This whole no alcohol thing has become the new cleanse. The new paleo. The new panacea to every ho-hum, lackluster, I-thought-I’d-be-more-successful-by-now life.

I’m not buying it.

While I whole heartedly support people re-evaluating and creating the lives they want to lead, people have a tendency to go overboard. You don’t have to totally stop drinking. You don’t have to become a vegan or only buy organic food or live in a tiny house. Most of us do better in the long run with minor revisions to our lives.

In the spirit of counterbalancing all the articles that esteem the virtues of abstinence, I would like to share with you what I have learned and accomplished while drinking (mostly) responsibly.

  1. I learned to drink water while imbibing in more fun beverages. Hangovers are no fun, especially at 30.
  2. Through many a late-night conversation, I found a career path I am passionate about. I went back to school and started my new fantastic job nearly 3 years ago.
  3. I started a blog 2 years ago and have now written over 100 blog posts and gained a following of over 500 people. Have writer’s block? Try a glass of wine.
  4. I got up on a friggin’ stage in front of actual people and told a story I had written.
  5. I am happier than I have ever been.
  6. I learned to Uber. Be responsible people! And use my uber code to get a free ride!
  7. My partner and I have had many budget conversations that likely would have been much more tumultuous without a nice glass of wine.
  8. I went to a whole shit ton of concerts (including the amazing Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and other phenomenal concerts by Pretty Lights, Trampled by TurtlesSTS9 etc.) and I danced. A lot. Sure, some people can dance without drinking… but I’m not one of those people.
  9. I have met some amazing people over drinks who I probably would not have talked to without a little liquid encouragement.
  10. I learned that Pho is a great morning after dish. Trust me.
  11. I established a long-term, consistent yoga practice. You don’t have to quit drinking to commit to exercise and health.
  12. I learned to hit the bars early to avoid the college kids and go to bed early to avoid over-drinking and risking a hangover.
  13. I learned that a good craft beer or nice glass of wine is much more enjoyable (and less likely to linger the next day) than a 12-pack of cheap beer.
  14. I applied for grad school. Fingers crossed!
  15. I hiked 10 miles in and 10 miles out of the most beautiful canyon with blue-green waterfalls around every corner (Havasupai); summited Wasson Peak in Tucson; wandered all over Yosemite National Park; attempted scuba diving (scary!); admired Redwoods; roadtripped to Arches National Park; walked through a lava tunnel (okay, maybe only halfway through); and avoided being swept away in a monsoon storm while camping.

We can all accomplish a lot of things whether we drink alcohol or not. What matters is that you don’t let drinking get in the way of living your life. Many of us probably do indulge a little too much and could benefit from drinking less. So by all means, cut back – or quit – if you start to feel like alcohol is holding you back from your dreams. My partner spent the last 5 years working at a rehab center, and I am a former social worker, so I certainly understand that alcohol can have very serious negative consequences for people. However, for the majority of us, responsible drinking merely adds to the fun of life and makes us all a little more social.

Cheers to chasing your dreams and toasting your success with a glass of champagne!

Happy New Year!