This video is embarrassing because I’m dealing with and struggling with something. But I need to discuss it because I know I’m not alone. If I can help you in any way, even if that means for me to be embarrassed, it’s worth it.
I have an addictive personality. I was addicted to two cans of tobacco (nicotine) daily for almost 20 years. I also used alcohol from a young age, around 16 years old, and then I started binge drinking. I drank through college, after college, and beyond.
In January 2010, I decided I would quit tobacco. That being said, I would need to quit alcohol as well because it triggered my tobacco use. I didn’t acknowledge my dependency on alcohol at the time as I was trying to solve the nicotine issue. Quitting tobacco was a big story, but the bigger story was quitting alcohol.
Quitting alcohol changed the trajectory of my health, happiness, and life. I finally felt good about myself and wasn’t making bad decisions that I beat myself up over. I was finally taking care of myself in every aspect of my life. I made more money, had better friends, and lost self-destructive relationships.
Alcohol + Society
Alcohol is ingrained in what we do socially and is a hard habit to break. Drinking is a social activity that includes going to bars and restaurants, hanging out with friends, watching sports, listening to live music, and more. Alcohol occupies time, brings us together, and is relied on so heavily. Even if you’re not drinking every night, when you go out on the weekends, much socializing revolves around alcohol.
After quitting in 2010, I had no alcohol for six months. I felt like I had control over my drinking, so I would still enjoy a glass of wine or bourbon once or twice a week. I was not getting drunk. But when the world shut down in 2020, my alcohol use ramped up. My wife and I would open a bottle of wine during the week, and my consumption started to escalate to the point where I felt like I was going in the wrong direction. I wasn’t feeling as good as I used to and felt stagnant like my brain wasn’t working right. I wasn’t as happy.
Giving up the toxic friend, alcohol
I started to unpack what was different about me and why. I had a hard look in the mirror, realized that I was drinking too much, and thought of all the benefits I experienced when I quit drinking in 2010. I needed to stop and get out of my own way to change. I needed to accept the responsibility that I was doing something self-destructive.
Alcohol is like giving up a toxic friend. I used to drink because I felt like it would let me truly be me, and I would let my guard down. Ultimately, I realized I was a horrible drunk, and nobody wanted to be around me. I would do and say things that weren’t necessarily consistent with who I felt I was or wanted to be. So, 30 days ago, I decided to quit and change things. It really impacted my life positively. I encourage every one of you to give up alcohol for the next 30 days. Even if you don’t have a problem.
Quitting in 2010 vs. 2023
The starting point is the most significant difference between quitting in 2010 and now. I was a mess in 2010, getting blackout drunk and being very unhappy. My life back then was a disaster that I didn’t realize. When I stopped making those bad decisions and drinking, I was more productive and made more money. I was better focused and had better relationships.
Over the last 30 days, my self-esteem has been better because I’m not beating myself up when I wake up after drinking. I don’t have cobwebs in my head from drinking on the weekend. My mentality is clearer, and my emotions are more level because there are no more ups and downs from the alcohol’s vicious cycles. I’m also more thankful and more grounded. Not drinking allowed me to step back, breathe deeply, and center myself. I’ve been a lot more aware of my surroundings and relationships.
Not drinking has allowed me to be thankful rather than constantly thinking about where I want to get or where I want to be. I didn’t expect that. We are living in a crazy time where everybody is trying to be better and acquire more. Everyone constantly tries to fix what they perceive as broken or deficient, preventing them from truly embracing themselves. Sure, we should all strive to be better or achieve more, but not consuming alcohol allows you to be more present in your daily life and have a clearer mentality of who you are.
I challenge you to 30 days
When you’re continually masking how you feel with alcohol, you are prevented from honestly dealing with issues that have built up. I know I’ve talked about therapy a gazillion times, but when you quit drinking, it’s an awakening. Your eyes are open, and you see life and the world differently. Many people utilize alcohol as a crutch to numb the pain and not deal with things. But we must deal with our issues to be truly happy and not continuously go through a vicious cycle.
These last 30 days have changed my ability to heal, and that’s something a lot of people don’t talk about. One of the byproducts of quitting drinking is healing and having a healthier mind, body, and spirit. I challenge you to quit for the next 30 days, too.