The Cool Kids Started It
It’s an age-old story: the allure of the ‘cool kids’, often synonymous with the party scene, heavy drinking, and a seemingly carefree lifestyle. Yet, there’s an untold narrative that’s slowly emerging – one where these famous ‘party people’, a gentle euphemism for those struggling with alcohol, are turning a new leaf. They’re not just quitting drinking; they’re vocally sharing the life-changing benefits of a sober life. Rock stars, stand-up comedians, CEOs and folks in my circle had actually quit drinking. Was it possible?
AITA – Am I The…Alcoholic???
There are moments in life when we are faced with questions that force us to confront uncomfortable truths about ourselves. Sometimes, these questions come from within, and other times, they’re posed to us by others, often unexpectedly. For me, one of those defining moments happened in January 2021, during a routine visit to the doctor’s office.
The nurse, going through the usual health questionnaire, casually asked about my weekly alcohol consumption. As I did the mental math, a realization dawned on me, and instinctively, I lied. That moment of dishonesty was a wake-up call. I found myself silently asking, “Holy crap. Am I an alcoholic?”
My blood sugar was high. I was at my heaviest, despite being active and working out. I knew alcohol was a contributing factor, but the extent of its impact was now glaringly obvious. The latest studies have been clear: there is no healthy amount of alcohol consumption. That hit hard. I needed hope, a light at the end of this tunnel.
I started questioning the possibility of change. How could I transition from multiple drinks per day to complete sobriety? Was it even feasible? These questions were not just about my drinking habits; they were about challenging the very lifestyle I had become accustomed to.
The Turning Point: A Podcast That Sparked Change
My journey to sobriety began with a simple click. It was an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast featuring comedian Nikki Glaser. Their candid conversation about the struggles and realities of alcohol dependence struck a chord with me. Here’s the link to that life-changing episode: Joe Rogan Podcast with Nikki Glaser. I encourage you to listen to it, especially if you’re contemplating a change in your relationship with alcohol.
The Book That Became My Anchor
In their discussion, a book was mentioned – “Allen Carr’s Quit Drinking Without Willpower: Be a happy nondrinker“. This wasn’t just another self-help book; it was the tool that empowered me to quit drinking adfter THREE DECADES and stay sober for nearly three years (1,041 days and counting). Do yourself a favor, it’s on sale now at Amazon. See the deal and take action. No excuses.
Its approach is unique, focusing not on willpower but on reshaping how you view alcohol and its role in your life. This is a huge step that cost almost nothing. You must decide to start somewhere. Start Here.
Get your copy while it’s on sale. Step 1 accomplished.
Substituting Habits: A Fizzy Solution
Early in my journey, I found a simple yet effective strategy: substituting alcohol with flavored seltzer waters. It may sound trivial, but this small change helped me navigate social situations and personal cravings. The fizzy sensation and the variety of flavors provided a comforting, flavorful alternative without the downsides of alcohol. The carbonation can be rough on your stomach if you over do it. I drink much less now and opt for water or tea.
Join the Movement of Change
If you’re reading this at the start of 2024, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your health and well-being. New Year’s resolutions are not just about setting goals but about making sustainable changes. Quitting alcohol can seem daunting, but remember, many have walked this path before you and found renewed joy and health in sobriety.
Your Support System
Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Alongside resources like Allen Carr’s book, consider joining support groups or seeking professional help if needed. And don’t forget to celebrate each milestone, be it one day or one thousand days of sobriety. This is also a good to time evaluate your relationships.
Exercise is Critical to Success
If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my sobriety journey, it’s that exercise is not just beneficial, it’s critical. For me, strength training turned out to be the best antidepressant and mood enhancer out there – and believe me, I looked! I personally follow Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 program, which focuses on gradual progression in strength. I will rotate to Joe DeFranco’s Training awesome regimens several times per year because of their dynamic approach to strength and mobility.
But remember, what works for one might not work for another. My wife, for instance, finds her groove with Caroline Girvan’s workouts on YouTube, which are more geared towards at-home fitness enthusiasts. Lots of bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. The key is to find what resonates with you and stick with it for a while. Exercise not only improves physical health but also plays a significant role in mental well-being, providing a natural boost to your mood and energy levels. So, find your fit, set your routine, and let the endorphins do their magic!
Another thing – healthy eating is a natural byproduct of working out. If you want to eat better, just starting working out first. Your body will start to reject the junk in favor of higher national value foods. You will find yourself being more intentional about your food and hydration choices. You will be amazed.
One tool that I’ve found incredibly helpful in my journey is a health and wellness journal. It’s not just about tracking your sobriety days – though that’s important too – it’s about documenting your entire journey. These journals are perfect for reflecting on your emotions, noting down your triggers, setting personal goals, and tracking your progress in both fitness and sobriety.
The act of writing can be therapeutic. It forces you to slow down and really process your thoughts and experiences. In a way, it’s a form of self-accountability and can serve as a powerful reminder of how far you’ve come. Whether it’s a simple notebook or a more structured wellness planner, I highly recommend incorporating this practice into your routine. It’s not just about keeping records; it’s about witnessing your own transformation and growth.
And men. Don’t shy away because you associate this with a diary of sorts. Think more like Marcus Aurelius penning his Meditations. Copy that? It was his JOURNAL! While you’re at it. Get Meditations now and go check out Ryan Holliday’s Daily Stoic Podcast.
Quitting alcohol was one of the best decisions I’ve made, and it started with that one podcast, one book, and one simple substitute. I’m not sharing this because I am proud of myself for quitting. It was long overdue. But to share that it is possible, and it feels great, hangovers stink and you will lose a bunch of weight. So many empty calories… But that’s another story. Whether you’re a ‘party person’ looking to change or someone curious about the benefits of a return to sober life, I invite you to take that first step today. Get that book now. Your future self will thank you.