their relationship with alcohol or meet people who are looking to do so. Or just catch up with people on a similar journey and laugh about some of the great nights of the past.

Have a great week.

Ant

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.