I Cut One Item Out Of My Diet And Lost Weight, Got Motivated & Likely Saved My Life

It changed everything.

photo of author courtesy of the author

Since a young age, my mother has warned me of the dangers of alcohol, as well as the benefits of not drinking alcohol. Her warnings were not in the same way that other parents might talk to their kids, but in the weary way that you do when you know your child has been genetically cursed with the drinking gene on both her paternal and maternal side. 

RELATED: How I Broke Up With Booze And Got My Life Back Again


I've watched my father struggle with alcohol after decades of not drinking due to his father. Though he knew all the tools for how to quit drinking and abstain to a life of sobriety, recently, this changed. I also spent my childhood watching my aunt battle her addiction with alcohol and drugs.

And yet, I went away to college and decided I could handle it. Although looking back, that was a lie. I went from being a sleepy drunk to a sloppy one. First, it was throwing up, and then it was making an ass of myself while blacked out.


Photo credit: author

But it wasn't until my last birthday that I decided to step back from inside the bottle after putting myself in one too many bad situations.

I've passed out in CVS stores and Colombian clubs, woken up in a drunken stupor to find a $100 Uber bill, and ran around hotel rooms naked.

Rock bottom was when I couldn't remember having sex because I was so messed up. Despite being positive that I was a willing participant, the only actual telling sight of sex was my achy vagina the next morning. After that, I decided it was time to put the bottle down for now before I was forced to do it later. (The decision was further confirmed by a friend reminding me how I'd slipped into bed with her and her boyfriend, while still in the buck).


Truthfully, after nearly 100 days of consistent sobriety and learning how to quit drinking, I'm still trying to figure out if alcohol is something I could be able to enjoy leisurely since my problem was binge-drinking as opposed to needing and wanting it every second of the day.

I knew how to have a glass of wine or just one beer when I was at home, but when I turned up, it wasn't for play — it could actually be really scary. The point is that I'm still working out some of the details of this no-booze thing. 

Here are the benefits of not drinking alcohol and what I have discovered since I stopped drinking. 

1. I socialize less.

During the past couple of months, I've cut back on going out — not for the fear of being around booze but because I can't stand the pressure coming from so many directions. And when I try to give a half-ass explanation, simply stating it's to get healthy, I almost always end up having to give an uncomfortable explanation of the previous actions that led to this decision (not in detail, of course).

RELATED: 10 LEGIT Reasons You Need To Quit Drinking Alcohol, Like, Yesterday


2. But I also socialize more.

Before you judge me for the contradiction, hear me out! Oftentimes, I would drink in social settings to get comfortable with a certain group of people or in a certain atmosphere. For instance, I only like dancing when I drink. So, I drink.

But without a boozy buffer, I've been forced to be social, strike up conversations, and bring the party on my own introverted merits. And while it's sometimes awkward, at least I can recall the conversations now. 

3. I lost weight. 

It's no secret that alcohol isn't the best for your diet. You start to put on weight if you drink too much — and that was me. Mimosas (and screwdrivers) on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday — well, that's definitely not a recipe for weight loss.

So, without it, I've fast-tracked the loss of my little pouch and said goodbye to my wine-induced FOPA (fat over the pubic area). 


4. I became more productive.

This one is really to the point. When you don't spend your days in bed mending your hangover just to prepare for another night of drinking, and thus another hangover, you get things done. 

5. I saved money.

Drinks start to add up. I was drinking for brunch, joining monthly wine clubs, and still buying. I don't get paid enough for that madness. 

6. I may have saved my life.

With all the crazy stunts that I was pulling under the influence, it's really a lucky miracle that I wasn't kidnapped, assaulted, or worse. My grandfather's life ended in a bottle and that's a fate I'm trying to spare myself from. 


RELATED: 103 Ways My Life Improved In 3 Years Without Alcohol

Kiarra Sylvester, MEd, is the founder of Black Girl Book Collective and a sex educator on a mission to decolonize Black women’s sexuality. Through her NPO, she gets to read and introduce Black, queer literature to Black girls in hopes that when she doesn't have the words to help them advocate for themselves, the words of Lorde, Walker, Butler, and Angelou will be there to guide them.