A simple case of addition by subtraction.
“We improve the quality of what we are doing by reducing the quantity of what we shouldn’t be doing.” — Doug Cooper
As I began my alcohol-conscious journey, I knew that there were going to be some people who were not going to be happy. I was prepared to lose a few fair-weather friends with whom I really didn’t share any major things in common, but surely the people that I really considered “my crew” would stay around?
And while it is true, I did maintain a few of my more long-term friendships, there were still a few that, unfortunately, fell by the wayside that I did not expect.
As time has progressed and the days have turned into months and the months into years, I have slowly realized that not only has this had a positive impact on my life and but this could also be one of the reasons that I was able to even succeed with my alcohol-consciousness in the first place.
There are a few reasons why.
YOU’LL REALIZE THAT THEY WERE HOLDING YOU BACK
When I say “holding you back” I don’t mean it in the sense that they didn’t want you to succeed. I doubt that is the case at all. Personally, I felt that many of my friends very much wanted me to achieve all the things for which I was striving.
However, what was holding me back was the person I was when I was with them. It was of no fault to them, but there was a side of me that was very much focused on living in the moment and just enjoying life as it came.
And while there is nothing wrong with that, at times, I would often be way more concerned about where the next day-party was or weekend trip was rather than trying to put in the work to accomplish the goals I wrote down for my yearly list.
I was trying to balance both sides of a life that were opposite, and it was difficult to ensure that I was giving my all to one side when the other side was pulling against me so strongly.
As shared in Why Work Hard|Play Hard Gets You NOWHERE In Life, trying to live a life that involves late-night parties until the sun comes up AND live a life that focuses on early morning workouts and getting the proper rest are about as compatible as you could imagine from reading this sentence.
My friends were awesome and the times we had together will forever remain as precious moments in my life.
However, all that time that I would do the exact same thing each weekend but just in a different bar or city didn’t really add to what I was trying to build for my future.
All of the money and time that I spent going out could be yielding me a much higher return right now had I invested it in so many other things than drinking and partying.
The time spent with them was enjoyable, but the opportunity cost that I paid was large, and why it was great that I was able to stop these behaviors as my alcohol-conscious journey continued.
IT’LL GIVE YOU TIME TO FIND NEW FRIENDS WHO CAN ADD MORE TO YOUR LIFE
The thing about drinking is that it is pretty all-consuming.
It’s not that you don’t want to do other things. It’s just that you have a tendency to only focus on things that involve drinking.
Therefore, most, if not all, of your friends will pretty much like to do the same thing. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there is something to be said for the value of having a diverse group of friends to see different perspectives on life and what’s important.
As the saying goes, “If you hang around five millionaires, you’ll eventually be the sixth.” So can guess what you’ll be if you hang around five people who drink and do nothing productive all the time?
As shared in The TRUE Reason You Will Lose Friend When You Quit Drinking, much of the time, the only thing I would do with my friends involved the same activities in different venues. As time progressed, it was always fun, but when it came to how much it helped me progress in life, It definitely wasn’t doing that.
However, as the desire for these nights on the town dissipated, along with my desire to drink copious amounts of alcohol, I found myself more interested in pursuing other things to occupy my time.
As I explored new hobbies like fitness, learning a new language, and investing, this has led me to meet a host of new people that I would’ve never met had I still been so focused on drinking.
These individuals have turned into mentors and mentees as well as just good friends who help me see the world from a different lens and give me a much broader perspective on what’s important in life.
Had I been in the state of mind to waste time consistently which I had been before, the chances of me meeting any of these people would’ve been slim to none.
I would’ve been way too focused on hanging out until the late nights and early mornings “yolo’ing it up” than to be able to find value in these individuals.
It was only when I lost my connection with some former friends that I was then able to find the time and perspective that these people had something different to offer that could provide more value for me on the path that I was now traveling.
IT’LL MAKE YOU FOCUS MORE ON YOU
As someone who has always believed that your success in life always begins with you, this was rather surprising to me.
While I felt I was consistently doing enough introspection to understand myself completely, it wasn’t until I gave up drinking and began to have way more time to reflect without alcohol clouding my clarity that I actually began to truly understand myself better.
When I was drinking, I do think that I did a better than average job as it relates to self-reflection, meditating, and deconstructing the things that were aiding in my quest for success and those things which were hurting me.
What I didn’t realize, however, was that during my times of drinking (sometimes every day), I would create a skewed sense of reality and was lying to myself about if I was REALLY putting in the time needed to achieve my goals.
While I was a bit further along than some of my friends during this time, I was still very much behind where I felt I should’ve been in life. And comparing myself to my current group of friends was not giving me the impetus and motivation needed to level-up.
To do this, I had to be “all in” as it related to self-reflection, being honest with myself, and identifying the hard truths that most people are afraid to admit to themselves.
When I was drinking and was so focused on hanging out every weekend and just enjoying the moments, I wasn’t giving myself enough time and energy to really dig into these things internally and come up with the answers that would allow me to see the changes that I needed to make.
When I stopped and didn’t have as many people to hang out with and do things with, I finally had the time and mental clarity to build upon the work I had done previously through my internal conversations and finally accepted what I would need to do if I really wanted to become the person that I desired.
Had I still been drinking, I wouldn’t have had the time, energy, or mental clarity to think in this manner. Losing friends gave me all three.
It wasn’t a tradeoff that I was necessarily happy about at the time, but I now realize it has given me the opportunity to live up to my full potential.
The question you have to ask yourself then is whether it’s a price you’re willing to pay.