Are you using one of these excuses?
“Every vice has its excuse ready.” ― Publilius Syrus
Whenever I tell people that I no longer drink, I generally get three groups of people.
The first look at me with a sense of awe, as if I did something absolutely out of this world. The second group look at me with a sense of sadness as if I just told them I can never have ice cream or cake again for the rest of my life. Last, the third group is generally very interested in my decision and will begin to make comments about how they don’t drink that much or how they have been considering giving it up or cutting it back for some time.
While all three are very different, they all seem to share one thing in common: very few of them will ever make the decision to actually give up alcohol.
Everyone has their different reasons, but often there are a few underlying themes that most people will share with each other as it relates to not ever being willing to take the leap into alcohol-consciousness and seeing what life on the other side of sobriety looks like.
Their life will become boring
This is the one that stops most people in their tracks.
When they think about giving up alcohol and how it will affect their lives, they instantly think of all the positive ways alcohol has created situations in which they experienced something that wouldn’t have happened without it.
Now, the thought of living a life in which that occurrence is more of a decreased possibility can be a little depressing when one thinks about it.
The truth of the matter is a bit different in that you can still have fun and exciting times sober, but it will just not be comparable to the type of life you lived when you were drinking.
Will life be AS exciting? The honest answer is no, probably not.
It will be very difficult to duplicate some experiences that involved a bunch of drunk people being out of their minds if that same group of people were stone-cold sober.
However, just because something isn’t as exciting doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
Being sober is one of the most exciting things that you can do in a way, as the complete mental and physical clarity you gain will allow you to approach the world in a way to reach your full true potential — something that is super exciting when you really think about it.
They won’t be able to deal with social situations
If you are anything like me, you are using alcohol as a crutch to allow you to overcome anxiety and sometimes uncomfortableness in social situations. This was always my go-to when I was in a room full of people and had to make general conversation.
When I stopped drinking, I was a bit worried that I would crumble in these situations and generally not be able to handle it in any capacity. What I found, however, is that it was exactly the opposite of what I expected.
True, at the very beginning, it was a bit challenging, and I found myself sweating profusely and trying to calm myself down to not be nervous when these moments occurred. What I found with time, however, is that I could be completely normal in these situations, and it was, in fact, the alcohol that was creating my anxiety, as opposed to me thinking it was helping.
Now, without alcohol, dealing with various social situations is no trouble at all, and now, in fact, I find myself thriving in them.
This is because I’ve done the hard work of making my body become used to being put in such a situation without alcohol as a crutch, and it has allowed me to learn, develop, and be much better than I would’ve ever thought possible.
Their friends will treat them differently
When making the decision to stop drinking, there is definitely some truth related to the fact that some things will change as it relates to your relationships with your friends.
The reality is that if they were used to you being their consistent weekend drinking buddy and, all of a sudden, you no longer fill that void, then your relationship with them will be a bit different.
If they were used to calling you up when they needed someone to hit the bars with and drown out the week and now you say no because you don’t drink anymore, then, eventually, those calls will stop coming.
Based on that, this statement is very much true.
However, as it relates to just having friends who will be there for you when you need them and will pick up the phone and call you back, if they were truly your friend while you were drinking, this won’t stop now that you don’t.
Just because you no longer drink, you are not a different person and those friends who were there for you before should be the same ones who will be there for you now.
The ones who are no longer willing to spend time with you or answer/return your phone calls probably weren’t your friends in the first place, and it took this decision for you to finally see it — an unexpected beneficial by-product.
It’s not hurting their lives in any way
Most people will convince themselves of this, and it can be very challenging to convince them otherwise.
Some people see alcohol as the thing that makes their life better and to threaten to take it away is almost blasphemy in some way. They are so used to living in a world in which alcohol has been in their lives that they can’t really fathom what the world would be like without it.
They feel that they are 100% in control and that they are in no significant way negatively affected by consuming alcohol on whatever consistent basis to which they are used.
While there are many people who consume alcohol and appear to be what most from the outside would probably deem as “successful,” this doesn’t mean that their lives aren’t negatively affected by alcohol. There are certain ways people will ALWAYS be held back by alcohol.
For some, it could mean that they have problems with being in fully committed healthy relationships with someone. Others may experience hitting ceilings at work because of their inability to take their game to the next level, while still others may not be able to progress in their fitness journey the way they would be able to without alcohol.
While the way alcohol holds many of us back may not be overt, the reality is that there is usually SOMETHING in our lives that is affected in a negative way that doesn’t allow us to be the very best version of who we can be.
The catch-22 is the reason most people don’t ever see it is because often you have to actually stop drinking for this to finally become apparent.
They won’t be able to deal with stress/life without it
And lastly, as the world has become more complicated and demanding with all the various things that we have to do deal with on a consistent basis, needing something to cope with the magnitude of it seems like a forgone conclusion.
When we are being pulled in so many directions because of our jobs, raising kids, or other just general life commitments, the thought of doing so without the ability to sit down and decompress with a glass of wine or blow off some steam at a local bar seems impossible.
We have become so used to using alcohol as our safe haven and our problem solver in life that we don’t even recognize that it often doesn’t do either in most situations.
It may give us a place to go to not think about our problem and make us feel a little better in the moment, but it doesn’t generally help us with the thinking or the actions that will actually improve our situation in some way or make it go away.
While going to the bar on a Friday afternoon may feel like the thing to do to help decompress from the week and alleviate a bit of stress of thinking about that upcoming report to your boss on Monday, what would ultimately serve you much better is using your Friday night to plan out the presentation and then tackle it whole-heartedly Saturday instead of recovering from the hangover you’re going to experience from the previous night.
By deciding to drink instead of work, you then put yourself in a situation in which you are super stressed on Sunday trying to create something from scratch in a short time period with your brain in a complete fog from the weekend activities.
Just as alcohol was the cause of my anxiety in some social settings and didn’t allow me to develop the tools needed to overcome and get comfortable in those situations, it also poses as the alleviator of stress in our lives while, at the same time, being part of the reason that we are never able to develop the skills and execute on the actions that would prevent stress from occurring in the first place.
And even though there is no guarantee that you still won’t have stressful situations in life, by giving up alcohol, you’ll finally put yourself in the driver’s seat of truly being able to confront them head-on and give yourself the tools to stop making excuses and instead start making your life the best it can possibly be.