Part IV: The MEDS…This could be the most important step.
“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” — Michael Korda
Have you ever seen Limitless with Bradley Cooper?
It has been always one of my favorite movies because I’ve always enjoyed the concept of someone starting at a lower station in life and then developing their skills to reach a much higher level.
And while Bradley may have cheated a bit by doing this through artificial means, I was still inspired by how someone could raise their level of thinking and consciousness in a manner that separates them from the average person.
When I stopped drinking, I began to think of myself as this Bradley Cooper character because I began to have a much higher awareness of so many things that were lost on me before.
Every morning as I got up to work on whatever activities were on my to-do list for the day, I would find my mind racing at a much higher capacity than I could recall any time recently before that.
Unencumbered with the weight of the previous night’s alcohol binge impairing my synapses’ ability to fire rapidly, I found my mind ready to work at a much more torrid pace as idea upon idea began to pop in my head.
This increased ability to think and comprehend things that were challenging for me before created an internal drive to push myself more mentally than I had ever done before. This then led to me evaluating a number of goals that I had set in life and increasing the magnitude of them since I felt they were too small for what I felt I was capable of now.
And while I didn’t realize it at the time, it was this decision that has probably been the biggest reason that I have remained alcohol-conscious for over two years and could be yours as well.
WHY THIS WORKS
In the past, when I would sit down to work in the morning, I would probably spend the first 60–90 minutes just shaking off the cobwebs of the previous night, waiting for my morning cup of coffee to kick in to get going.
Now, as I sat down, my mind began to race instantly, as I was no longer handicapped by my ability to think spatially and creatively about various opportunities in my life.
As I began to see more and more success from this newfound clarity of thought, I recognized that the reason I had not experienced this feeling since probably my first year in college was that alcohol had dulled this ability, and if I wanted to keep this mental sharpness, then drinking again couldn’t really be in the cards.
I have always had pretty lofty goals and had done relatively well, but I was always a bit short with my ability to do ALL that I wanted. Now, I had this new feeling that was like having a superpower, and I knew that the goals that I previously had were not large enough for this new me.
In fact, they were too small if you think about how much more time, energy, and focus I had now that I wasn’t drinking, and I needed to use this ability to do things that I couldn’t do before.
Therefore, I upped my workout regiment, increased my reading intensity, and began to push myself to learn more things than I ever had before. The workload was a bit aggressive, but I was able to maintain it in my alcohol-conscious state, and if I wanted to continue on this path, going back to drink was not an option.
If you create similarly aggressive goals that could not be achieved by your previous drinking self, then, once you see the results of your efforts and how you are able to do things of which you only dreamt before, you’ll find that it’ll become a strong deterrent of you ever deciding to go back to your old self.
Once you begin to make progress and realize how you can become someone that you never thought you could’ve before, you’ll know that there is no way you can go back to your old way of living and continue to develop yourself in the same manner.
The new person you are becoming will be what prevents you from drinking again because they will no longer exist if you try to fall back into the ways of your previous life.
YOU CAN’T ONLY HAVE AVERAGE GOALS
I now believe that not having high enough goals is one of the main reasons that a number of people relapse.
One of the biggest fallacies that many people have when they make the decision to give up drinking is that it will solve ALL of their problems.
This is just not true.
Alcohol is generally not the cause of all of your problems, but it does make it almost impossible to effectively deal with them in a manner that will provide any lasting success.
For this reason, when many people stop drinking, there is an intense honeymoon phase of 60–90 days (longer for some) in which it appears that EVERYTHING is getting better. They are sleeping better, exercising more, and just have an overall better disposition than they can remember for some time.
Once this time of sober-blissfulness wears off, however, they are stuck with the reality that much of their life is still somewhat similar to what it was before just WITHOUT the consistent escape product that allowed them to not have to think or worry about their problems for a while.
Now, they are forced to deal with various issues head-on and are forced to get out of their comfort zone to face things that they had probably completely ignored in the past.
Some of these issues could relate to relationships with others, working in a job that they despise, or just generally feeling that they don’t have an overall purpose or direction in life.
For some, the weight of these feelings and the realization that things are not going to automatically get better is enough to make some people throw up their hands and think they absolutely need to drink just to drown out the sorrow that is the reality of their lives.
Therefore, to prevent falling into this trap, individuals need to create specific goals that are related to their newfound “superpower” of clarity of thought, focus, and time and put it into something that will be a deterrent to any desire to drink again.
Why this goal can’t be an average goal is that if you can achieve it without have extra clarity of thought or the time that comes with being alcohol-conscious, then it won’t provide the same power to deter you from drinking again.
You need something that when you think about trying to do it and drinking again, you know there is absolutely no way that you can do both. Therefore, you know that if you go back to drinking, then you are giving up on this dream.
HOW TO DO THIS
First, you must identify several lofty goals that will push you to the max of your current mental and physical ability, so the only way you will even come close to achieving them is to stay alcohol-conscious and build upon your mental and physical progression over time.
This needs to be something that you always wanted to do but never thought you could, like learning a new language, picking up a new hobby, or getting in the best shape of your life.
It has to be something that has always excited you but in which you never thought you had the mental capacity or time to achieve.
I am a big believer in writing down your goals if you want to be successful, so I would suggest taking some time to figure out what things you want to accomplish and then what behaviors that you are willing to implement to do so.
If you dedicate yourself to your new BIG goals, what could you hope to achieve in each of those time frames? Now, for each of the goals, identify one to three commitments that you are going to make that will help you in this endeavor.
For example, if your goal is to lose 20 lbs, then you may want to make a commitment to work out each morning for 30 minutes and keeping your calorie intake to 1500 or less per day.
If you want to learn a new language or hobby, then you may want to make a commitment to practice/study 30–60 minutes each day and then eventually take a dedicated class in 3–6 months.
You have to make a specific plan on what you are going to do and how you are going to do it to make it real and effective for you. You should then post it in several places that you can see it as a reminder of the lofty goals that you have for yourself now that your old self would never be able to achieve.
Now, if the thought of ever going back to your pre-alcohol-conscious self comes up, you will have these goals to deter you and keep you motivated on why you can NEVER go back to your old self.
And while there is no guarantee that these feelings will completely go away, as you see more and more success in your new focus to achieve the things of which you may have never thought you were capable, your motivation and goals will get even bigger.
So big in fact, you know there is no way you would be willing to lose them to become your mediocre self again.