Change your Relationship with Alcohol

In the past, I associated all the good things in life with alcohol; all the fun times, all of the relaxing moments, even intimacy. It was hard to imagine life without it, even though I knew it was a problem.

I “tried” to get sober for a long time, but it didn’t work because I was trying to abstain from something that I wanted to do. I liked to drink.

After several years of trying, I decided to try something new, I changed my relationship with alcohol.

Changing my relationship with alcohol was key to my sobriety.

This was a process that took me a couple of months to go through, definitely didn’t happen over night.

Here’s the steps I took:

Step One: The Pros/Cons list

What I failed to do was associate all of the bad times with alcohol; the hangovers, the fights, the arrests, the DUI’s, the embarrassing texts, social media posts, the lying, the stealing, the cheating. etc.

I put pen to paper and made an honest list of the benefits if drinking. After a few days, that list remained empty. I couldn’t come up with one benefit.

I moved on to the consequences of drinking. The list was long, very long.

Step Two: Education

I didn’t really know that much about alcohol, I knew that yeast or bacteria would convert sugars into alcohol, but that was the extent of my knowledge. So I learned more about it, the origins, how it’s made, how used etc. Fun fact: did you know that when the alcohol content reaches around 13% by volume, it actually kills the bacteria that makes it?

What was really sobering was learning the effects of alcohol on the human body; the organs, brain, cardiovascular system etc.

I spent hours googling these topics and reading everything I could find. I also took to YouTube and found good content there.

Two documentaries I’d recommend are:

(I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn about the content, it is about drinking…)

  1. BBC’s The Truth about Alcohol

  2. HBO’s Risky Drinking

Step Three: Finding Inspiration

I headed back to YouTube and watched every “1 year sober” video I could find. I remember being in awe, “One year sober!” I thought, “That it would be amazing if I could do that”. After watching people tell their stories, I knew that wanted that too, I wanted what they had.

Here’s a few that I watched:

  1. Sober for 1 Year - Why I Quit Drinking
  2. ONE YEAR SOBER: What Have I Learned?
  3. 1 YEAR SOBER!!! | The Year That Broke & Rebuilt Me

I also spent a lot of time reading and engaging on Talking Sober. I found my pack here and leaned on them when I needed, this helped me stay motivated and helped gain perspective that I would not have gotten otherwise.

Step Four: The Come to Jebus Moment

After some contemplation and reflection, I started to change the way I saw alcohol. It was no longer something that was desirable, it is a poison that WILL kill you, sometimes fast, sometime slow, but if you let it get it’s grip on you, it will kill.

I realized that all the fun times that I thought I was having, almost all had turned to shit, eventually.

I realized that not a single thing of value was ever provided by alcohol but almost every bad thing that has happened in my life was caused by it.

I realized that alcohol has retarded my growth; mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

I realized that I was not happy with the current version of me, and the best version of me could only exist without alcohol.

I came to the conclusion that alcohol added negative value in my life, it offered nothing, but would take everything.

Since then, I have had no desire to drink. As I write this, I am 3 years, 4 months and 30 days sober. I am not saying it was easy, it wasn’t, but it was a simple conclusion to come to.

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That’s a great way of breaking it down. I don’t think my process was so organised but I broadly recognise all those parts of it!

Ha this is so true. It amazes me how our brains can be capable of SO much incredible logic, perception, imagination etc. But those hungry little dopamine receptors can just override everything and trick you into thinking anything pleasurable associated with alcohol (sunshine, social activities, food) was only pleasurable because of the alcohol, rather than in spite of it.

One of my close friends died before I stopped drinking. It is a huge regret of mine that most of my memories of him are fuzzy round the edges and the rest is pieced together from photos and stories I hear.

The only ‘benefit’ I had for drinking was taking a break from myself. But of course all that did was add extra layers of negativity for me to come to terms with later. I say benefit, I probably mean justification, not being able to deal with my emotions was hardly a good thing.

How fortunate we are to be here, building lives and making memories that we can appreciate.

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This is a brilliant post! My perception of alcohol changed pretty significantly over the course of several years of educating myself on alcohol and how bad it is for us all.

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It’s an easy escape for sure, but with a little effort and patience, you can get the same escape through meditation or even through hobbies. :slight_smile:

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That’s awesome. Man you hit it on the head. I like to drink. But the consequences are all too familiar. I need to change the way I think about alcohol. Thanks for this post

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Absolutely! Actually having the time, energy and enthusiasm to dedicate to something other than getting shitfaced is a really nice change of pace :joy:

Also just enjoying the things you’re doing. I was reminded of something from This Naked Mind the other day, about how experiences with alcohol just become the same experience. Just drunk with whatever happening in the background. Now I can enjoy a meal, a film, a night out dancing… They are unique experiences shaped by the activity I’m doing and the people I’m with.

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It’s like the paradox between who you were and who you are now!

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Thank you HoofHearted! That’s just what I needed to read tonight.

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This was a really good read and can totally relate too. And an amazing perspective on alcohol . Thank you

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I love this! Great way to break it down. I actually tried doing something similar yesterday by telling myself that if I drank I would get sick, like physically sick. Kept telling myself that over and over again. Unfortunately it didn’t work but I think if I continue doing that daily, eventually it will help.

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This is a much better but together thought than what I had but effectively similar thinking. Thank you for writing this. Have you seen the Huberman Podcast on the effects of alcohol on the mind and body? I’ve posted a screenshot on a different topic but I’ll also post one here. If you have not seen or heard it I highly suggest it. Thank you very much for the reply on my post and I’m glad I got to read this one. Thank you.

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Here is the screenshot.

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I listened to thisnlast night and was very good, I’ll definitely recommend it!! Thanks for sharing!

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Of course. Really impressed with how in detail he goes. I need to listen to it a couple more times to really soak it in.

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