How Alcohol Holds Us Back
It’s amazing to me how incredibly influential alcohol is in our culture. You can hardly turn on the TV, drive to the store or go out to dinner without seeing a commercial, billboard or neon beer sign.
It’s so widely accepted in America that there is a sense of pure ignorance to the numerous ways it harms our bodies from as little as one drink.
We’re led to believe that it helps us to loosen up, have more fun and as Billy Joel so eloquently puts it “forget about life for a while.” In many cases those effects are achieved.
But at what expense?
We all have dreams and desires to improve and enrich our lives. We all want to become better people.
The question is: Does alcohol do anything to help us improve or enrich our lives?
You may have stories like “I met my spouse at a bar,” or “I landed my job by connecting with someone over drinks.” Those stories are great and they help shape who you are today.
But how many less than great experiences have you had with alcohol?
How many times have you felt less than amazing the next morning and it’s impacted your mood, productivity and outlook on the day?
How many times has alcohol caused you to do or say something you later regretted?
What has alcohol prevented you from achieving?
The truth about alcohol is that it is a poison. It is a depressant.
It is a hinderance to your mind, body and spirit. It impedes on your growth and development as a person.
Maybe you want to start your own business, earn a promotion or be a better spouse, parent, friend, etc. Those are fulfilling desires that take an incredible amount of focus, energy and willpower. They have incredible long term benefits but the work to see those benefits is no walk in the park.
The harsh reality is that alcohol depletes your focus, energy and willpower. Even one drink the night before can produce “brain fog” that hinders us from operating at 100%. Compound that with a drink or two a few nights a week and the 100% focus, energy and willpower needed to achieve your goals feels like a pipedream.
Many of us have grown used to this “fog” and have developed habits to accommodate for it. Things like hangover remedies, sleeping in, not planning too much for the next day because we know how we’re probably going to feel.
WHY do we do this to ourselves? Why do we make accommodations for a substance that essentially does nothing good for us?
You don’t have to identify as an addict or someone with an alcohol problem to realize that alcohol in most cases is not in service of you attaining the better life you desire. If you can connect with that realization the next question becomes:
What would my life be like if I cut out alcohol?
This question can induce a myriad of emotions ranging from excitement to fear. These emotions can then evoke more questions like:
What would my nights out be like? What would my mornings be like? How would I feel? What would my friends think of me? How would I socialize? Would I still be accepted?
I can speak from experience as someone who has recently decided to cut out alcohol (131 days at the time of this writing) that these questions are hard to wrestle with and they don’t just go away. I can also say that cutting out alcohol was one of the best decisions of my life.
I feel better. I look better. My marriage is stronger. I’m a better father. I bring more energy, passion and focus to my work. I’m a better friend. I bring more authenticity to the world.
Are there times that I miss the natural connection that drinking can facilitate?
Do people give me shit about my decision not to drink?
Does it often seem like a better option to just have a drink to wind down and relax?
I’ve also noticed that as I allow these urges to drink to pass that it makes me more confident in who I truly am and how I show up in the world.
The connections I do cultivate are more real than the ones facilitated through drinking.
I no longer sacrifice my future in order to numb my present.
It. Feels. Awesome.
It feels so awesome that it has sparked a deep desire in me to provide people the education and tools they need to move on from their relationship with alcohol if they so desire and live a life where they are fully seeking fulfillment and purpose.
It’s called The No Alcohol Project.
If you (or anyone you love) has a desire to limit or completely eliminate alcohol’s effects on your life I encourage you to come along on this journey. If nothing else it can raise your level of awareness of how alcohol affects you when you do choose to drink.
I’d love to hear more about your own stories, struggles and successes. Share it in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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