These four personalities probably would gain the most by giving it up.
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better (person)”. — Benjamin Franklin
While writing an article about my other passion, fitness, for the publication In Fitness and Health, I began to reflect on how I’ve been able to lose weight dramatically during the pandemic because I’ve been able to control my portion controls so much easier than I did before.
Thinking through why this was necessary to do so, I landed on the conclusion that I’ve always had an all-or-nothing personality.
I’m not sure where it came from, but from the earliest I can remember, whenever I did something, I wanted to do it as big and as grandiose as I could.
What this typically meant in relation to my diet was that whenever you put something in front of me, it was hard for me to control my ability to stop eating it if I really liked it.
For me it was enjoyable and good, so why would I regulate myself in any kind of way.
Extrapolate that same feeling and desire to drinking, and you have someone who can not just take one drink and remain in control but rather was pushed to consume as many drinks as possible to keep the party going.
This led me to reflect on the tremendous changes and growth that I’ve been able to make in my life since giving up drinking and that there are probably others out there just like me with the same type of personality that could benefit if they made the same decision.
Overall, I think there are probably four types of people who, if they gave up alcohol, would see a tremendous improvement in their lives based on how much it is a current crutch for them and holding them back in life.
The work hard/play hard business professional
This was me.
For as long as I could remember, the thought of pushing myself to the max was just what I did.
Regardless of what the exact “thing” was, I always wanted in some way to push myself to see how good I could be.
With work, this would often push me to get to the office early and work as long as possible to see how much I could accomplish and outwork my peers. With partying, this turned into me focusing on staying up as long as I could to ensure that I didn’t miss out on a good night of fun and excitement.
This inevitably turned into a feeling that tomorrow was not promised, and I had to do whatever I could to ensure that I was getting the most out of the day. This feeling of scarcity of time and opportunity drove me to always seek to end the day with some feeling of excitement or allure that it was a “good day.”
As you can imagine, the lack of congruence between these two lifestyles is as real in actuality as it appears on paper. I wrote about this in a previous article to explain how this famous quote is really a recipe for disaster in life long term.
For individuals focused on trying to do both, the inevitability is that you will never be as successful as you actually can be if you are always trying to party as much as possible also.
If you are truly driven to be as successful as possible from a business aspect, trying to equally push yourself to drink a substance that dulls your mental sharpness and helps you waste hours upon hours of potentially productive or much-needed sleep time just isn’t going to get you there.
This would be similar to a runner saying that she/he wanted to smoke as much as possible. The success of one is in direct conflict with the success of the other.
For those who truly want to succeed at business, giving up alcohol and focusing on maximizing their mental effectiveness and overall productivity will yield tremendous dividends in their future.
The party animal
I know this may seem weird since a party animal is probably defined by how much alcohol they drink and, subsequently, how much they party while doing it.
But this is precisely why this person would gain so much by giving it up.
Any life that is defined by putting a foreign substance that has been scientifically proven to be addictive over time is going down a path that more than likely will lead to destruction.
While things may be fun at the moment and some of the memories may be straight out of a movie, living a life that is all about partying will eventually catch up to you in a very bad way.
You only need to look at the lives and untimely deaths of some of the most famous celebrities to realize the truth of this.
From the fatal alcohol poisoning of someone like Amy Winehouse (26 years old) who was just getting started to the drug-mixed overdose of someone like Chris Farley (33 years old) who had so much more to offer to the world, living a life that is focused on ingesting a foreign substance to enjoy it is in danger of being a very short one.
When you are defined by how much you party and drink along with that activity, you increase the chances that you are putting yourself at risk of becoming the 12.7% of the American population who are clinically considered alcoholics.
If you choose to drink alcohol, it should be something that is done sparingly and in moderation, not something that defines who you are by the volume by which you consume it.
Individuals who find themselves falling into this category can change the complete trajectory of their life by letting this dangerous substance go.
The lonely and depressed
Alcohol is a depressant.
While this may seem weird because it seems to make many people happy and more lively in social settings, the reality is that alcohol depresses your central nervous system when you drink it.
This is why you feel so much more relaxed and calm while drinking, while at the same time it decreases your ability to think clearly and react quickly.
Outside of the depressing of your central nervous system, there is an interesting chemical balancing act taking place between endorphins and dynorphins in your body that aids in putting one in a state of depression after drinking.
In laymen’s terms, your body is trying to counteract the artificial spike of endorphins caused by alcohol by releasing endorphins to make you get back to baseline or homeostasis. However, the dynorphin released typically outweighs the endorphin release, and the more you drink, the more this variance between the two increases.
Ultimately, this leaves you feeling depressed at the end of the night when you are at home by yourself and no longer drinking. Therefore, the alcohol has stopped releasing any new endorphins, and you are left only with an abundance of dynorphins that leaves you feeling depressed and lonely.
And for someone who is already sad or feeling down, this only exacerbates that feeling and creates an increased feeling of loneliness and depression that could ultimately prove fatal for some.
Not only does drinking make depression and loneliness worse, but it has also been hypothesized that it can actually be the cause of depression, something that should warn anyone to decrease their use if they have any sense of this being an issue in their life.
The socially anxious…i.e., most people.
This is also something that I think I struggled with from time to time when I was drinking.
Not that I was overly anxious all of the time, but there were times in which I would be a bit anxious in groups of large people and would be so used to grabbing a drink to ease that feeling that it just became my natural remedy.
What this inevitably warped itself into was me feeling like I needed a drink to feel relaxed whenever I was in a social setting and was forced to speak to a number of different people with whom I was not already acquainted.
What was so interesting about this phenomenon is that I thought there was something wrong with me and the fact that I needed alcohol to help me feel more calm and natural in a room with a bunch of people that I didn’t know was just remedying that “wrong.”
What I didn’t realize was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, but I was just reacting normally to how a person would act in any given situation in which they are not accustomed, and I just needed to give myself some time to get accustomed to that situation to stop my body from physiologically responding in that way.
For example, when toddlers are first exposed to groups of people other than their parents, they are extremely shy and probably somewhat scared as this is a new situation for them and they are not sure how to react, so their body sends warning signals that makes them feel anxious.
If every time this happens, the parent would coax them to feel better by picking them up, patting them on the back, and by giving them some other type of snack each time they are around new people, they will associate these behaviors and the endorphins that it releases as what is needed to feel normal around others and will typically want this each time they are in this situation.
By doing this and not allowing them to work through these feelings naturally and getting used to these types of situations, we slow down their development in this area and will make this last longer rather than them getting used to this at a younger age.
This is the same thing we do when we drink alcohol in initially socially anxious situations.
We don’t allow our bodies and minds to work through the awkwardness and newness of the environment to get used to it but instead “pick” ourselves up, pat ourselves on the back, and give ourselves snacks (i.e., alcohol) to get through it.
This causes us to then associate alcohol with what is needed to get through this situation, as opposed to learning how to deal with it on our own and allowing our bodies to eventually feel normal in this type of environment without any external help whatsoever.
Anything that we learn while drinking is hard to do when we’re not drinking. So while we feel that are doing well in this environment and feeling comfortable with no issues making conversation under the influence, when we try to do these same things while sober, it seems almost impossible.
By only giving up alcohol and allowing your body to work through the difficulties of these situations without it as a crutch will you ever be able to truly feel comfortable in your own skin at all times, a feeling that is hard to put a price tag on in this game called life.
Alcohol is one hell of a drug.
It gives us so many things in life, but it invariably takes many things away as well.
While I personally feel that EVERYONE can benefit from leading an alcohol-conscious life, these four groups of people would probably have the most to gain if they would give it a try.
If you fall into one of these groups, perhaps today is your day to give it a shot. It seems there is so much to gain, so why not.
I have a feeling your future self will thank you.