6 Lessons Learned From 6 Months of Sobriety

I’ve been binge drinking since I was 13…

I’m currently 33 and as of this moment I am now 6 months sober. That’s right, after two decades of all in drinking, I found a way to finally stop.

I don’t share binging as some “party boy” humble brag; it’s embarrassing and if I could go back in time I’d slap the shit out of myself, but it’s who I was and I want that to be understood before you go any further.

My earliest memory with booze was having people sneak me drinks at family parties, sneaking drinks at cookouts, stealing liquor with my friends from their parent’s stash, and getting suspended in 7th grade for drinking at school.

From the beginning I knew I had an issue; my friends could drink and be cool; I went hard, puked, blacked out, and was just an ugly sloppy person.

If you’re struggling with alcohol, please read on and understand that I’m sharing this as someone who never thought I would be able to say I was 6 months sober. I legit accepted I was a broken toy and that all I needed to do was avoid getting a DUI or drunk in front of the kids.

Then for some reason a combination of personal introspection along with my friends Ed Latimore and Phil Foster offering guidance that parted the clouds for me and I saw the light…

To say it was unexpected would be the understatement of the year.

To say I have any regrets would be an insult because I have not looked back once. I do not miss alcohol and have to fight the urge to demonize it and preach the good word of sobriety because honestly, I hate the time and money I wasted…

But let’s not focus on the past, let’s talk about 6 lessons I’ve learned these past 6 months being alcohol free.

1. Success Begets Success

Choosing to do one thing right leads to you doing the next thing right.

I’m going to stop drinking” led to:

  • I’m going to get more consistent with my lifts now that I’m waking up without a hangover or being tired from staying up late.

Which led to:

  • I’m going to start eating much cleaner because you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

Which led to:

Which led to:

  • I’m looking better, now I want to make my mind stronger, I’m going to really dive into my writing and podcasting

You get the point; I could honestly list 10+ more things like being a better husband, father, less anxious, better memory, no worries about driving, and not a single morning wondering how my night ended…

2. Alcohol Steals Time and Money

Drinking had me spending hundreds of dollars each month.

Looking back, it’s truly fucking pathetic how much control I’d given over to the liquid poison. I’d literally tell my wife I wish we had more money to put into Crypto, then I’d go out and buy wine and liquor.

It’s stupid how much money I put into something which made me fat, sick, and nearly dead.

How many nights did I black out? How many holidays, reunions, and life moments did I miss or tarnish by acting like an idiot due to “celebrating” with alcohol?

How lucky am I that there was never a fire or emergency on one of the nights where I drank myself to oblivion, what if something happened? My wife and children would never forget that “Dad wasn’t there“. It never happened but knowing that it could have makes me sick to my stomach.

3. Alcohol Kicks The Can To The Grave

You want to “deal with it later?

You can easily kick the can of facing your toxic relationship with alcohol to the grave; ultimately ending up with you going to your deathbed clinging to your sweet sweet booze.

I could have justified my intake for the rest of my remaining 60-70 years and honestly, nobody would have questioned it.

When I quit, everyone told me it was 2020 so I should wait a year and then others told me that I just needed to moderate. Nobody understood that I needed to do this for me and because of how normal it is to drink in our society, not drinking makes you the odd ball.

It’s easy to drink alcohol, everyone does it and nobody will fault you for doing so as well; not drinking though? It’s funny but not doing something is a harder thing to face than fitting in.

4. Alcohol Does Not Make Anything Better

I romanticized the hell out of alcohol (so many do) and I’d envision myself to be like Hemingway, an author who needed the sauce to both release the voice in my head as well as silence the suffering artist within me.

Alcohol doesn’t relax you; it takes the batteries out of the smoke detector, the fire is still burning in your life but when you’re drinking you don’t hear it. The problem of course is that you wake up the next day and everything is far worse.

Alcohol doesn’t make you funnier or more entertaining; you get repetitive, sloppy, slurry, excessively animated, and annoying. I really noticed this when dealing with others and can only imagine how shitty of a drunk I must have been.

Alcohol doesn’t make you more creative; my best content has been written when sober. I’ve read things I wrote drunk, fucking garbage.

Alcohol doesn’t make you a better person, parent, spouse, or friend; no matter how bad you want to think it does, what movies and shows portray is not reality.

5. Alcohol Does Not Make You A Better Person

People think that you need to be able to “handle your booze” and that you have to go out for drinks with co-workers, friends, family, business partners after closing a big deal, etc.

We’re told that we need alcohol to have fun, that we need it to connect and let loose with others, we’re told that we need to drink because:

  1. Holiday
  2. Funeral
  3. Breakup
  4. Birthday
  5. Reunion
  6. Wedding
  7. Promotion
  8. Graduation
  9. Deployment
  10. Anniversary

I’ve learned in these past 6 months that I enjoy every single thing above so much more now that I’m sober.

I get to truly connect and celebrate with people, I get to enjoy the company and the occasion where before they all seemed like they were justified reasons to drink to excess

The happy life of friendship and joy was found when I wasn’t getting the marketed assistance of alcohol. I say marketed because alcohol tastes like shit, it doesn’t create a positive atmosphere, and it has caused more deaths than damn near any other legal drug.

There’s a reason billions (with a b) of dollars are spent to make this drug such a staple in society, they have to or we would see it for what it really is.

6. Alcohol Numbs Emotions You Need to Feel

Drinking to calm the nerves, drinking to relax, drinking to talk to guys/girls, drinking to get out of your house, drinking to deal with family, drinking to deal with stress…

All this consumption of alcohol is robbing you from ever developing the mental muscles needed to do these things on your own.

Learning how to deal with everything above is a part of living; it’s literally a part of the experience. How can you ever overcome the insecurity or develop the skillset if you never have to face the emotion or face the uncomfortable situation?

Maybe you need to face the pain of your past or deal with a situation in your life that you’ve been avoiding.

Don’t numb the emotion so you can “get away“, face it so you can stop running and for once in your life genuinely chill and finally, after however long you’ve been chasing peace at the bottom of the bottle, if you can do it without the booze you’ll finally find that relaxation and Zen you’ve been looking for.

Alcohol gets you chasing dragons;

you always think, “The next sip, can, glass, shot, or bottle will make me happier than I am now” and that happiness never comes and that’s because just like dragons, that moment doesn’t exist.

It’s been six months and I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and the message along the way. I don’t bring it up often, but those words of encouragement always hit home and to all who’ve taken the time to share them, it was well received.

Take care and as always, if you are struggling and want to talk it out, my email and DMs are open.

Acta Non Verba,

Zac

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Share With Those Who May Need To Hear It

Zac

There is a war being waged against masculinity. Men are suffering in silence, going to their grave without ever experiencing the joy of living a genuine life. I write to help those men find a way to live again.

  • Kerim says:

    Right to the point. All true.. I am happy to see you on this path.

    and I am too. I was so present on new year’s eve. It was pure joy and gratitude.

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