Non-condescending, non-patronizing advice about breaking your alcohol habits.

Alexei Sorokin
6 min readNov 27, 2023

A disclaimer — this note is not for those suffering from addiction. For two decades I’ve enjoyed alcohol. It was an indulgence and habit, but not an addiction so if you’re similar to me, maybe you’ll find this note useful.

If you’re playing around with the idea of breaking your habit but still planning to get a bottle of wine during your next trip to Costco, go ahead and get it. I mean it — I’m actively encouraging you to get your beer or wine and enjoy it. Why? Because reconsidering your habits is a gentle affair. You don’t have to do anything dramatic or animated. It probably won’t work anyway. You can still enjoy your drink while contemplating a potential change in your life style.

Last night I visited my friend and it was a great evening with lots of food. My friend’s neighbour joined too. It was the first time in the last two decades when I stayed away from alcohol in this setting. Was I tempted to have a glass of wine which is what everyone was doing? Yes, a little bit. But I’ve enjoyed staying away from alcohol in many recent weeks so I thought I’d continue this dry stretch. And maybe it’s not a stretch. Maybe it’s a permanent change.

When we touched on this topic, my friend said, “Having a drink while socializing is one of my most enjoyable parts of life. And I don’t care if I don’t live to ninety something.” I should mention that my friend is “classy” in every possible sense of the word. He’s well read and well traveled. He is sophisticated but very polite and humble. I still can’t figure out whether his identity is British or South African — he spent his childhood in South Africa but was educated in the UK and most of his family is in the UK now. And now he’s also American. He recenlty got his citizenship and is super happy to settle down with his family in California where he’s spent the last five years.

I totally understand what he said about enjoying alcohol in a social setting. If we put aside the cases of abuse and addiction, drinking and feasting have been a pleasurable part of human existence for thousands of years, across all cultures. “There are no benefits to alcohol” is a narrow minded argument. Yes, it’s bad for your health. A spoon on Nutella is also bad for your health. Sex can be pretty meaningless too. Watching a horror movie has not benefits. Driving is bad for your health. A lot of behaviors we engage in and activities we pursue have no benefit either, and…

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/