I was mostly shocked by the reaction of others
Around 15 years ago I had a period of life that was very stressful for various reasons. I decided to get the help of a therapist that specialized in Chinese medicine and detoxing. The aim was to get my body back to functioning as it should.
One of the first suggestions that the therapist made was a big change in my diet. I was to cut out all the junk and focus on foods that would bring my body back to some kind of equilibrium.
One aspect of this was to give up alcohol for a month. At first, I was pretty shocked that I had to do this. It was at a time when I went out to bars and clubs every weekend. I didn’t think I’d be able to go without alcohol for a month.
As my therapist pointed out, this reaction showed that I must have some emotional issues around alcohol.
If someone suggested you give up carrots or apples you likely wouldn’t have much of a reaction. But if someone suggested giving up alcohol or coffee, you’d likely have a big reaction. That’s because you’re addicted to these substances even if you think you’re not.
So that was my first big takeaway. Why was I so resistant to giving up alcohol for a few weeks. My reaction shocked me.
However, I was so stressed out at the time that I realized I need to follow what the therapist suggested. So I gave up alcohol for a month.
After the month was up, the therapist suggested I refrain from alcohol for another month. I was disappointed but my reaction was much less than what it was the first time he suggested it.
Then he suggested another month and another month.
After 6 months of this, I asked why he didn’t just tell me at the beginning that I’d need to give up alcohol for 6 months. He replied that he’d tried that with other patients. The result was that most refused point-blank. He then started telling patients if was only for a month, and most agreed to it. It was a sneaky plan, but one that worked.
So, my second takeaway is that most people seem to have a negative reaction to giving up alcohol.
But here’s what really hit me hard. When I went out with friends, some got very upset that I wasn’t drinking along with them. One woman even got angry with me and claimed I was spoiling the whole atmosphere because I wasn’t drinking alcohol.
Her reaction was so bad that others had to calm her down. I realized that she must have a real problem with alcohol. I know alcohol can be difficult to give up, but to get angry because someone else gave up takes it to a whole new level.
And it wasn’t just her. I noticed that most friends got at least a little uncomfortable around me. Even though I told them it was a temporary measure while I got my health back together, they still felt uncomfortable.
Why is that? Maybe it was because they thought me not drinking was saying something negative about them. Or maybe they realized that they couldn’t give up and that made them feel like they may have a problem. I’ve no idea really.
Not long after that I started drinking again but found that I didn’t enjoy it like I used to. Abstaining for months on end made my body react in a negative way to alcohol. It just didn’t seem as much fun any longer.
That meant I cut down my drinking drastically and only drank socially maybe once a month. Over the last 5 years, I’ve only drunk maybe 2 or 3 times a year. It’s not that I’m trying not to drink, but I find that I just don’t need it.
Over the years I’ve also made new friends that are more interested in going for a meal or a coffee rather than a bar. Also, my wife doesn’t drink, so I don’t have much reason to anyway.
Hardly drinking for years has had an amazingly positive impact on my life. As well as having more energy and feeling more clear-headed, I get more things done. I don’t have days where a hangover means I can’t be bothered to do anything.
I’ve been writing almost every day for the last 4 months. If I’d been drinking I’d never have been able to do that.
What’s your reaction to this story?
If it makes you feel slightly angry maybe you should ask yourself why. I’m just one guy that rarely drinks. Even to this day I still get pretty shocked at how upset that makes some people. Many people think that because they drink alcohol that everyone should. It’s kind of sad.