Why I Quit Drinking

Today is Saturday, December 7, 2013. It is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It is also my Uncle Dano’s birthday. Happy birthday, Uncle Dano! Today is also the day that I quit drinking alcohol. And, this post is more for me than you. This post is a reminder, this post is a marker. Most of all, this post will help keep me to my word.

Enough today crap… Let’s talk about why I quit drinking. I’ve actually thought about this long-and-hard for quite some time. I rarely leap into such a serious life changing event without careful calculation and planning. This is no different. It’s just time for me to make another identity shift (I’ve done dozens of them in my adventure that I affectionately call “life”). Most of you know that I’m extremely fond of the Japanese philosophy, kaizen. And, I work hard to improve myself on a daily basis. This is one of those steps.

Instead of chatting about my reasons, I thought I would simply hit some bullet points. Suffice it to say that I did pros and cons and the cons FAR outweighed the pros… Some of these reasons for quitting drinking might ring true for you. Then again, some may not. You might also have additional ones that I didn’t even list… However, these are the main concerns that I’ve thought of for me (in no particular order):

  • Creativity I dunno about you, but drinking really puts a dent in my creativity. Because I consider myself a creative thinker I feel like alcohol kind of dummies me down and takes away one of my talents.
  • Waste of Usable Time While I’m under the influence of alcohol I feel I’m wasting my time. I’m constantly looking for ways to add time to my days… Well, stopping drinking is a perfectly suitable way to add time to my day (IMHO).
  • Sleeping In One of my pet peeves is sleeping too long and letting the day waste away. When I drink I often have turbulent nights where I do not get the proper sleep. My drunken sleep is interrupted and rough at best. Also, I tend to sleep in after a night of drinking, and this KILLS me! Time (as you know) is tough to come by

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    . By eliminating drinking, I will add time by getting better (healthier) sleep and by waking earlier ready to leap out of bed!

  • Workouts Suffer Some of my lifting is extremely intense. I am unable to do my HIT (high intensity training) workout after a night of drinking. Not only am I weaker, but I get sick (even if I’m not hungover).
  • Hangovers SUCK Speaking of hangovers… They suck!
  • Depressant Alcohol is a depressant. I’m an overly positive person and I work hard at knocking depressing things out of my life. Removing alcohol from my intake is an easy improvement!
  • Saving Money As a social drinker who doesn’t drink every night, I figure a low-end guess is that I drink around $60 worth of alcoholic drinks each week. This number may well be conservative, and I’ve been known to spend more than that in one night (especially on a nice bottle of wine). That is (at a minimum) $3,120 per year. Considering that I could easily get over this figure, you can see just how much it could potentially cost on an annual basis!
  • My Behavior Quite often I imagine my behavior is fine while drinking… However, there is that once in a while where I’m a complete asshole or asshat. If I had my druthers, I’d avoid being an asshat whenever possible. ‘Nuff said.
  • Weight There are 154 calories in an average can of beer. If I drink four beers that is 600 or more calories. Think about that one for a moment. No nutritional value at all, yet I could easily fatten myself up with it. Why would I?
  • Driving Drunk I’m not a fan of this, but I am guilty. Well, I have children, family, and friends. I do not like to think about the horrible emotions I would put folks through if I died driving (or riding) drunk. Even worse: What if I killed someone else? I can’t think of anything worse!
  • Injuries This one might not affect everyone, but I can tell you as a hemophiliac that I am much more prone to injuries when inebriated. And, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll probably agree on this one.
  • Bleeding Episodes Another one that doesn’t create a problem for most clotters (non-hemophiliacs), but it does affect us easy bleeders. Alcohol is actually an anticoagulant… In other words, it has been proven to thin the blood. YIKES!
  • Immune System This probably doesn’t need to be said, but alcohol can hurt your immune system. In my case (dealing with HIV) that can be very bad for me. However, it really is bad for everyone if you’d prefer to stay healthy and fit!

    I will not knock people for drinking or not drinking (and I never have). I’m still the same old wild and crazy guy. And, I’m still the inspirational life fighter. This will not change. I’m simply entering a new stage of my life, and I have put plenty of thought into it.

    Feel free to pick on me if you see me drinking a soda water with a lime in it, but don’t bother with peer pressure, because I don’t fold.

    I have a question for all of you: Assuming I can handle it (which I can), is it acceptable for me to keep alcohol in my house for guests? What’s your opinion about this?

    If you drink (or did drink), have you ever considered stopping? Please feel free to share your story here!

    My final question: Do/will you all support me with this latest life choice?

    Love you all,

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    About Vaughn Ripley

    Vaughn is a happily married daddy, author, and CIO. He is an HIV+ hemophiliac, and is one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe.
    Follow Vaughn on Twitter: @vripley
    Like Vaughn's page on the Facebook: www.facebook.com/VaughnFRipley
    Read his personal blog: HIVLongevity.com
    Visit his web page: www.VaughnRipley.com


    1. Good on you. No one will give you shit for drinking soda. People are too self centered to focus on others! haha! I have booze in my house at times for others. doesn’t bother me. I wish you well. I find it interesting when people plan to quit drinking as it was something that I did not have the ability to do without outside help. Cheers!!!

      • Toe!

        Thanks, Rob! I’ve often thought of you as a role model if and when I decided to do this. It’s friend like you that will help strengthen my resolve as I endure this.

        Thanks again,

      • Your home is your temple just as your body is. I am not a drinker only on the rare occasion have I done so but kept my home to match who I was and others visiting, are welcome to bring. Congrats and support is 100% given to a wonderful proud life change.

    2. Dan McNally says

      Good for you, Vaughn. While I won’t completely stop drinking (hey, its an agreement between God and the Irish . . . I have to drink, some) I sure have cut back, over the years. I’ll go weeks without a drink, sometimes months, but when I do drink, anymore, it isn’t much . . . might be a single beer. It does take a toll on you, and gets no easier as you age . . . so, good on you, Vaughn!

      • I thought about cutting back, as you have… Alas, I fear that one of my (many) weaknesses is a tip and nip. Therefore, I feel that cold turkey is better suited for me.

        Thanks for chiming in, Dan!


    3. Pat Klishevich says

      Welcome Vaughn….

      • Thank you, Pat! I was here ten years ago when I found out that I had hepatitis C… But, I went back after kicking that virus’s ass! Now I’m ready to quit by my terms.


    4. Rockatansky says

      You just had a few beers with me last night. I didn’t want to say anything, but you were kind of an asshat. Just kidding, you were fine.

      I find myself choosing not to drink more and more these days, for a lot of the reasons you listed. I’ll still go on a bender once on a blue moon when I have the opportunity, but I rarely enjoy it the way I used to (and I used to).

      • HA! Thanks for calling me out, brother. That was last night, and my last drink. You, sir, shall go down in history as the last person to have a drink with the talented Mr. Ripley.



    5. Good on you Mr. Ripley! I gave up drinking a bit over 3 yrs ago. Almost all your reasons rang true for my quitting as well. For me it was primarily about behavior. I wasn’t always an asshole when I drank, but the probability of me wearing the ass-hat went went up with each drink. As for keeping alcohol in the house, I never really had a problem with that. I kept all the booze and wine that I would normally keep in the house for friends and family. I even stock-up when we throw parties. I suppose the choice whether or not to keep it in the house is extremely personal, but I never saw it as a temptation. Best of luck on your journey! It can be tough, but it is also an amazing learning experience.

      • I agree, Greg and I don’t think it will be a problem. My preference (as you said) is to keep some for family and friends. Thank you very much for the kind words and great response!


    6. Hi Vaughn, I really believe alcohol and Janice are a bad combination, foremost being the same reasons you have described – the EXCRUCIATING hangovers, complete wipeout of the next 24 hours, the WASTE of my precious time being the worst. But I still need “justa couple” to get me into
      a chilled party mood, so I wish I knew another way (without heading to illegal substances!) I don’t think you need to insist that your visitors go alcohol
      free as well though, and I will happily support you as a non-drinker and think about today being the first day of the rest of my alcohol free life. Yet another person you have inspired on your journey ! X

    7. I decided to change my default answer on drinking to no back in about 1995. By that I mean that if I had a particular desire to drink, that was fine. But if I was just having a drink because everyone else was, I would just have water or whatever else instead. There were many reasons for the change, including feeling better the next day, improving workouts and sleep, avoiding unneeded calories, staying mentally sharp in all parts of my life, avoiding negative blood sugar impacts (since I am trending toward autoimmune diabetes and every high sugar incident will bring me one step closer). And I started to find that I enjoyed myself more when sober, and reflecting the next morning just felt better about everything when I had not had any drinks. I will occasionally have a sip of my husband’s beer. And I have no trouble at all with others drinking. Just like I have no trouble with people eating food I don’t care for in my home. I just make a different choice for myself.

      Welcome to the club!

      – Andrea

      • Great attitude and awesome advice! Thanks, Andrea! As usual, you are insightful and thought provoking.

        I’m glad to be a part of “the club.”


    8. Eric Willson says

      I like it Vaughn. I’ll support ya.

    9. Elizabeth baugher says

      My quit date was July 25th 2013. It took a lot to get to the clean and sober chapter of my life but I feel amazing mind, body, and spirit. I have no problem with others bringing alcohol to my home ( providing they take it with them when they leave) but I would be unable to keep it in my home. I also have no judgement on the choice of to drink or not to drink, I’m just not there yet. My 7mo anniversary is tomorrow and I have regained my memory and lost sixty pounds. Proving the calorie content comment.
      Love your blog Vaughn,

    10. Man, I have been thinking about doing this for so long. I agree with almost every point here, especially hangovers and spending money. Such a waste in most if not all cases.

      I am very close to calling in my retirement on drinking. I’m part Irish though, so as someone else mentioned, it feels like it’s part of my blood.

      • I empathize with you, Riz. This is not an easy decision and an even tough task to follow through with. I wish you the best of luck as you figure this out in your own life.


    11. Wow, you have three important things in a single day: Pearl Harbor Remembrance day, your uncle’s birthday and the day you quit drinking. It must be interesting and memorable. You have listed several points why you quit drinking. Like you, lots of people will agree that it’s merely wasting time. A number of positive activities are available out there, just choose what you want.

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    13. First, Vaughn, I just discovered you today (while researching the impact of Cassia cinnamon on hemophilia), and absolutely love your story (which I’m sharing on FB). I have been very blessed healthwise myself. I became interested in health and nutrition as a teenager, and for many years have read one or more articles on these subjects at least weekly. At almost 72 I use no prescription or OTC drugs (but lots of food supplements), have never spent a night in a hospital, and still greatly enjoy walking around Spokane and hiking in the wilderness with younger friends. Relative to your current article, I grew up in a teetotaler family and church, so never even tried alcohol until college. Even then I approached it very cautiously and very sparingly, and for a reason little comprehended by conservatives and liberals alike–to be more like Jesus. I had always had the freedom never to get drunk, but then I saw that Jesus also had the freedom to drink wine without abusing it. Quite simply, I wanted that freedom too. In the years since I have probably averaged having a few beers per year (when with friends who offer me one, since I don’t care much for the taste), and a few glasses of wine per year (also when with friends doing the same). I have never had more than one beer or one glass of wine on a given occasion, and thus have never been drunk. I have always been committed to having a clear mind for unexpected emergencies and safe driving at any time, and to keeping my alcohol consumption very low for the sake of my health. I have friends all over the spectrum on drinking, and great respect for those like you who choose to give it up entirely as well as those who drink responsibly as some Americans and many Europeans do. Concerning your question above, I think it is acceptable for you to keep alcohol in the house for your guests if you know it is not being a serious temptation for your kids as they get older. I have seen families in which alcohol in the house was no problem for the kids at all, and others in which it was the kids’ start down the road of serious alcohol abuse. It is already clear to me that you love your children very much, and know them quite well. I have no doubt that you would eliminate alcohol from your house if you believed that was in their best interest, and that totally (even teeTOTALLY) satisfies me on that point. I will definitely be following you in the future.