What to Expect When You’re Not Drinking
Jun 14th, 2019
So I’m still at it. It’s June. No drinks for me since January 1st and I feel terrific. I’m going to give you a glimpse of what it’s like halfway through a year of no drinking, not to inspire you necessarily, but to shed some light and to show you that it’s possible — for a very social drinker to choose to opt out for an entire year — to enjoy life to the fullest without drinks.
Surprisingly, I find it pretty easy now. The toughest part at this point in the game is that people want to talk about it, but I don’t. When they find out I’m still at it, they ask questions — Why are you still doing this? Haven’t you proven to yourself that you can do it? Isn’t this long enough? What are you going to do when summer hits?
The other tough part is listening to people tell me about their drinking. How they only drink on the weekends or they stopped drinking beer or they always go dry the month of January or how they could never do what I’m doing or that they wish they could.
One thing I’ve realized is that my decision not to drink ends up reflecting back on their decision to drink, even though that’s not my intention. It’s the part I find the hardest to deal with — that a choice I’m making makes people I care about feel uncomfortable. I can’t really do anything about this. It’s just something I’ve come to accept.
The surprising thing is how often I’m called boring now and I’m told that I’m not as much fun as I used to be. This pill is a little hard to swallow. I never thought it was drinking that made me interesting or fun. Ouch.
I knew when I started this experiment that it would make me uncomfortable. I didn’t anticipate just how uncomfortable it makes other people feel. It’s still pushing me outside of my comfort zone, every single week. That’s okay. I believe the edge of our comfort zone is where we grow the most. So I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll take all the chirping and listen to all the unsolicited feedback, water off a duck’s back. I know I’m bucking social norms. I know I’m making an unpopular choice and whenever we push the status quo, especially one so deeply embedded in the fabric of society, we’re met with resistance. It’s just the way it is.
People often ask me if I feel different or better. The short answer is YES!! I feel healthy and I have tons of energy. I feel like all cylinders are firing. My mind is sharp. I’m motivated to get stuff done. I never wake up with a headache. I’ve lost a little weight without trying. I sleep like a baby. My skin is less dull. I And the biggest difference is this —I’ve learned that the more you step outside of your comfort zone, the bigger your capacity gets until the moment you realize that something you once found difficult or were afraid of or worried about becomes normal or easy. It doesn’t take nearly the effort it did before.
And the more you test yourself like this, the more you believe in yourself. The greater your confidence grows and you notice doors opening, opportunities showing up. Things that once seemed out of your grasp or simply off the table, you hear yourself thinking “I can do that”. You’ve done it before. You can do it again. Different circumstance, but same determination. Same grounding in your values and that sense of who you really are. Knowing that doing it for your reason is the reason for the doing.
I hope this is making sense. I think the only way you can really understand is to try it for yourself. I think I’ve inspired a few people to consider it. I know the majority of you won’t. It’s difficult. It’s not always fun. It takes considerable effort, especially in the early days. You’ll be judged and will be the butt of many jokes. So I get it if you don’t try. But I can promise you this. If you do, your life will be transformed for the better. Even if it’s just one magical year of not drinking. I think the insights will reverberate many years later and you’ll carry the proof of your power with you always. That’s the best part. That I’ve been able to tap into a much deeper power than I ever knew was residing within my soul and it feels pretty freakin’ amazing. ✨