Alcohol is the clearest example of a drug that we, at least in western society, look to as a panacea in spite of a preponderance of evidence that it makes many of our lives worse. The more we rely on it as a social lubricant, the more dependent on it we become — and the worse we become at communicating with one another while not under its influence. In this way, alcohol strikes me as the perfect example of what evolutionary theorist David Krakauer calls a “competitive cognitive artifact” — an “innovation” which, far from improving our overall ability to overcome adversity, actually undermines our ability to function without it.
In that sense, a person is speaking directly with belief that they are not a smoker. It’s a subtle, nuanced difference, but they are using their language to affirm their identity. For me, this was an important step. I was not “trying to quit alcohol.” From the first day I decided to quit, I was a person that didn’t drink. I identified with that. I found pride and confidence in my stance.
The third and deepest layer is changing your identity. This level is concerned with changing your beliefs: your worldview, your self-image, your judgments about yourself and others. Most of the beliefs, assumptions, and biases you hold are associated with this level.
I started to get to know myself. I realized how much I actually didn’t like to go to clubs, noisy bars, and packed festivals. I realized that by numbing myself to these events I built a tolerance to these environments, and simultaneously subdued my real interests. My eyes were finally fully open. How long was I living like a fucking robot, going through the motions, tolerating surroundings that I genuinely despised?
Hangovers are a gateway drug to apathy. When I’m hungover I don’t contribute to causes I care about the way I need to. I don’t strive to achieve my goals and ambitions because I’m too tired. I don’t give myself time and energy to do things I promise myself I’m going to do. I eat like shit and avoid exercise because I feel lazy. Forget my habits, a nap sounds way better.
…rition can be forgiven for thinking the mainstream media just doesn’t know what it’s talking about. A consumer researching various popular diets, for example — whether Paleo, South Beach, or even the widely discredited Atkins — will find whatever she wants to find, pro or con. You want a reason to drop that South Beach diet and join Weight Watchers? You’ll find it. You want…