I used to drink a LOT. A lot, as in often, and in amount. That tapered off from the renegade Animal House party-drinking of my 20s to refined beer-appreciator drinking in my 30s.
A couple years back, I wasn’t enjoying the buzz any more. Worse yet, with even a few drinks I’d wake up in the morning feeling it enough that the whole day was off.
When you work with your mind, you can’t afford many days like that.
True, I’m not a spry youf anymore. When I was 23 I could stay up all night with a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 and an ephedrine tab, hit my workout at sun-up, and have the energy to do it again the next day. If I tried that now I’d be in bed with a box of ibuprofen for the next five days.
Many pro drinkers wouldn’t care. The sirens singing from the bottle lure them in anyway.
I like to think I have better judgment. I haven’t had a drop of the devil’s juice since the end of April and I’ve never felt so good.
The pro drinkers would think that’s magic. He wouldn’t “get it”. Once habit chews its way that deep into your life, it never lets go. This is why the overweight never shake their food habits and the smokers never give up smoking. Like those things, alcohol is a mind-altering chemical that is one part social and one part self-medication.
That’s what you’re told, anyway. You can’t do squat about it, except find some drug to fix it for you. The many-billion-dollar pharma and supplement industries live on The Magic Pill. Keep on hitting the Golden Corral while it slims up your gut-line.
There was no such thing that changed my relationship with the booze. No such thing could.
Understand that I never “quit drinking”. If the opportunity and the timing were right, I’d have a beer or three.
What’s different now is that I don’t need it. At 23 and 33, the rest of my life was a series of road-blocks between me and the beer buzz. Diving into a few drinks was the whole point of the day.
Right now I’m back to working out consistently. My diet, while not perfect, is vastly superior to the average Western diet. I’m doing a lot of writing, more than I’ve done in years, and since I’m not sapping my own vitality with intoxication and recovering from it, I feel more energized and focused than ever.
Drinking’s now the road-block to those results.
There was no magic pill. No swearing off alcohol. No need for them.
The changes all happened inside. I no longer value drinking, or the cool experiences it creates, as highly as I value what I’m doing with my body and my mind.
It’s that simple. Find somewhere else to put your attention, and suddenly, like magic, that guilty vice becomes unimportant.
Easy to say. When you’re a pro drinker, you don’t see it like that. The behaviors feed your identity which feed the behaviors. It isn’t that you can’t change, is that you don’t see why you should. That’s the real deviltry at work here.
What broke the loop for me was a change of identity. I stopped seeing myself as the Matt who drinks. I don’t define myself that way, as I did for so many years. Without that, the bad habit no longer has power over me. I perceive it as an obstacle to my goals, instead of the goal itself.
You sure won’t hear that sermon preached from the pulpit. You’ll hear the message of trauma, you’ll hear that addiction is a medical problem, that you have a messed-up brain, that you’re fundamentally broken inside and you need chemicals to “fix you”.
Maybe. I’m not your doctor and you’d best not take that kind of advice from me.
But I don’t believe it anymore.
Maybe you’ve got an issue like that in your life, holding you back from your health or fitness or even your professional goals. Learn more when you click here.
P.S. If you’re interested in going deeper on this, I recommend you this article: