John Mayer’s Sobriety Lesson

He basically asked himself how great did he want to be going forward…


“I just went, ‘You know, I think I’m done.’ It’s like Forrest Gump running and he just stops running at some point. ‘I think I’m out.’ So I punched out.” — John Mayer

Before John Mayer was known as the man who broke Taylor Swift’s heart, he was known as a melodic crooner whose amazing voice was unlike anything anyone had heard up to that time.

With seven Grammy’s under his belt, as well a number of successful albums, his career has been a success by any scope of the imagination.

However, it took him waking up one day from a six-day hangover to decide that perhaps his drinking life was not serving what he felt he had left in his musical career.

There is something very profound that we can learn in John Mayer’s decision to stop drinking related to how each of us can view our lives and our futures.

How much has it held us back?

When John Mayer made the decision to no longer drink, it was already after a pretty successful music career.

As shared, he had already won seven Grammy’s up to that point and was seen as one of the top singers of his generation. His respect in the music community was solidified, and many people viewed him as someone who had achieved some pretty impressive things.

For him, he thought about specifically how much time he had left in his music career and how much effort did he want to be able to put into it to be as successful as possible. As quoted,

“I looked out the window and I went, ‘OK, John, what percentage of your potential would you like to have? Because if you say you’d like 60, and you’d like to spend the other 40 having fun, that’s fine,’” he said. “‘But what percentage of what is available to you would you like to make happen? There’s no wrong answer. What is it?’ I went, ‘100.’”

For John, he already had tremendous success that anyone would be happy with, but for him, that was not enough for where he wanted to take the future.

The question was not about what he had accomplished in the past, but how much more could he accomplish in the future.

How much can it hold us back?

This is the ultimate lesson from Mayer.

Many times, people look at the amount of money they have in the bank as well as the type of car they drive or house they live in and think that is a true indicator of their success and how well things have been going for them.

And while the outside, physical items that we own are an external indicator of our ability to acquire things from a monetary standpoint, they are not always a true indicator of achieving the level of success of which we may be ultimately capable.

When I was drinking heavily, some people would look at my life and say that it was a success, as I had a fair amount of money in the bank and could do pretty much what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, but the true question for me was knowing that I wasn’t 100% unequivocally living up to what I thought was my highest potential of success.

I knew in my heart that I was living a life of mediocrity based on what I believed I should be doing and of which I was capable.

So then the question became was I willing to allow what I believe was a much better version of myself lay dormant inside of me, or was I willing to give up a good life with alcohol to create a great life without.

And that’s the question we all have to ask ourselves at times when are wondering how different our lives will be without alcohol and if giving it up will be worth it. This natural FOMO is what keeps many people in their prisons of sameness because of the unknown of being sober.

I think there is another way you can look at it, however.

This fear shouldn’t be of what you will be missing out on because you no longer drink but instead should be the fear of missing what you truly could become if you are brave enough to give it a try.