You would think that as someone who has written two books on controlling your drinking, I would never do anything to excess again. Yet until COVID-19 brought the world to a screeching halt, I was once again living the excessive life. Even worse – I had dragged my entire family into it with me. Often it takes something drastic (like a worldwide pandemic) to make us stop living the excessive life.
It Wasn’t Normal
I had no idea how excessive our lives had become until we were forced to clear our calendars. Between sports, classes, clubs, and travel for work – we literally had every single day of our calendar filled for more than two months. How could we even think that this was normal or healthy? I mean I preach about protecting your space and time and yet I blatantly ignored it myself. Sure, I had more time to spare since I stopped drinking but that didn’t mean I was obligated to fill every second of it. This quote stood out to me and I have held to it steadfastly ever since –
“It’s not going to go back to normal because some of the pace of life has revealed itself as insane.” – Rob Bell
It’s Time To Stop Living The Excessive Life
There is no denying that there was nothing normal about the pace of our life. That pace of life is why I found myself drinking too much. It seems like once enough time had passed I felt it was okay to reintroduce the excessive pace because – “Hey, I don’t drink anymore!” Drinking or not – that pace of life was insane. It wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t sustainable. If that pace of life caused me anxiety I can only imagine what it was doing to my family. I think once we have established excess as normal in our brains – whether it is excessive drinking, exercise, eating, etc. – it becomes easy for excess to sneak in other ways.
Breaking The Associations
Living an excessive life can stress us out but there is hope. Having already addressed my drinking, I knew what I needed to do here. It was time to break the associations I had between certain experiences. Just as I thought I needed alcohol in order to relax, let loose, or be happy, I thought I needed to fill time with activities in order to feel productive and successful. Yet, how successful or productive could we really be if we never had time to slow down and really focus on an activity or dare I say it – just take a day off and do nothing.
In my life the excess had shown up in our schedule. For you it could be something else – food, exercise, work. Getting swept up into obsessing in these areas is easy because we consider them healthy things and crucial to survival. You can have too much of a good thing though. Even vitamins and minerals are toxic if consumed in too large of quantities. Balance is the key.
Are You Still Living The Excessive Life When It Comes To Drinking?
For me it all started with addressing my excessive drinking. I share my experience in This Naked Mind. Start reading for free today.
It may take something drastic to make us see we’re living an excessive life but once we’re aware, we can’t go back. There is beauty in that. It means we no longer need to hide behind the beliefs that no longer serve us. Freedom comes from breaking the chains of association we’ve relied upon and embracing truths instead.
For our family that has meant seeing our time as a precious and sacred commodity that doesn’t need to be filled to the brim with outside forces. We’re scaling back sports, travel, and all activities. We’re mindfully considering what role each plays in our life and if we really need it. The same questions that I had when it came to drinking, I now apply to the other areas in my life. Living the excessive life never leads to the fulfillment I feel from living an intentional life.