Quitters Never Drink and…
One year ago tomorrow, I stopped drinking alcohol completely.
Maybe it’s forever. Maybe not. But it probably is. Stay with me here a sec…
My reasons for making this change in my life are perhaps different than what you might expect. I didn’t have a drinking problem. I was not and am not an alcoholic. I simply decided to stop. At first I just stopped ‘for today’ as my wise and knowing friend Matt suggested. First a week and then a month. And then God seemed to be saying ‘how bout taking a year off’.
But hang on. I was (and still am) at a major high point in my life. I wasn’t on the rocks or at a place where I felt that I just had to quit. No, quite the contrary. I live a BIG and busy and awesome life. I travel a LOT and everyday was another cocktail party at another cool event it seemed. Life was and is a bowl of Cherry Garcia. But, I want to reach higher. I want to achieve even more. I want to live more. I want to live bigger and better and bolder and with more joy. I came to the conclusion that ‘more of life’ for me meant no more alcohol.
Nearly everyone I know drinks. Many of them drink a whole lot. I drank a whole lot. In hindsight I can’t even believe how many plans and decisions were completely influenced-if not completely decided by-the plan to drink and to be tired and/or blasted and/or unable to drive and/or unable to rise well in the morning. I didn’t see all of that clearly when I was still drinking. It was just baked so deeply into the DNA of my life. Most likely, you can’t see it in your life either. Trust me on that one. And it’s not that there’s anything terribly wrong with that. It’s just that you don’t know that there IS more life available to you without alcohol but you just don’t even know that it’s a thing. I didn’t know that this was a thing.
What I’ve learned about myself (and about you too) in the last year is the most important part of what I want to share. Here it is. Even when you’re sober, you’re not as sober as you think. You’re not living as well as you think. The way we all drink is hurting us more than you can realize-until you’ve stopped for months and months. If you want more life in your life, stop drinking for a long long time. I think you’ll be amazed at what happens in your world! It will blow your mind. New Years is coming up. I double dog dare you.
I’ve gone sober for days or weeks many times. I’ve walked through spiritual fasts of 3, 7 and 21 days. I can tell you now that I wasn’t fully sober (as I now understand it) until 3 or 4 months after I quit. There was a point this year where my thinking and my motivation for life and my clarity reached a place that I just didn’t know existed. If you’ve been drinking for your entire adult life and you have not gone 6 months completely without alcohol then you don’t realize-you couldn’t possibly realize-that part of what’s possible in your life is actually missing. There’s a clarity and a clear joy that you’ve never experienced.
So, don’t be fooled. Don’t be lulled into submission by that other voice who tells you ‘it’s no big deal’ and ‘this is how everyone lives’. Quitting alcohol is not just for those who can’t hold their liquor. No, quitting alcohol is for winners who want to win even more. It’s for big thinkers who want to think even bigger!
Full disclosure… … I can’t hit publish on this post without sharing a few little secrets. #1. I drank about 4 oz of a mojito back in June. I was in Miami Beach with my wife, Sherri. It just sounded really good at the time. It gave me a headache and made me feel terrible for about 48 hours. I’m so glad I did that because it just strengthened my resolve and reminded me why I had quit! #2. I also smoked plenty of pot in recent years. In fact, I love it. I still love it. It’s far better than drinking alcohol (imho). But, I quit doing that too. I quit both at that same time and for the same reasons. I miss pot way more than I miss alcohol. If I was going to pick up again with one or the other, given the (soon to be legal) choice I’d pick the Mary Jane every time! (judge me if you must but don’t question what I’m telling you if you ain’t had a taste)
But… Life is far better without all of it I promise you. Reaching higher for bigger goals and more LIFE and more living blows away the ‘high’ of ‘mere alcohol’. Being more present and more able to live and love matter far more than the dirty comfort of a little buzz. Oh and I’ve lost 25 or so pounds. It should be far more than that but hey, -25 is a pretty good year in my book.
Now if I can just quit the sugar I’ll be all set! “God, please take away my desire for sugar and for anything that moves me away from my plan to live 105 years of vibrant life.” That is my plan and my goal. Bill Watkins seems to think my goal is not high enough. He’s a pain in the ass like that. :)