The real and sunken costs of The Drinks.
Have you noticed a trend of sales professionals taking January off from drinking? More and more, friends and colleagues are taking conscious breaks from alcohol.
Too often these breaks make us feel better short-term, when we’re really looking to feel better longterm.
Whenever I took breaks, I’d eventually return by drinking in greater volume, frequency, or both. One of our 30-Day Challenge graduates is now 4-months sans drinks, 30 lbs lighter, and traveling the world with his wife. Troy Young and I shared a lot of similarities in our drinking style, and also the reasons that led us to a longer hiatus from The Drinks.
In my drinking days I’d wonder what I was avoiding, or tuning out from. There was always a sinking feeling that drinking was holding me back.
Worse, I couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way or if it was true.
This only got more confusing as I advanced in my sales career. The wheels of business relationships, particularly in media sales, are all greased with booze. That culture is work-hard, party-hard and it’s pervasive.
Drinking and sales can be so enmeshed, you can feel unsuccessful if you’re not out getting yourself or others drunk.
Many of the participants in my 30-Day No Drinking Challenge shared similar challenges. There was a strong hunch that drinking came with an opportunity cost beyond the financial investment.
The costs are real. Excessive drinking accounts for at least 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults in the United States. Rates vary across states, but excessive drinking remains a leading cause of premature mortality nationwide.
But when we’re young professionals, we have our Immortality Complex to protect us, right?
Maybe. Most people I know are more frightened by the prospect of living an unhappy life than a premature death.
We have to start by looking at the hard numbers.
What does drinking
cost the average bear?
Below is a snapshot of the first 271 respondents from our Drinks Calculator, as of 11/29/16.
Average financial cost per person, per year: $4413.18.
I didn’t find this terribly shocking. However, that money could finance some incredible travel, professional certifications, a good juicing habit, a few yoga retreats, etc.
How much would your financial future improve by investing $4400/yr indefinitely?
It’s the time we spend in altered states
that really blew my mind.
This gets to the heart of that sinking feeling that drinking could be holding us back. We can always make more money. But we can’t get our time back. Specifically, the precious time we have when we’re clear-headed, engaged, and doing our best work.
We used the calculator to estimate the time we spend (on average) in states of altered-consciousness.
Based on the number of drinks per day/week, these respondents are spending
42.5 hrs a week in some level of an altered state.
Are they hammer drunk? NO.
BUT…. 42.5 hrs per week totals 92 full calendar days per year with booze in the system. This impacts our sleep, our focus, our stress levels, our resting heart rate, our happiness, and our relationships.
Back in 2007, a US study found 30% of Americans report having an alcohol disorder at some time in their lives. Meanwhile, a Canadian study found that alcohol is a factor in 1 in 25 deaths worldwide. Fast forward to today’s volatile political climate and uncertainty, you can guess we’re not drinking any less.
A breakdown of the data follows.
About these calculations. We are not scientists. However, we made our best effort to help calculate a true snapshot in both money and time. *TYPICALLY, INTOXICATION LASTS 2 HOURS PER DRINK (BASED ON ONE PINT OF BEER OR A STANDARD GLASS (175ml) OF AVERAGE-STRENGTH WINE) AND EFFECTS DO NOT BEGIN UNTIL 30 MINUTES AFTER CONSUMPTION. OTHER THINGS SUCH AS METABOLISM, FOOD CONSUMPTION, BODY SIZE AND WEIGHT ALSO AFFECT DURATION OF INTOXICATION. FOR THESE REASONS, OUR CALCULATOR MULTIPLIES THE NUMBER OF DRINKS x 2.5 HOURS
These submissions looked pretty honest to me. What do you think? Where do you fall relative to any of these averages? We can continue the discussion below.