Here in the United States, we’re enjoying the fall season – the season of change! Leaves are changing, the weather is changing, and there’s a chilly excitement in the air on a Friday night at the high school football game! Speaking of change….life can really change when we decide to go alcohol free. Join us as Scott answers 4 commonly asked questions surrounding those changes. How will friendships change? How should I manage my time now? And so much more! So, grab a pumpkin spice latte and kick back while Scott walks us through the season of change.
Are you ready for a deep dive into truly lasting change? If so, you might consider my Intensive Program. It’s a 9-week, self-led program that you can do in the complete comfort of your own home. It will truly transform your relationship with alcohol. If you want to learn more about this, go to thisnakedmind.com/intensive. And, as always – rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast, as it truly helps the message reach somebody who might need to hear it today.
Questions About Drinking
When we decide to stop drinking or drink less we are left with so many questions about drinking. There are some that come up often and we can all relate to. Here’s the highlights of the top 4 we have seen this month.
Losing Friends When You Drink Less
All of my friends drink. 100% of them. I feel okay that I can be around them, but I’m worried. Does this mean that we’ll grow apart and I’ll lose them?”
That’s a fantastic question. And it’s something that I was very worried about myself. I found when I kind of looked around when I was thinking of quitting drinking, and everything I did was revolving around alcohol, right? All of my going out to the bars. Anytime I went out to dinner, if I just had a buddy over to watch a football game, it was alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. And yes, sometimes it can feel like this is the glue that might be holding you together. So the direct answer to the question is, your relationship with them may change. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tune in to the podcast to hear why I think so!
Boredom When You Stop Drinking
“I’m bored. I can’t seem to figure out what to do with myself. It occurred to me that I just don’t know what I even like to do anymore. Why is that? And what should I do?”
Awesome question. As time goes on, we start to like alcohol over other things and this is what happens. So let’s take some common things that people like to do. Maybe going to a movie, maybe relaxing with a nice bath, having sex, being with friends, whatever it is. These experiences in our lives that give us pleasure and make us happy. As time goes on, alcohol starts to reset your threshold for having an enjoyable experience.
Pretty soon as it moves that threshold up, which you can only achieve with artificial stimulation from alcohol, those other things that you used to like just don’t seem that great anymore. They just don’t seem that engaging anymore. I have a great example of this from my own life. So, I grew up playing and listening to a lot of music.
It was a huge part of my life.
I was involved in playing different instruments. I loved it. Music constantly on. I always had a CD in my car, which I guess I don’t really have any more. But you know what I mean? It was all the time. I was into new music that was coming out, all types of music. It was such a big part of my life.
But I started drinking when I was 18, and within a few years music was just like, “Eh.” I could take it or leave it. And, at the time I thought, “Well, you know, I’m graduating college, I’m getting older. Maybe I’m just growing out of this phase,” right? “Maybe I’m just growing out of playing my saxophone or playing the guitar and that’s something that I’m growing out of. It was a phase.” And it stayed like that for 10 years.
Then when I quit drinking, I remember very clearly the day that it happened, as there was a song on and I was like, “Yeah, all right.” And I started to feel that old feeling right? Of really enjoying music, and the emotion that was attached to it. And so I followed that. And I found, “Oh wait, I do like this all again.” Later when I read the science about how alcohol numbs, not just the negative stuff, but also the positive stuff for us, that I realized what had happened. Alcohol was limiting my enjoyment of music. So I was just not listening. I wasn’t engaging with it anymore. Shortly after that, I picked it back up again, and I’ve been more involved than ever with it. So why am I telling you this?
Well, the reason I’m telling you this is that a lot of people find themselves in the position that you’re talking about. Being bored after quitting drinking. There’s really two main things. The first is what I talked about there, with the idea of the things that we like to do seeming to have lost their luster over time. Now it’s like, “Well what else is there?” And the second thing is that we gain so much time when we quit drinking.
It’s not just the amount of time you spend under the influence. It’s all that time ahead of time when you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to get alcohol. What it’s going to look like, and what are you going to tell people. Do I have enough at home? It’s all the plotting in the scheming. Obviously then it’s the time spent drinking. It’s also the time spent under the influence. It’s also the time being hung over.
So when you look at how much time, how much space alcohol was taking up in your life, it’s amazing. And when you think, “All right, I now have this amount of time to either be more effective at the things I need to do, or to try different things.” It can be very overwhelming, particularly at first, right? When we first quit drinking, people tend to not go out as much, and just kind of stay at home and just kind of get their sea legs underneath them. Well, if you’re doing that, plus it feels like you have an extra 20 hours a week, which that’s when I added it up right around where I came to was 20 hours a week.
That’s almost an entire extra day of time that I had in a week. So what do you do? Yeah, it’s no surprise that you feel bored.
Still Have Questions On How To Stop Drinking Or Drink Less?
Do you still have unanswered questions on how to stop drinking or drink less? Let This Naked Mind answer them!
Celebrating Without Alcohol
“I’m really worried about a wedding I have coming up. There’s a lot of tradition around drinking in my family. Toasts, shots, buying each other drinks, et cetera. I’m trying to figure out how to navigate that. Help.”
There’s this idea of the social contract or familial contract we might have. You’re at a wedding, the best man stands up and does a toast, the maid of honor stands up, you do a toast. And this is the question that I always ask people around all of these sort of traditions, is what is the important part of that? Is the important part of that, that you are there and engaged, that you’re one of the people raise, hopefully, yeah. That’s raising your water bottle? Or is the important thing what’s in your glass is alcohol? Or is it that you are drinking the same champagne as the bride and groom at a wedding situation?
The answer is obviously the tradition. So this idea of a toast, the toast is to celebrate someone. You don’t need alcohol to celebrate someone.
Tune in to the podcast to hear more on how to stop drinking or drink less during celebrations.
I’m feeling like there’s a gap in where I am emotionally. It’s almost as if the last 20 years of drinking has stopped me from growing up.” Quotation fingers. “Is that possible or am I being whiny?”
I love that, am I being whiny? It’s absolutely possible. As a matter of fact, a lot of people experience this. And if you think about it, it really makes sense. So if we want to use the term growing up – what does growing up really mean? I mean, obviously we’re physically larger. We might grow beards, right? But what does it actually mean when we say someone’s acting like a grownup? Well, what we mean is they’re acting like someone who can take on responsibility and the challenges of life. They’re acting like someone who can weather the storms that life inevitably throws at us.
True Growth When You Stop Drinking Or Drink Less
If you are growing up physically, but meanwhile continuing to drink for those storms that come at you, you are not learning how to deal with those storms, right? You’re not learning how to deal with work stress without alcohol. Alcohol is really insidious. In my case, I would drink when I was stressed out for school, but then that transferred to drinking because I was stressed out about moving to New York when I graduated. And I’m stressed out about my job, and then stressed out about this, and then stressed out about that. And it goes on and on and on.
I didn’t face those challenges with a naked mind. I didn’t face those challenges without alcohol. And so I missed out on those opportunities.
Annie has something that she says regularly, which is, “growth happens outside of our comfort zone.”
When you look at what happens when we get stressed out, when we get challenged at work or financially or however that might be, we find that it’s those times, when we’re outside of our comfort zone, when we’re feeling stressed, when we’re feeling anxious and we still have to take action. That’s where the growth happens.
Keep listening to discover how growth happens when you stop drinking or drink less.
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License