Who becomes a non-drinker at 26? Why would someone make that choice? And how do you do it? Greg shares his journey and why he made the decision to be a non-drinker at 26.
The gateway to adulthood
Growing up, I probably had some family members who could be described as functional alcoholics at least at some point. I’m sure that is true for everyone. In my immediate household though, alcohol wasn’t very present.
When alcohol becomes an issue
After graduating college I noticed that alcohol wasn’t just the nice thing with dinner. It had become something I looked forward to having every day or weekend. I lost interest in my many hobbies. Instead, my hobby basically became sitting at a brewery multiple times a week and talking about the newest beer on tap.
In the past, I did Dry January with some success. I’d also dabble in moderation by trying to limit myself to just 1-2 drinks a day. That worked for some time until it felt like I was white-knuckling the days I didn’t drink. When I did drink again I had no real desire to stop until I was asleep for the night. I knew something needed to change before my daily drinking progressed into all-day drinking.
I began to research how I could change my drinking. Luckily, I happened to come across Annie on Youtube and as they say, the rest is history. I saw her interviews there and eventually purchased the This Naked Mind book on Amazon.
How I became a non-drinker at 26
This Naked Mind was a game changer for me. It showed me not drinking isn’t a punishment or something that has to be awful. It showed me that paradoxically I would have more freedom by saying no to the nightly drinks I had than if I kept going. I really worried about the heavy withdrawals or losing friends or being aimless in life if I didn’t have alcohol to look forward to but I discovered how much stuff in life I actually was missing out on because I was either intoxicated for it or just devoting too much time into finding the latest beer release. It showed me that I could be a non-drinker at 26.
My last drink came on a pretty good evening but I also remember reading toward the end of the book, “heavy drinkers can spend about $400,000 on alcohol during their lives, which makes your last drink akin to winning the lottery” (page 213). For me, the decision to stop drinking was largely financial too. During my worst drinking which coincided with the pandemic I pulled in about $10K in credit card debt from frequent bar tabs, Uber eats, random purchases, and basically saying “screw it” about my finances.
After I got over that hump of not drinking the first few weeks I began to feel my head clear up and get to a more responsible place. I still have a lot to pay down, but stopping drinking and seeing the unconscious beliefs I had about alcohol led me to challenge my unconscious beliefs about how I was spending money too. Especially money I didn’t really have.
Become a non-drinker at 26 (or any age!)
You can also become a non-drinker at 36, 56, 86 – or whatever age you are! Find your freedom through This Naked Mind just as Greg did! Start reading for now!
The choice not to drink
I also think I came across This Naked Mind exactly when I needed to. While I work in the legal field, I’m lucky to not face pressure from others to consume. I am glad to make the choice that I don’t have to be a drinker just because so many people in my industry are. This Naked Mind let me see it’s okay to be me and even okay to be a little weird. Beyond the substance of alcohol, I think This Naked Mind shows you that you don’t have to live life the way you thought you had to, which is very freeing.
Life beyond alcohol
My life now is about just creating the things I want. I’m 26 and hoping to be in law school by the Fall of 2023. I got back into music. For over 10 years I played guitar but stopped for a long while. Coming back to music has really made me not want to drink anymore either. I’m excited about writing songs and also repairing my finances because I overspent and went into a lot of credit card debt when my drinking was at its worst.