Be patient because it does get better with time.
“Good and evil increase at compound interest. That’s why the little decisions we make every day are of infinite importance.” — C.S. Lewis
I was talking to a friend the other day, and he was letting me know that he decided to take a week off from drinking based on reading some of the articles here at AINYF and was amazed at the positive influence it was having on him.
He cited many of the things that we discuss here all the time:
- Increased clarity of thought
- More energy and focus in the morning
- A general overall feeling of happiness
I laughed as I shared with him how I felt it made me feel like a superhero in the morning, and why I would never go back to drinking now because I never wanted to lose this feeling again.
As he continued to share all of the amazing things he was feeling, I did had to let him know that there would be a time that an apparent lull will happen and it will seem that he is not seeing the same increased clarity of thought that he saw before.
This usually happens about the 3–6 month point in which individuals will pass that initial honeymoon stage of alcohol-consciousness during which everything seems to get better every day and reach a plateau in which they realize that sobriety will not solve ALL of their problems.
For some, this will cause them to decide to go back to drinking, as they will begin to think one of two things:
- They will be able to maintain the gains they made from drinking while going back to imbibing on a regular basis or
- Since stopping drinking can’t solve ALL of their problems, they should just go back to drinking so they can feel better about those things that it doesn’t solve.
What they don’t realize is that although the exponential growth that they experienced may have come to an end, there are still smaller, more incremental changes that are taking place each day that are building upon themselves, and soon they’ll recognize substantial growth through what I call the AC Compound Effect.
What is the AC Compound Effect?
The AC Compound Effect is a derivative of Darren Hardy’s book and term The Compound Effect, in which he discusses how successful people don’t get their abilities and skills overnight, but this is something that takes years and years of work and practice.
The reality is that during many of these years, they only see a very small change from day to day and may think that they are somewhat wasting their time because they cannot see any significant growth as they work so hard.
For many people, this is enough to make them give up and eventually say it’s not worth it, and they will begin to explore other things than stay the course related to their commitment.
What they don’t realize is that underneath the daily sacrifice, their skills are slowly getting better each day. They cannot see it, but they are experiencing that 1% growth that has been discussed.
One percent growth doesn’t look like a lot each day and will initially look like nothing is happening, but when you compound this growth day after day and stay committed to the course of action, it will eventually explode into a hockey stick growth chart that will allow you to hit your inflection point and see massive growth over a short period of time.
How does it work?
From a growth standpoint, when you first stop drinking, the change will be almost automatic.
You will begin to think clearer, have more energy, and wake up each day feeling like the world is your oyster.
As time progresses, however, that initial high that you got from abstinence will begin to lessen, as it will become more of your baseline and homeostasis as compared to your previous low of emotions.
When this happens that daily excitement that you used to feel waking up and getting after the day will not be as apparent, and you will actually get used to the feeling of clear-headedness and ability to focus.
When this happens, it is imperative that you then identify something that you can then use to continue to push your brain to greater mental strength and development by identifying some type of hobby in which you would not have been able to do before if you were drinking.
As shared in Exercise…Hobbies…Sugar? Why You Need SOMETHING to Replace Alcohol, it is important that you occupy your mind with something that will push and challenge it intellectually to keep you focused on a future goal that will require the very best of you.
This will require you to then commit to something that would make it difficult for you to achieve if you ever went back to drinking.
Having a goal or something to shoot for that will require you to be a much more developed version of yourself will then allow you to be able to more easily see the growth that you are making due to your decision to become alcohol-conscious.
If you are not creating goals for yourself that require you to be more focused and zoned-in on your future, then the everyday monotony of an uninspired life may make you desire to just go back to drinking because there isn’t really anything driving you each day.
However, when you create a long term vision and goal of the type of person you want to be and how you can get there by remaining sober, you create somewhat of a measuring stick that you can use to see how far you’ve come and how much further you have to go.
It happens slowly, but it’s happening
The important thing to remember is that you have to be patient with yourself and know that your commitment to whatever endeavor you are pursuing will pay off with time.
As with anything that is worth working for, you will not see the results quickly and many times you will think that you are not making any progress at all.
Many studies have been done over time, and it’s proven that generally, the difference between a novice and an expert at something is the commitment to do it long-term.
But just how the best professionals in many different areas commit to the plan and don’t let the lack of apparent results discourage them, you have to know that your mind and body are healing themselves without alcohol to hold them back anymore.
While you may feel the same, there is underlying growth and development taking place either physically or mentally that is giving you a much better chance of being successful at whatever endeavor you are pursuing, and if you continually focus on gaining more mental or physical strength, eventually you’ll surpass your 10,000 hours and see the development of a brand new person seemingly come out of “nowhere.”
And while we are discussing the use of specific goals as a measuring stick to help you more easily identify the progress you’re making with time, you’ll also experience growth in other areas that are a bit more difficult to measure but will be there nevertheless.
Whether this is something intrinsic such as personal confidence or something external such as your overall ability to communicate with others in a comfortable manner, be patient with yourself, trust the process, and know that your decision to live a life of alcohol-consciousness is helping you become the person you’ve always desire to be.
It won’t happen overnight, but nothing that is truly worth anything ever does.