Saying is believing and believing is doing.
“Your words become your world.” — Nadeem Kazi
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When I stopped drinking, a lot of people couldn’t quite believe it.
I was the guy who was known to work hard and party harder and live a life of tomorrow is not promised.
I would often philosophize to my younger co-workers about how you only have one life to live and to not waste it on any regrets.
Therefore, when I started telling people that I was no longer taking multiple shots at a time on the weekend and driving my Uber bill through the roof, there is no doubt that many of them probably thought it was only temporary.
As one month turned into three months and three months turned into one year, I continued to share my decision to become alcohol-conscious with basically everyone I knew.
I was not shy at all as it related to letting people know that I was no longer a drinker. My friends would ask me out, and I had no problem going.
However, as I sat down at the bar and ordered a club soda or red bull instead of an alcoholic beverage, the questions would begin to come as to why I was not drinking and how long it would last.
For me, whether it was talking to a good friend who I had known for years or ending up in a conversation with a total stranger who was just curious, I often found the conversations with these individuals extremely helpful to ME before it was all said and done for a number of reasons.
It helped me realize I knew more than I thought I did
Often in these conversations, people would want to know my thought process and why I would make such a decision when I so clearly liked alcohol before.
As the conversation continued, I would find myself bringing up facts and data that I wasn’t quite aware had soaked into my brain and giving a rather convincing argument as to why I had decided to remove this from my life.
I never presented the information in a way to try to convince others that they should give up drinking, but I would try to be very neutral and factual in my sharing of information.
As I did this more and more, however, I began to realize how much better I was at presenting the information in a cohesive way that wasn’t bullying but still clearly demonstrated the choice that was more considerate of the long term implications.
This isn’t to say that I changed anyone’s mind or converted anyone that day, but I do feel like it laid a seed for that person to consider it in the future and possibly have it blossom one day.
It reinforced the truths that I already knew
Anyone that has ever been down this path knows that times can get hard if you let them, and it’s good to have something that is pulling you away from going back to drinking.
For me, one of these things was all the lessons that I would remind myself of while sharing my point of view and knowledge with others.
While I knew that alcohol consciousness was my decision, there could be weak times in my first six months in which I would wonder if it really made sense to give up something that had given me so much joy for so long.
As I was spouting off all the reasons why I decided to stop drinking in the first place, as well as all the benefits I’ve received during that time, it’s as if my mind was hit with an electric shock that instantaneously helped me realize that I would lose more going back than I would to stay where I was and continue forward.
There was something called “feedback hypothesis” taking place, in which by saying the positive reasons of my new lifestyle out loud, I was subconsciously reinforcing my commitment to this decision by focusing more on the positives than the negatives.
It’s one of the things athletes use to pump themselves before a game and has also been known to help people mentally identify things faster because of the increased focus on that one thing.
This technique can help you focus on all the positives things you have been able to accomplish since making this decision and keep the negative self-talk at bay.
As I continued to work through this knowledge and learn more and more about alcohol consciousness in general, I became somewhat proud that my knowledge was growing and I could share it with many people.
This ultimately led me to the third reason that I would suggest to share it with others
It helped me create a new identity
As I continued to tell more and more people about my decision to not drink again, I soon became known as the “sober” one.
This led to some of my Facebook friends asking me how I did it and people congratulating me on my success.
This created a new persona and standards to which I had to live.
While societal peer pressure is often a bad thing, and AINYF has a specific section (Society vs Sobriety) that gives people advice and insight on how to overcome it, it can be good if there is outside pressure to ensure you do things in a positive manner.
When I started sharing with everyone how I had decided to put my life of drinking behind me and focus on my future instead of my past, I went from being partying Ken who always had big plans for the upcoming weekend to sober Ken who was now focused on being completely healthy both mentally and physically.
With the creation of this publication and the sharing with others how I was able to be successful in my alcohol consciousness, I began to see how much I could help people make this decision for themselves.
This taught me that my decision could be more than just about me and my life but also about how much I could be a sense of inspiration for others to do so as well.
There is that well-known Spiderman saying of “With great power comes great responsibility” that I feel my life is guided by now.
While giving up drinking isn’t exactly a “power,” I do feel as if I have been extremely fortunate to have figured out how much better my life is without alcohol and feel an immense obligation to help others discover this as soon as possible as well before it’s too late.
A responsibility that I appreciate and will never take lightly…