Steve always considered himself just a regular drinker. That all changed when someone mentioned the link between alcohol and cancer to him. Now Steve was left questioning ‘What is a regular drinker?’ and wondering if his drinking habits needed a change. Find out how This Naked Mind helped him get answers.
As a kid growing up, I’d see my dad drink beer every night. He’d come home from a long day of work and get to making dinner for the family. All the while, a bottle of beer was never far away. I’m guessing he drank about 3-4 bottles of beer a night. Although honestly, it’s hard to recall accurately because I didn’t see his drinking as “bad” at the time. In fact, I barely noticed it because to young me, it was just an adult drink.
Dad was a good man and wasn’t a mean drunk thankfully. He wouldn’t think twice to lend a hand to anyone that needed it. For his hunting and fishing groups, he’d be the one to organize meals, do the shopping, and tackle most of the cooking. With family and friends, he’d be the first to offer someone help to move, paint their house, or really in any way he could assist them. Many mornings when I was a boy, we would play cards at the kitchen table. I remember those mornings fondly. There were countless times of him taking me to and from sports, years of coaching my sports teams. He would never hesitate to drop off or pick up me and/or my 2 older brothers from wherever we happened to be.
Showing me the path
I do however remember mom and dad arguing a lot. Almost nightly, thankfully it never escalated beyond verbal. In retrospect, the arguments were likely because, by the time my mom got home from work an hour or two after my dad, he would be drunk or at least on his way to it. Then not long after dinner, dad would fall asleep on the couch watching TV. Eventually, he’d head up to bed, wake up the next morning, and go back to work. It was a cycle he had learned from his parents who were both heavy drinkers. But ultimately, he was inadvertently teaching me that same cycle all those years and showing me that same path.
No issues with alcohol
In high school, parties on weekends started involving alcohol. That seemed perfectly normal since that’s what I had witnessed my older brothers doing. If someone happened to throw up at those parties, it was just cheered on by the guys. After high school, I went to college. It was much of the same with plenty of binge drinking on party nights. The only difference with college parties was they went later, and more booze was consumed.
Usually, the next day was spent laying around feeling like a complete bag of crap. And talking about all the stupid stuff we each had done while we were wasted. Essentially gaining imaginary badges of honor for the stupidest of things. All in all, a pretty twisted sense of accomplishment. But honestly, I could look back fondly on most of those past experiences. Now I believe they only reinforced my thoughts that there were no issues with alcohol; and in a sense, served as the basis of leaving my guard down against it.
A Regular Drinker
Throughout the next 20 years, I was what most people consider a “regular drinker”. The person meeting with friends at a pub for a pint or two. Going out for dinner and drinking wine. Having people over at the house for a few drinks. Or getting together with my buddies for more than a few drinks, but all in all, pretty tame by most standards. Only the odd time here and there having too many and causing the next day to be a complete write-off due to a hangover. But what started as being a “regular drinker” during social occasions evolved almost without me noticing. I began adding in another drink here and there during the week.
Then it became one most nights. Soon it was one every night. Then it became two every night. I eventually got to the point where I would drink at least 2 or 3 pints every single night. I was never getting fall-down drunk or puking or anything like that. But facing reality, I was 100% drinking for effect and after every drink, I wanted another one. The only reason I wouldn’t have another was that I used willpower to abstain. Looking back now and comparing it to “standard drinks”, I was consuming the equivalent of a bottle of wine a night plus more on the weekends.
Repeating The Cycle
I was well into my adulthood with my own impressionable kids watching and learning from me. Sadly, I had fallen into that exact same pattern that my dad had inadvertently taught me. Go to work, work hard, then come home from work and start drinking. Meanwhile living in a partial haze, being short with my wife and kids, and being argumentative. I was at the point where I would organize my life around drinking because it became my main priority. I would lament anything that interfered with my nightly “plans” to drink. In fact, I was keeping that vicious cycle going by now teaching my kids to follow in my misguided footsteps.
What is a regular drinker?
But something changed when one of my friends sent an article to our messenger group chat about how alcohol is linked to cancer. I read the article and that got me thinking and reflecting on myself and my ways. Especially because my dad had gone through a couple of bouts with cancer. Looking back on it, I believe that was the moment the seed was planted to question my alcohol consumption. It sounds stupid to admit now in retrospect, but I honestly never associated anything bad with what I considered to be “moderate drinking”.
I suppose isn’t too shocking since alcohol plays such a huge part in our society these days. Every drinker has seen those ridiculous claims on the internet about how “moderate drinking” is actually healthier than not drinking. I would sure love for a doctor to explain how consuming ethanol has any benefits to the human body! So, after that seed was planted, that really got me thinking and wanting to find out more about the product I was consuming so regularly in ever-increasing quantities.
Ready to research
My research started with listening to the audiobook Alcohol Explained by William Porter. His book was valuable, but it was a bit hard for me to relate to. William’s addiction to alcohol was the type where he wouldn’t drink through the week at all, but from after work on Friday, he would drink steadily until Monday morning. I had the typical response most drinkers have of “oh, I’m not that bad” to help justify my own alcohol use. That said, his book had a lot of great information. I’m glad I found it but especially because it led me to a 2nd book that I listened to which was Annie Grace’s This Naked Mind.
To put it plainly, Annie’s book ended up being a life changer for me. The way she laid out how marketing had engrained in me such a lackadaisical view of alcohol. Essentially giving it a free pass despite its potential for destruction. The fact that one study even ranks alcohol as the worst drug when compared to all others including heroin, meth, & crack was truly mind-blowing. That 7 hours and 28 minutes of informative gold almost instantly changed my mindset on alcohol. Opening my eyes to all the lies that alcohol had me (and millions of other people) believing. I also found that having Annie narrate her audiobook and hearing the passion in her voice (that only someone that has climbed the alcohol ladder can evoke) really made the information sink in. It felt like she was speaking directly to me at times.
Are you ready to stop being a regular drinker?
Is it time for you to stop being a regular drinker? Learn how with This Naked Mind!
Saying goodbye to being a regular drinker
After I finished This Naked Mind, Annie’s facts swirled in my head for a few days. My new knowledge base had taken off all the shine I had previously given alcohol. I was now looking at that glass of beer in a totally different way. What was once a warm embrace, was now a dagger in the back. I knew my days of willingly consuming ethanol were numbered. I was ready for the fight to drop the alcohol monster. But the bout would have to wait and begin the day after one of my best friends’ weddings that I was emceeing in just a few days.
I didn’t drink any alcohol that evening until I completed my emcee duties. Later I joined everyone else in overindulging, closing the wedding hall at around 1 am. Then heading back to the hotel to celebrate with the wedding party and friends until around 4:30 am. I woke up four hours later and felt the same physically as most mornings after a night of drinking (with a wicked hangover). But what was different this time, was mentally embracing that feeling because I knew I would never go through another hangover again.
Now I know the answer to what a regular drinker is
Since that day, I haven’t touched an alcoholic drink and I know I never will again. I can reflect on my past and see that while alcohol had been a large part of it, I realize that it stole a lot of credit for the good times and those good times were had in spite of alcohol, not because of it. The way Annie changed my perception of alcohol, is something like a magic trick. I was shown how it was done and now I can’t go back to the way it was before I was shown it. There is no illusion or mystery anymore.
There is no desire to crave something that I know provides zero benefits to me. It only leads to shame, guilt, and regret. I’m now living life fully present and experiencing all the amazing things it has to offer with my true emotions – happy or sad, the emotions are my own and aren’t clouded by an alcohol-induced hazed. I have Annie to thank for showing me how to take off the blinders, break the cycle I was in, and giving my life back not only to me, but to my family, friends, wife, and children.
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