$3,825 (but who’s counting?)Posted: September 27, 2013
When I first quit drinking, I installed a simple free app on my phone called “Quitter”. It allows me to track the time elapsed since my last drink and the money I’ve saved. I made a guess that I was spending $6 per day when I set it up, which is probably pretty close to accurate. That’s the equivalent of one bottle of inexpensive wine, two bottles of Trader Joe’s 3 Buck wine, half of a fifth (would that be a tenth?) of Canadian whiskey or vodka, or a 6 pack of beer.
In the beginning, I checked my progress on this app a lot as reinforcement. I also kept a small notebook with me and wrote each day how I was feeling, any triggers I encountered, and rated myself on a “craving scale”, complete with little hand-drawn smiley or sad faces. These tools helped through some long, uncomfortable days.
It’s been a long time now since I’ve looked at the app or used the daily notebook. Over time, success in sobriety becomes its own reinforcement and widget-dependence diminishes.
Today I noticed that as the days tick along, the savings have become significant! Since I don’t actually have those dollars sitting in a savings account or a piggy bank, I’m reflecting on what I’ve done with the money I formerly invested in poisoning myself.
-Ingestible substitutes – I have to admit that for a time I became a little bit addicted to a beverage called Sparkling Ice. At $1/bottle, it satisfied the need to have something fizzy or fruity to sip in the evening. Then there was the ice cream, candy and other assorted sweets, but altogether, I’d call it a reasonable financial trade-off. And even with the junk eating, I’ve lost weight.
-Travel – I LOVE to travel but could never find the extra money for it so I rarely went anywhere. Since I quit drinking, I’ve taken two road trips with my kids and two plane trips to see my dad. I was also able to finance a trip for my dad and step-mom to attend a family wedding before she died of cancer.
-Debt reduction – I’m not debt-free by any means, but at least I’m able to keep up with payments, eliminating a huge source of stress.
-Rewards – If I see something I want to buy for myself – jewelry, clothing, shoes, books – I give myself permission to do it! I’m worth it.
Of course, it’s not about the money. That’s just a nice side benefit.
The sense of peace and the growth I’ve experienced as a human being?
Well, that’s priceless.