Country Artist Billy Currington has a popular song entitled, "I'm pretty good at Drinkin' Beer". That's me! While I have always been pretty good at drinkin' beer, I'm not so good at stopping once I get started. Some folks are blessed with the I'll just have one or two gene. I didn't get that. When I set my mind to a task ... I'm committed! Whether it's a career project like becoming a radio star, or even writing a book or three ... I'm the type to follow-through. Unfortunately, this mindset also applies to alcohol. If there's six beers left that need to be drank ... I'm gonna drink all six.
Then I'm gonna regret it in the morning.
Marketing has programmed society to believe that social settings can only be fun if everyone is drinking alcohol, and these days, alcohol is present in most social settings. Marketing wins. Profits made.
However, the negative consequences of alcohol consumption are never promoted by the alcohol companies. Sure, they may throw in a "Please drink responsibly" at the end, but they rarely say, "Consuming our product is actually poisonous for your body," or "Consuming our product could cause your loved ones to lose respect for you," or "Consuming our product could cost you thousands and thousands of dollars ... in numerous different ways."
Consuming our product could compel you to make terrible decisions that may, ultimately, ruin or end your life ... or someone else's.
For 21 years, we're led to believe that drinking alcohol is this cool thing that only adults get to do. So what happens when we turn 21? Rejoice! We can now do this super-cool, previously-forbidden thing! Our friends throw us a huge party and encourage us to drink as much alcohol as we can! Sometimes, our family also encourages it! You can finally drink with your Mom or Dad? How cool!
Then what happens? Alcohol begins to become a regular part of our lives. A new habit is formed. Before you know it, you've lost the innocence of social interactions without alcohol. You've forgotten how to soberly engage with others, because now everyone has a drink in their hand. Everyone is now under the influence ... of marketing and its corresponding social conditioning.
It's crazy ... alcohol is the only drug that you have to convince others that it's okay to not have. If I came to a party and said, "Hey guys, I'm not a crack-smoker, so if there's any crack around, please don't offer it to me," that would generally be respected, and seen as normal. Yet, if you're alcohol-free and get offered a drink at a party, people look at you like you're strange if you don't choose to drink alcohol ... and will often try to push it on you ... or try to understand why you're not drinking!
My journey to a Sober lifestyle has been a Process. In my second book, I even have a chapter entitled "The Power of Sobriety," where I highlight my moments of clarity when I'd be Sober for a while. Back then, I didn't really think I had a drinking problem, so as an effort to convince myself of this, I'd do "30 Day Challenges," just to "reset" and essentially prove that I had everything under control. So, once the 30 days were up, I'd dust off my beer koozie and go back to drinking.
However, I never really considered giving up alcohol completely, because it was something that had just become a part of my "adulting" routine. You meet up with your homies, and y'all drink beer and talk trash. Then it evolved to the point where I'd want to drink after a long day's work, and since I've always generally worked nights, that would mean I'd be drinking alone.
Now, please don't feel sorry for me ... as referenced in one of my books, Solitude is a key ingredient to a balanced life. As you can see from my pics, I have lots of wonderful friends and can be a social butterfly when the situation warrants it. However, I also value my time alone, and as my Pops says, sometimes your best thinking comes when you're "Drinkin' and Thinkin'." This is both true and false; it really depends on the person.
Every individual has their own reasons for wanting to eliminate alcohol from their lives. Here's mine: HANGOVERS.
I'm just tired of waking up and feeling like shit. It's no longer a sensible wager. A few hours of drinking and "letting loose" isn't worth waking up feeling awful the next day ... or several days, before you return to normal. So, I've re-framed the alcohol thing in my mind. I now understand that alcohol is a poison, and when I choose to ingest it, my body lets me know that its poison, in the form of making me feel like shit the next day, as it does me the favor of eliminating the poison.
I now look at it like this: "I'm not giving up alcohol ... I'm giving up poison-hangovers!"
I recently completed a 100 Day Challenge called "Operation, Run Forrest," that included no alcohol. It inspired my Let's Go Brandon RV Tour, which was one of the best experiences of my life, and I doubt it would've happened unless I was Sober. You can read about that amazing experience in the TOUR section. After completing the mission, I had already planned to drink beer to celebrate my 100 days, and gauge how I felt after going so long without alcohol. Well, as to be expected ... I felt like shit the next day ... and the day after that.
That inspired me to create a new challenge for the Spring ... that I'm calling "Operation Sober Seven Spring." I've found that it's important to cultivate new habits while replacing old habits ... like drinking alcohol. During my previous challenge, I learned to love running. I also committed to 15 minutes of daily meditation, and 15 minutes of daily reading. This was an effort to bring harmony to my Body, Spirit, and Mind.
7 is the number of Perfection or Completion, so for the new challenge, I'm going to remain alcohol-free, and run a minimum of 7 miles per week, combined with 7 minutes of daily meditation and 7 minutes of daily reading OR gratitude journaling. This will allow me to continue "perfecting" my Body, Spirit, and Mind.
I realize I'm downgrading the amount of running, reading, and meditating from my previous challenge, but I'm moving into lawn-care season, so I have to be mindful of my time-management, and keep everything in balance. The most important element is staying away from the alcohol.
Tag along with the challenge if you feel inspired to do so. If you'd like to SPRING into a New Life that doesn't include alcohol, I'd encourage you to start by watching YouTube videos from Sober Leon.
1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
While recently encouraging one of my best pals to join me on The Sober Path, I was inspired to say the following: "It's never too late ... until it's too late."
I wish you the best of luck on your journey.