Why I’ve Decided to Banish Alcohol for the Next 365 Days
Alcohol might be your biggest obstacle in living a meaningful, composed life. It takes a lot of courage and introspection to admit that you might have a problem. I know that I’ve hidden behind my insecurities and addiction for years. After months of ups and downs, it’s time to take the next step.
I’m not against alcohol itself. This has to be clear. A nice glass of rum & coke every now and then? I’m all for it!
I’m also not trying to impress anyone with my decision of not getting drunk anymore. That doesn’t serve me.
The problem doesn’t lie in its existence, it lies in its prevalence. It saddens me to see young people sacrifice their mental health for a drug that keeps getting publicly celebrated in our society. Alcohol is readily available everywhere you go. You’re confronted by it 24/7, no matter where you live or how old you are.
This is not another article that will tell you how much your skin will start to glow when you stop drinking so much — even though it’s true. This is about the deep, mental struggles people experience in their relationship with probably the most destructive force we know.
So if you think all of this is exaggerated, self-righteous or even boring, feel free to leave. This piece is not written for you.
If you are someone like me who finds value in self-reflection and is also thinking about overcoming another kind of self-destruction, then I’m happy we found each other somehow. Let’s grow stronger together.
Years of ‘quick fixes’ and fake coolness
Face your demons with a clear head.
Alcohol is a useful drug against social anxiety and emotional turmoil. It’s also merely a quick fix that lasts only a couple of hours, slowly seeping into the inevitable, brutal consequences. It’s a thirst that never quenches — a medicine that doesn’t truly heal.
Alcohol will never make you better because you’ll always return to your original state of being. It’s a false remedy that pollutes the source more than heals it. I learned that you need to face your demons with a clear head and a healthy toolkit.
Most of you already know that I was bullied throughout my childhood and teenage years. Because of this, I had to live with remindful fragments of self-doubt and anxiety for years after. I used to incorporate alcohol to ease that pain, and, to be honest, it actually worked for me for a while. Two years ago, I decided that I would never let doubts or anxiety hold me back and that I would never rely on a false stimulant — such as alcohol — ever again.
“He will have many masters who makes his body his master.” — Seneca
It sabotages your emotional well-being
My addiction to alcohol started to make me feel like a loser and a slave. It got never so bad that I drank every day, but I certainly went all-out every weekend. I do think that I got out of it just in time because the habit was getting worse with every passing month.
I was also done with acting like a sentimental clown at bars and parties. Getting drunk is an emotional rollercoaster for most people. Your age is an important aspect as well. When you’re over 25 years of age, life is way more complicated than when you were 19. At that age, I didn’t give a damn about anything other than partying and getting loose.
I don’t have that same mentality anymore. Your emotional stability gets tested more regularly as your amount of responsibilities increases. Drinking yourself into oblivion is not a good addendum to your emotional health.
Can we agree on the fact that it’s just not cool anymore? Going heavy on the drinks might be jolly-good-fun in your early 20’s, but it becomes pathetic rather fast after 25. Drunkenness has also become the worst excuse for having done something stupid. We have movies and reality tv to thank for that. Every time I pay attention to the ‘clubbing scene’, I can’t help but think what a regular shit show it has become throughout the decades.
“It shows much more courage to remain dry and sober when the mob is drunk and vomiting; but it shows greater self-control to refuse to withdraw oneself and to do what the crowd does, but in a different way — thus neither making oneself conspicuous nor becoming one of the crowd.” — Seneca
The influence of your social environment
There’s a level of theatricals I just don’t put up with.
I shared a friendship with a few people that had alcohol, getting shit-faced and complaining about life as its core themes. This was invisible to me at first, but it started becoming more apparent from the moment I decided to focus on improving both my physical and mental health. Their behaviours and my stupid mistakesactually helped me realize that I had to cut back on the booze.
I was always the guy who would go home last, annoying the bartenders when they wanted to close. Don’t get me wrong, I was never the aggressive type. In fact, people used to tell me that I was pretty funny as a drunk. Someone even told me recently that I’m more fun that way.
I just got sick of the same routine we had every weekend. We would have a pre-party drink at someone’s place, wiggle-waggle to the same old bar, play drinking games, complain about work and drink some more. Almost every night ended with people yelling and starting fights. Trust me, you don’t need this.
Everyone says they don’t like drama, yet all of them keep entertaining it.
Some friends might not support you
If you are truly focused on improving yourself, you will outgrow certain people. This is a necessary part of life.
Some people I knew weren’t big on me trying to change my bad habits. It took me a year to find out that some were actually ridiculing me behind my back from the very start. Their opinions of me went downhill very fast. I was always the boring idiot who wanted to go to different locations, meet new people and do other stuff instead of getting hammered.
I was the arrogant guy who chose to drink water and have conversations with new people. My interests and goals were becoming different than theirs.After a while, the invitations started to diminish and I came to a conclusion.
Self-awareness is the vital key
You have to keep showing up for yourself every single day in order for your life to go where you want it to go
I’m used to going months without alcohol, and it has always worked favourably for me. Now, I’ve finally decided to push that boundary and go without it for a year. It’s not something that seems daunting to me anymore.
I know exactly how I will feel. I know that my heart will pound faster during the weekends. I know that I will feel like an outcast at times. I know that my mind will try to convince me to have “just one drink”. I know that I will feel uneasy. I understand that some people around me will think I’m THAT guy. I also know that I don’t care about that, that I will sleep better and that I will avoid the early morning binges.
Nothing is going to be new for me because I’ve already experienced all of it before. Therefore, I also know that I can do it.
Giving yourself a clear, future milestone will motivate you more than vaguely saying, ‘I’m going to try and quit forever’. I want things to be great, but “things” don’t know how to just “be great”. Leave your house alone for a year and see what happens. You have to keep showing up for yourself every single day in order for your life to go where you want it to go.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” — Confucius
A drunk man is a weaker man
I feel like I wasted 8 important years on boozing and I’m not willing to do the same with my 30’s. Granted, I’m still a young man (26), but that doesn’t absolve me from the mistakes I made in the past.
Being a slave to alcohol — or any drug for that matter, and not doing anything about it, makes you less of a man. This is my opinion, and I’m allowed to speak it because I’ve been on the other side. I’ve seen what it did to me. It kept me from being a respectable man I could be proud of.
My mother has always been mistreated by drunk losers. And yes, I chose my words carefully here. Regular drunks are losers.
My girlfriend also had a history with men who couldn’t control themselves and didn’t have their shit together. When I met my girl, I made a promise to her that I’m a better man. It’s a promise I tend to keep.
Some men see me as a self-righteous prick who thinks he’s better than they are. I don’t care about all that. My decisions don’t influence them, and their choices don’t affect my own.
However, if you lie in your bed till 2 pm with a hangover, or you hit women because you can’t control yourself — or you spend your money on booze instead of on the wellbeing of your child, you’re not really making it hard for me to think this way. Do you really think I make you look bad?
It’s fine. These men don’t share my values, and they certainly don’t give a damn about me. I, however, do care about me. Sue me.
The only opinions I care about in this matter are those of my mother and grandmother. I want them to be proud of the man I am. Screw everyone else’s judgment. Get your own house in order before you decide to judge people.
The right women respect a man who has self-control. I know that might sound sexist to some, but I have no place in my life for girls who only want to “bring out the twins” and party. I’m not attracted to that anymore. No honest guy likes drama queens and, let’s be real, no woman in her right mind is ever genuinely attracted to a drunk either.
Intoxication damages your mental health
Banishing my drunk persona gives me a reason to think of myself as a strong individual in control of his life. I want to experience how it can influence my mindset and how the world will react to it. Deep down, I’m an introvert who enjoys spending his time on creativity in solitude. That being said, if you want me to attend a social gathering of sorts, I can definitely get in character for that as well.
The only thing I can think of, for three days after every drunken night, is killing myself. This is a tough thing for me to share, knowing that my mother will probably also read this story.
I struggle with suicidal thoughts every single day since high school. I won’t delve more in-depth on that topic in this article. That’s a story I want to share with you another time.
I want to explain the two sides of the medallion, regarding our addictions. While I’m ecstatic and hopeful about what I’m capable of achieving, I’m also absolutely terrified about the hell I would create for myself and others if I wouldn’t contain this poison.
The substitute for addiction
The key is to find something valuable in your life that’s worth not screwing up by getting drugged up. That’s the substitute for the addiction. It’s not about trying to seem cool by being sober. It’s about having something meaningful to care about — something meaningful to do that puts you above your addiction. Focus on your family, your child, your health, your partner, your people, your meaningful work, your potential, your dreams.
My only real obligation is becoming the man I want to be. A man who dedicates his life to helping other men who feel lost and imprisoned through art, vulnerability, and companionship. In that way, my most important job is you. I want my creativity — my life to revolve around that.
My goal is to help thousands of people in conquering their fears, pursuing their calling, and living a life filled with freedom, love, truth, and fulfillment.
If I’m ever to become this person I speak of, I will do so sober.
My creativity is better now because it doesn’t need a negative, external influence anymore. I understand the romance that artists have with drugs. It’s not that cute anymore, to be honest.
Every time I’m unleashing my creativity, I feel electrified and proud of myself. I said this before, and I’ll repeat it, “creativity nourishes the soul”.
So I refuse to let alcohol get in the way of that. It’s too insignificant in comparison.
Another characteristic of mine that has rendered problematic situations in the past is my addictive personality. I tend to lose myself, and I enjoy it. This has its creative advantages but can also prove harmful if I don’t control it mindfully.
And that’s that other side of the medallion I was talking about earlier. Becoming a loser who sacrificed his potential is something that genuinely scares me. Having thrown away all the good in my life is a terrible prospect to think about. I choose a better future for myself and those I love, but that decision is one I have to make now. And tomorrow. And every day after.
The world becomes a better place every time a single person decides to get his/her shit together and chooses to share that valuable knowledge with others.
Thank you for reading!
If any of you want to share your story, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments or through personal notes. Whatever you prefer.
If you are interested in more stories like these, I wish for you to read from Jeff Barton. He’s one of my favourite writers.
Some other great stories I’ve read: