Reflections on One Year Without Alcohol

Posted: August 1, 2014 by dannytwoguns in About Me

A few months ago, the following blogpost went viral on social media and the blogosphere and was shared by a large quantity of the females on my Facebook page, you are quite possibly one of them… 7 Things I Learned During My Year Without Alcohol.

It was funny because I was reading it as I was currently involved in the same pursuit. It has now been over a year since I’ve had any alcohol at all and almost 18 months since I’ve been any level of “drunk.” But I didn’t relate at all with that article aside from we were both essentially doing the same elimination. I wont go into detail about why I wasn’t a fan of her blog post but thought it would make for a worthwhile read to post my reflections and thoughts from a year without alcohol from someone in their mid-late twenties – a time that more or less revolves around it.

First – why?

There is a quote from powerlifter and strength coach, Jim Wendler that resonated very strongly with me. It is vulgar so be warned… (It is the one I mentioned in my interview on the Octane Athletic Performance Podcast. Check it out if you haven’t.)

Get your shit in order, and get your training in order. Start kicking ass, and take out the crap that doesn’t matter. Start doing and believing in the stuff that works, and do it today and forever. You want science and studies? Fuck you, I’ve got scars and blood and vomit. This is a call to arms for some of you. It is for me too. Stop all the things that make you a pussy and steal your energy. Get your life back.

“Stop all the things that steal your energy” was the most powerful part of that for me. And alcohol and partying was one of the major things that I felt was stealing my energy. I never had an “alcohol problem” and I can count the amount of times I’ve drank on a non Friday or Saturday in the past 5 years on one hand and not use all fingers. But I still felt it wasted time while I did it and wasted even more time when I was recovering from doing it, which was new for me because I was rarely hungover in college. My business and truly changing lives became my primary goal and there was little room, if any for alcohol to steal my energy, hence the start of limiting/eliminating alcohol.

So why not go for a more moderate approach and “only have a few” or “only do it every now and then”? The easy or cop out answer is I was never very good at moderation. But for about half a year, I didn’t swear it off completely and would be the “occasional” drinker. Special events, holidays, family gatherings, once a month etc whatever. But I found I enjoyed not having alcohol being part of my “normal” routine more than I enjoyed it being in my routine and was finding myself becoming more and more productive the less I drank. My business was growing and I felt infinitely more productive. So last summer I decided to not drink at all. I didn’t set out with the goal of a year, I would simply just do it and see what happened, it was no longer going to be part of what I did.

So what did I find in that year?

I didn’t develop super senses. I didn’t have revelations about who I am as a person and my self worth. I don’t wear it like a badge of honor as if I did something impressive or special in any way. But I did have a completely positive experience doing so.

Business

My business more than doubled and almost tripled. I went from independent contracting out of an 800 square foot studio inside a facility that was not a good fit for me with an extremely negative owner, to co-owning a 5,000 square foot facility that was a great fit for me to co-owning a 10,000 square foot facility that is an even better fit for me – all in that one year. A lot of factors go into this but the following things I mention and the elimination of alcohol as well as constantly investing in myself are huge reasons for this growth and progress.

Energy and Productivity

I have more energy than I can remember, am tangibly more productive and utilize my time more efficiently. My business and progress has absolutely shown that. Time and energy that was spent elsewhere could be now put into things that made me better, made my business better and most importantly helped a lot more people change their lives. The most popular thing people said was, “Well what do you do for fun now?” Like the only way to have fun is to go drinking. But I found honing my craft as a fitness expert and improving my business was MORE fun for me than spending that time in bars or with alcohol.

Energy that used to go toward drinking and partying now went towards things that made me better, made me grow as a person and made my business better. My energy wasnt stolen anymore. I believe the difference between good and great, average and above average is going the extra mile, giving attention to detail and the hustle that the average person doesn’t have. That was now easier. Working on my business more, made it develop and grow more. That then made me more able to travel to continuing education events, learn as much as I could and improve at becoming the fitness professional and expert I wanted to become. And it was fun.

I Sleep Better

Im probably jinxing it by typing this and Im not going to be able to sleep tonight but I used to always have issues with sleep. Whether it was not being able to fall asleep or not being able to stay asleep or just not getting a well rested sleep. This was always expected after a night of drinking resulting in a poor night’s sleep but I didn’t attribute it to my week day’s poor sleeping because why would it make a difference? I still don’t know but it did. I can now and do now (when logistics allow) get 7-9 full hours of sleep each night, every night.

Being Drunk Isnt Enough to Have in Common With People

I also found out that drunk people aren’t as fun or any fun at all, when you aren’t drunk with them. Some of the people in whom I associated with while drinking and partying turned out to not be that great of people when there wasn’t alcohol to give us common ground in a friendship. A few are still some of my best friends to this day, but others along with their negativity have been completely cut out of my life. And it is infinitely better, more positive and more productive that way.

Jim Rohn’s popular quote, “You are the result of the five people you spend the most time with.” Drunk, negative, energy draining “friends” had to go.

Apparently Not Drinking Is Weirder Than Drinking

People are weird about you not drinking. This was one I didn’t expect. I didn’t just hole myself up in a room each weekend, work on my business and do continuing education related things and become a hermit. I still went to social events, holiday parties etc, though maybe not as often but I still went and when refusing drinking, people’s reactions were strange. Some people think you are in recovery from alcohol addiction, some think you are boring and most simply try to get you to drink for some reason, maybe because they don’t want to think they are weird doing it alone or not with a bunch of people. Who knows.

Im Not a Weekend Wisher

What’s a weekend wisher? The people who loathe Mondays and start praying for Friday at 5pm when they are going to sleep Sunday night. I wasn’t really one before I started the year, but Im certainly less of one now, actually not one in any way. We could argue that those people need to find a career they are most passionate about so they don’t hate going into work on Monday but that is a different story. I love Mondays, I love what I do and every day holds an equal positive opportunity for me when it is Monday or Saturday and there is no washing away my weekday sorrow at the bottom of the glass on weekends.

So what is the takeaway of this and why did I write it? Im not 100% sure. Im not an anti-alcohol advocate, Im not an pro-alcohol free advocate and I don’t have any plans or no plans to continue or not continue. It just is what it is and it was a positive, enriching experience and wanted to share my thoughts and reflections in what I think is a better piece than the above one.

If you find yourself in a rut or need a positive change – it may be something you should try out. Or if you have a good balance, continue doing so and enjoying it. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you and have a good weekend, whether it includes alcohol or not 🙂

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