Why Alcohol Could be Holding You Back from the Life God Has for YouDec 30, 2020
Why Alcohol Could Be Holding You Back from Crushing Your New Year Goals | Why You Don't Need to Drink This New Year
New Years. A time we celebrate the past year and the New Year to come. A New Year full of possibilities, new beginnings, and fresh starts. A year where we can finally pursue our dreams and become the person we want to be.
Every New Year, I’ve had hopes and dreams of living my best life. Becoming a better person. Being happier with my life and relationships. Eating healthier. Crushing my goals and thriving at everything that comes my way.
But year after year, my goals and New Year resolutions never became a reality. A year that began with hope ended the same way it always ended, full of unfulfilled dreams and regret.
What was holding me back? Why wasn’t I accomplishing the goals and dreams that were on my heart?
It took years for me to realize what was holding me back. It wasn’t until I started seeking an actual relationship with God that he showed me what had been holding me back all those years.
God showed me what was slowly ruining my life. He showed me how destructive and potent this one thing can be, something that so many people celebrate in this world.
What was holding me back? What was secretly ruining my life?
Alcohol. Drinking lots and lots of alcohol.
And it’s time we start talking about it and the impact alcohol can have on our lives.
In a world where other matters seem more important and in a world that will tell you that drinking is no big deal, God has put it on my heart to share my story. To share how alcohol almost ruined my life and to let you know that you don’t have to drink anymore.
I started drinking in high school because that’s what all my friends were doing. Going to parties, drinking and eventually hooking up with each other. It was fun, something to do, all the “cool kids” were doing it.
Fast forward to college, drinking was applauded. It was celebrated. It was expected of college students to drink and go to parties. It was everywhere. At football tailgates, at house parties and at the bars – and it wasn’t uncommon for students to have fake IDs.
It became clear that I needed to drink to have fun and meet new friends. Drinking and getting drunk was not only accepted, it was applauded. Bragging about the number of shots we took the night before. Bragging about all the dumb stuff we did when we were drunk.
But the lie I believed early on started to slowly ruin my life. The lie that I needed to drink to have fun and have friends. The lie that I needed to drink to fit in and be accepted.
With the grace of God, I managed to graduate college with amazing grades and scholarships and land a coveted job right out of college.
But as I joined the young adult professionals around me in the corporate world, it was the same drinking culture.
Drinking was celebrated and encouraged. It was provided for free at work; it was the icebreaker to break the ice at networking events. It was a way to bond and get to know coworkers.
Except the drinking got more aggressive. The work hard, play harder mentality ruled the corporate world. We had more money to spend drinking and on lavish celebrations but we started to drink for a different reason.
While drinking was very much a social sport in college, it became a way to escape in the real world.
A way to escape the stress and pressure of work. A way to forget that I was still single and that nobody wanted to date me. A way to fill the void I felt – an empty void that reminded me that something was missing and that I felt unfulfilled.
Life in my twenties quickly consisted of working a lot during the week and then drinking a lot on the weekends. Working, drinking, repeat.
I was either working, getting drunk or spending my weekends hungover. And as I got older, the hangovers got worse. The next day hangover turned into an entire weekend hangover.
It wasn’t uncommon for me to sleep until noon, sometimes even until two or three p.m. the next day after a night out drinking.
I started to realize I had no idea what I wanted to do in life and that I had no time to figure it out. I wasn’t fulfilled at the accounting job I had and knew I couldn’t continue that cycle of working in a job I wasn’t passionate about and drinking the rest of my life.
Every year I had hopes of figuring out my true purpose by trying new things and new hobbies, but I didn’t have much time to explore other things with the way I was working and drinking.
What was my purpose? Surely life had to be more than just working and drinking a lot.
Thank God he didn’t leave me in that cycle. He finally woke me up and showed me that alcohol was ruining my life. Through a few big, drunken mistakes, God showed me what would happen if I didn’t stop drinking.
Just like it says in Ephesians 5:18, getting drunk really was ruining my life.
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.” – Ephesians 5:18
He showed me how much time I had spent with alcohol that could have been spent on other things. Time getting to know God. Time getting to know myself. Time spent investing in my future, making positive steps to the plans God had for me.
At the age of twenty-nine, God showed me that I had been abusing alcohol my whole life and that I had a binge drinking problem.
But through the grace and power of God, he showed me how to change. He changed my desires and gave me the strength to say no to getting drunk. He gave me the hope and love to stay in on a Friday night instead of going out, desperate to meet friends at a bar.
And he gave me the wisdom and self-control to control my drinking. He showed me how to drink responsibly and how to say no when I’ve had enough.
Note: I will talk more about how God revealed that I had a drinking problem and what the Bible says about drinking in another blog post. When I talk about drinking in a way that was not pleasing to God, I refer to drinking to the point of getting drunk or to a point that altered my thinking and behavior.
What New Years Means to Me
I used to hate New Years Eve for several years. I was always single and would get dressed up and drunk like everyone else around me. It was supposed to be fun, but deep down, I hated New Years.
I hated how depressed I felt every New Year, waking up with a hangover and without a boyfriend. Waking up already feeling discouraged that my dreams would not become a reality in the New year.
But this New Years Eve, I am choosing not to drink on NYE for the 3rd year in a row.
Two years ago was my first NYE with God. I didn’t have that many close friends in San Diego so I decided to stay in and wake up early for the New Year. As a remembrance and celebration to God, I didn’t drink and woke up sober and fresh on New Years Day to run up a mountain at sunrise.
Last year, I spent NYE at church, standing next to my now husband, in awe of the new life God had given me and the party life he had rescued me from.
There I was, worshipping God and praying into my future, surrounded by hundreds of other people who cared about making this world a better place instead of drinking on NYE.
New Years Eve is a reminder of my new life with God. A life where I don’t need to drink to fit in and be accepted.
A life where I don’t need to escape or fill a void with alcohol. A life where I have friends that love me for me, not for the amount of alcohol I drink or for the nights I spend going out.
For years I had no idea that this life with God existed, I didn’t know there were other people out there that did other things besides drinking on the weekends.
And as I drove home from church last NYE, my heart broke from all the drunk people I saw walking the streets in Pacific Beach.
Girls wearing dresses and skirts with everything hanging out, upset that they hadn’t gotten a midnight NYE kiss. Crying that they still hadn’t met the man of their dreams.
“Friends” pulling their friends up from falling in the bushes. People falling asleep sitting on the side of the street. A guy getting arrested while crossing the street from being too drunk and yelling at someone.
Tears ran down my face as I got home. I had lived in that party world for so long but God had finally saved me.
God, how can we save them? There are so many lost in the party world, turning to alcohol instead of turning to a life with Jesus. Save them God, save them like you saved me.
What Kind of 2021 Do You Want to Have?
Even though alcohol held me back from living my best life in my twenties, I know that those years were not wasted.
God works all things for good and my hope is that my story will encourage you to put down the alcohol so you can start pursuing the life God has for you.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28
It’s never too late to stop drinking. It’s never too late to stand up for yourself and say no.
No matter what you’ve done in the past or the mistakes you’ve made when you’re drunk, you are worthy to receive the grace and love of God. The grace and love that will change you and give you the strength to live the life you were intended to live.
Let 2021 be the year you seek God and the plans he has for you. Let 2021 be the year you stop the drinking lifestyle and step into the life God has for you.
If you’re worried about what you’ll have to give up along with giving up alcohol, think about what you’ll gain instead.
Do you know how much time you’ll gain if you stop drinking?
What Could You Accomplish if You Stopped Drinking?
When I stopped going out and drinking on weekends, God showed me that I had so much time and energy to pursue the new dreams he had put on my heart.
Before God, drinking and being hungover had taken up so much of my time. Let’s take a typical Friday night for example.
Let’s say I started drinking around 7 pm and stayed out at the bars until midnight. Then, as a result of drinking for 5 hours, let’s say I slept in and laid around hungover until noon. That’s 5 hours spent being hungover if I usually wake up at 7 am.
So a typical Friday night of drinking resulted in 5 hours being drunk and 5 hours being hungover. 10 hours total.
10 hours that could have been spent doing something productive or pursuing the plans God had for me.
If I went out the next night as well, that would consist of 20 hours could have been spent on something else!
If you typically go out 1 night every weekend, that equates to 520 hours spent drinking and being hungover that you could have invested on other things.
So what could you do with 520 hours? How can you use that time to seek the plans God has for you? Do you think he wants you to spend 520 hours a year on alcohol?
The Bible urges us to make the most out of our time and not to waste it being drunk.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit…” – Ephesians 5:15-18
Let 2021 be the year you make the most out of your time. You don’t need to let alcohol hold you back anymore.
Let God show you how he wants you to use those 520 hours in 2021.
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