From the time I was 16 to 22, I was a *normal* social drinker by society’s standards. During this time I must admit I had some great times. I partied and had lots of fun with friends. Every weekend something would be happening that revolved around alcohol. A fairly relatable story for a lot of people young and old.
But for the last couple of years I spent in this routine lifestyle, something deep inside me disagreed with it. An internal conflict. Something about the lifestyle didn’t add up for me anymore. And I began to question it. Not outwardly, but internally. I analysed my behaviour and all of the reasons why I was involved in it.
I started noticing some patterns that alarmed me. Not just in my own life, but the life of my friends, my parents, friends of parents, just about everyone that regularly drank alcohol. As I became aware of these patterns it was hard to overlook them. I thought about it all the time. Here are some of the patterns and issues I began to notice.
1. Weekends were designed around drinking
2. Getting *wasted* became a release from the daily grind
3. Fun was based around drinking
4. Sundays became a national hang-over day, where you made friends with greasy food and a comfy couch, whilst drinking coffee all day
5. It stopped you from doing other things on your weekend that you perhaps would have really enjoyed
6. It was a way to confidently socialise in large groups and perhaps be the person you couldn’t normally be
The more I explored these patterns, the more I thought about trying to give it up. I didn’t want to be that guy who develops a beer gut, loses sight of his health, or most of all, loses touch with what is is like to enjoy life without a drink in one hand. I didn’t want to rely on it for social comfort or as an escape. It seemed like a continuous unconscious and slowly destructive cycle. You dread your week from monday to friday because you most likely haven’t put any thought into what you would like to be doing, then you get so excited at the sight of your two days of freedom, that you fill it with excess drinking and socialising, living on a manufactured high, leaving you to come down again and feel mildly depressed about going back to work for another five days. Where you hold your breath until the next incoming friday.
The more I thought about it the more it felt like I was living a lie. A lifestyle that fundamentally I didn’t choose, or connect with on an authentic level. I wanted to experience life like that of my childhood. No alcohol, no drugs, just clean and carefree. So I did. Over many many months of trying and failing I might add. But this was by far the greatest and hardest thing I ever did with my life (up until this point). Here are a fraction of the unintended side-effects of this game changing decision.
1. I learned about who I really am
2. I created the space, health and focus to begin building the body of my dreams
3. I had to learn to socialise all over again. As me. The authentic me. Nothing else
4. I found some new people that shared similar goals and visions
5. It basically kickstarted a life that I was born to live
6. I had to find new ways to entertain myself. E.g creating music, reading books, expanding my knowledge, connecting with my surroundings
7. I learned to enjoy time alone
8. I met the girl of my dreams
Everything I am now, is the result of that fundamental decision to change my life. I literally turned my back on everything I had come to know up until that point, but I am eternally grateful that I found the strength to do it. I enjoy a daily clarity that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have no anxiety or fear of being myself in a crowd of people, and I have the freedom to do what I will with my weekends. Everyday is enjoyable. There are no big highs or huge lows, just a beautiful balance of life energy that I can use how I see fit.
I do enjoy a glass of organic red wine with my beautiful partner here and there. But we both choose to enjoy it together. Key word is “choose”. We don’t need to have it, but we choose it.