Trading Hangovers for High Fives: My Unexpected Journey Out of the Booze Maze

justrt
2 min readJan 29, 2024

For nearly two decades, my weekends were fueled by Friday night anticipation and the fizzy promise of escape. Drinking, from a teenage thrill to a comfortable social crutch, had become as familiar as the sunset. It wasn’t just about the parties, though. It was the quiet hum of acceptance that a beer in the fridge whispered at the end of a long day.

But somewhere between the bottom of a dusty beer bottle and the rhythmic thump of my running shoes on pavement, something shifted. My mornings, once hazy with regret, were now bursting with the anticipation of long runs and gym sessions. Exercise, initially a begrudging nod to health, had morphed into a source of genuine joy and accomplishment.

Suddenly, that familiar Friday yearning wasn’t for the bottom of a glass, but for the endorphin rush of crushing a personal best. My “reward” became the ache of satisfied muscles, not the dull throb of a headache. Hobbies, once dusty relics of pre-adult life, reclaimed their rightful place, filling the void that alcohol used to occupy.

This Dry January, the one I almost didn’t even notice, wasn’t a testament to white-knuckle willpower. It was a natural consequence of prioritizing my newfound passion for fitness. The discipline I poured into training schedules and long runs, it turned out, had quietly nudged my relationship with alcohol to the sidelines.

This isn’t a story of dramatic rock bottoms or valiant battles against addiction. It’s a testament to the transformative power of finding joy in unexpected places. It’s about discovering that the high of accomplishment, the camaraderie of the gym, the quiet satisfaction of progress — these, too, can fill the void, and perhaps even leave you with a clearer head and a lighter heart in the morning.

So, to anyone out there wrestling with that familiar Friday itch, I say this: explore, experiment, prioritize what makes you feel alive. You might just find that the path to a healthier, happier you isn’t paved with willpower, but with the unexpected joys of a new sunrise, a challenging workout, or the quiet hum of self-worth that comes with chasing your own personal bests. Cheers to that! (Well, maybe not cheers, but you get the idea.)

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justrt

Every step is a thank you, every beat of my heart a celebration. This blog is where gratitude meets grit, where fitness fuels passion, and where stories unfold.