And How You Can Become Much Better At Them Than Ever Before.
“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” — Henry David Thoreau
That feeling of learning something new or experiencing something for the first time can be extremely uncomfortable for a lot of people. So many people would like to skip past this part as quickly as possible and feel like an expert overnight if they can.
And while that would be nice if it were possible, life just doesn’t work that way. We have to pay our dues and go through these uncomfortable, awkward periods before we can come close to mastering whatever new skill we’re trying to learn or challenge we’re trying to overcome.
The multitude of ways alcohol affects us are so many that I would go well over the 7-minute recommended Medium length if I went into all of them. One of the most important ones to note, however, is the harmful effect alcohol has on our ability to learn and pick up new skills.
I talk about this in detail in the AINYF article Why Alcohol KILLS Your Ability to Learn and How to Fix it. If you are looking for the science behind this, you will find it in that article.
For this particular article, however, we are going to focus on the top things you should be prepared to relearn after you stop drinking and how you can do so in a way that will make you better than you ever were before.
Socially, this is going to be one of the most difficult things to do initially. Many of us hate networking events even when we are drinking, so you can only imagine how uncomfortable it can become when you’re not drinking.
The reality is, however, that you can become a master networker if you are able to push through this initial feeling of awkwardness and focus on ways to improve your networking skills in a conscious manner.
What I mean by a conscious manner is that you need to focus on improving the subtle skills that are going to make you a better networker. Most likely, when you were drinking, you thought that you would just show up, talk to people, and everything would take care of itself.
Now that you are alcohol conscious, however, you can focus on actively improving the various skills, e.g., small talk, active listening, and asking good questions, that you couldn’t focus on before.
While this will, admittingly, be tough at first, as you continue to have a clear head to build upon the lessons you’re learning each time, you’ll begin to improve and become way better than you ever were before.
This ability will slowly turn into you taking full advantage of networking events for the opportunities they truly are to make great connections related to your business and career, instead of just sucking down drink after drink, hoping it’ll be over soon.
Dating is going to be challenging because the reality is that you will not have that liquid courage that you had before to loosen you up when meeting someone new.
Whereas in the past, you may have been able to just look past things you may not have liked about that person because you were enjoying the moment with alcohol. Now that you’re sober, that’s going to be a bit more difficult.
Just as in the networking situation, you are going to have to work on some of the same skills to get to truly know the person better and get a feel if this is someone that you should be spending more time with or not.
This will allow you to make much better decisions when it comes to whether it makes sense to go on a second date and be much more discerning with whom you spend your time. There will be a number of people who will not interest you because they drink heavily and there will be a number of people who will not be interested in you because you don’t drink.
This will ultimately save you a lot of time and energy in the long run, and allow you to only spend time with those individuals with whom you truly have something in common (not just an alcohol-infused connection), enjoy their genuine company, and who like you for who you truly are.
There are many of you who probably have no problem with losing this, as you probably felt like you never actually had it.
However, dancing is one of the greatest joys in life. Scientifically, it has been proven that dancing is linked to a number of possible health benefits, including improved cognitive ability and reducing your risk of dementia by up to 76 percent.
For those of you who already felt confident that you could “cut a rug” with just a few shots in you, the stark reality of your first time seeing a dance floor without “the bubbly” getting you going can be as frightening as a Japanese Horror Film (for those who don’t know, the Japanese REALLY know how to do horror).
You used to wait on the alcohol to surge through your body, and as soon as one of your favorites jams came on, it was almost like you couldn’t keep yourself from getting out there.
Why does it now feel like your body wants to dance but yet you can’t quite find the courage to get out there and do it?
The easy answer is related to your inhibitions not yet being sufficiently lowered to put you in the “f*ck it” mode yet, but you can get there with a bit of time and effort.
The only thing you need to do in this situation to get your body moving and the party flowing is to do just that.
As shared in previous AINYF articles, your brain is a habit machine, and while, in this situation, it didn’t force your body to hit the dance floor because it didn’t have the usual flow of habits with you ingesting alcohol, it still remembers the patterns of the people around you having a good time and you in the middle of the dance floor enjoying it all.
Therefore, if you start moving and begin to perform your usual dance moves, your brain will slowly start to pick up that it’s time to perform and respond to you with your usual array of moves. The only caveat to this is that you will not have access to all of your alcohol-infused, Usher Raymond moves immediately.
You perfected many of those moves WHILE being intoxicated, and because of state-dependent memory, your brain cannot quite recall them in the same manner due to not being under the same neurological conditions in which they were originally learned.
The good thing about this is that you will be able to pull a fair amount of your usual moves from your repertoire with a bit of practice, and if you force through that initial awkwardness and fear, you’ll be back to dominating the dance floor in no time.
And, as an added bonus, now there is no risk of you getting a little too “jiggy” with it and surpassing that level of good time and excitement to possible embarrassment when your brain tells you that doing the worm is a good idea.
This is the one that can be a bit weird for many people.
As shared in Life is NOT More Exciting Sober, sex is going to be somewhat of a new activity for you at first. It’s not that you are not going to know how to do it. That won’t be an issue at all.
The problem is going to be at actually get it started.
It often seems that the mood is just right and it often just “happens.” What most people don’t realize is that a lot of this “happening” is directly related to the lowering of inhibitions caused by alcohol, and when you are put in a situation in which you don’t have that effect, you can be stuck waiting for someone to make the first move.
To get over this, it’s going to be very similar to the dancing situation.
First, you have to ensure that the person that you are considering intimacy with is ready for that step in your relationship. Hopefully, this situation will be in a good place due to you doing a much better job of dating these days, based on your new-found alcohol-consciousness.
Once you are past this step, the next step is to just get started. Get things started with a kiss or some massaging that will get the blood going and mind flowing.
It can be a bit awkward at first because your body is going to be slower to react since this is one of the first times you’re doing this without its buddy “Alky” inside.
However, just as the habit of dancing is still buried inside your brain, the natural flow of what to do next will begin to come to the forefront immediately, and you’ll find yourself back in the saddle in no time.
Also, due to many of the negative effects of alcohol on sexual performance, you’ll be surprised at how much better the experience will be overall…something I’m sure your partner will appreciate as well.
Life without alcohol is a whole new world, and while it can be a bit annoying to have to relearn a whole heap of things that you thought you were already good at, the benefits you’ll experience from learning these things can take your expertise to an entirely new level.