Last July I visited family in Ireland and went to a breathwork retreat with my dad and sister with Ronan from Breathwave Ireland. It was a great reset and gave me a lot of clarity on what I needed to do.
For the previous 12 months, I had been traveling pretty intensely from Australia, to Thailand, and around Europe. I spent no longer than 4 weeks at each destination.
It was a real adventure and a ton of fun especially as my business was growing quickly throughout this but as work got busier I noticed I was using alcohol more than I wanted to.
As the days got longer, overwhelm increased and I would use alcohol to unwind. Even though I’d rarely had more than 2 drinks, I could see this becoming a negative pattern. It was clear that I needed to find healthier ways to relax and destress without alcohol.
I also made a promise to myself that I would complete my first book in 2022. So when I set down and reflected on the one change I could make to my lifestyle that would maximize my energy and minimize poor decision-making, cutting alcohol was the obvious choice.
Most of the information I read about quitting alcohol was positive. I’ll share my lessons and also what negatives I’ve experienced over the year without alcohol.
1. I’ve made better decisions
When I quit alcohol last July the first step I took was finding an assistant coach to help me. I’d been kicking the can down the road and when I talked to other coaches with bigger businesses they all shared the same thing “If you think you need help, you’ve waited too long”.
Since Brad has joined my team, my coaching program has improved dramatically. It’s freed me up to give my clients a better experience and the results are backing this up.
The amount of changes we have made since then has been remarkable and wouldn’t have been possible if I was repeating my patterns from earlier in 2022.
2. It improved my social life
I’ve socialized more in than last 12 months without alcohol than previous years even though I haven’t been drinking.
A large reason behind this has been bachata dancing. Instead of going to the pub to drink, I go to a dance party and dance.
I found if I have the desire to have a drink, it usually subsides within the first 30 minutes after I relax into the new setting.
3. My overall health feels better
The past 12 months have felt very stable from a physical and emotional health side of things. Training has felt great, injuries haven’t been an issue and my mood has been very stable throughout.
I struggled with mouth ulcers for most of my life, the past year they have been almost non-existent. There are a lot of factors that have led to this and living without alcohol is most likely one of them.
4. Less mistakes without alcohol
The older I get the more I see the value of making less dumb decisions. I don’t need to make amazing decisions if I can avoid making dumb ones. On a longer time horizon, the impact of these changes will be staggering.
Whether it’s a coincidence or not, the last 12 months without alcohol have been the best from a business, training, and health perspective. It’s not that alcohol magically fixed all these areas, but it has definitely had an impact.
5. It’s made me question societal behaviors
I find it interesting to question and analyze behaviors that we do automatically as a society. Being Irish, it’s an automatic behavior to drink alcohol.
And it’s reinforced when you travel, “oh you’re Irish, let’s have a drink”.
But when you break down the downsides of alcohol, it’s not really worth it (for me). If someone recommended this substance that:
– racked your energy
– your mood
– your motivation
– increased the likelihood of you taking part in high-risk behavior,
you’d probably avoid it.
6. It’s not a fix it all
I’ve spent most of this post writing about all the benefits of living without alcohol. But what became clear over the course of this year is that whatever I used alcohol to help me pacify moved to another activity.
In IFS therapy they call this a firefighter response. For example, if you feel stressed, you have a drink to ease this stress.
Since I removed alcohol, I’ve noticed that I use food much more now as an emotional crutch. If I feel overwhelmed I will go to food and treats instead of alcohol to ease it.
This is something that will take time to continually work through but the big message here is, alcohol is a tool that you’re using.
If you remove this tool, the underlying issue is still there and something else will slot in to ease whatever pain you are feeling.
Getting to the root cause of that pain that is triggering the impulsive behavior is where real change occurs.
But I see massive benefits from moving away from alcohol when difficult emotions come up.
Will I ever drink again?
Most likely, but less frequently than before. Maybe at a wedding or a celebration of some sort.
But I don’t miss it at all and as I’ve outlined already, the positives have far outweighed the negatives.
Should you give it up? It depends on what you want you want to change.
If you want more energy, a more stable mood, and higher resilience to stress then it’s something to consider.
You can always schedule a call to discuss with me about how you can improve your lifestyle and find more energies and live better and healthier.