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3 Reasons Why It’s Better to be Sober

3 Reasons Why It’s Better to be Sober

People don’t like to talk about their struggles with alcohol. It makes them uncomfortable. People get uneasy when speaking about mistakes they have made or bad decisions they have done while drinking. They especially don’t like admitting that they have a problem with alcohol. It makes them feel weak.

I can relate. I used to have a real problem. It took years for me to get comfortable admitting that I was an alcoholic. By age 24, my life had come crashing down and I had two choices:

I could get help or I was going to die. I’m grateful that I found people to help me. It saved my life.

Over the years, I have come to realize that everyone struggles with addiction in one form or another. Every single person has either had their own struggles or knows someone who has. The problem is in everyone but we like to pretend like it isn’t. Eventually, alcoholism always shows its ugly head.

I’ve been sober for 7 years. I find that this way of life is much better than the alternative. Of course, there are days when it would be nice to have a cold beer or a glass of wine with dinner, but I would not go back if I could.

My life is better now that I am sober.

My intention is not to convert anyone into a sober man or woman or try to paint a negative image around alcohol. If you drink, then I hope you find enjoyment from it. What I will do is share my experience and explain why I find life to be better without alcohol.

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Here it goes.

1. Cash Money in the Bank

I used to spend so much money on booze.

It’s difficult to buy liquor and not spend a lot of money. Cocktails, buying rounds for your friends, buying a bottle of wine at dinner… it really adds up.

When I got out of rehab, I had exactly zero dollars to my name. I would work so hard to earn my money and come Monday morning, it was all gone. I am so thankful I don’t have to live with that anxiety anymore.

Since then, I have not spent one single penny on alcohol. I wish there was a way for me to quantify exactly how much money I have saved. I can tell you that the money saved has translated into tens of thousands of dollars and also more money to travel, go to concerts and do the things I love.

You know that feeling when you go out partying and you wake up the next morning and all your money is gone and you don’t even remember why? Well, that never happens to me.

My finances are tight. I know where my money is going and I know where it isn’t going. Because of this, I have freedom to do whatever I want. This last year alone I have gone to Scotland, New Orleans, Bonnaroo, Philadelphia to see my family and more. Next month I am going to Utah for a snowboarding trip.

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I would never have been able to afford this if I still drank. Chances are that I would be stuck in the same town sitting at the same bar stool.

Giving up alcohol gave me the opportunity to do everything else.

2. No Need for a Social Lubricant

Like I said, I am not an “anti-alcohol” kind of guy. I can see many areas in which alcohol has benefits.

The most obvious is alcohol’s ability to bring people together. As human beings, we need social interaction. We crave it! Before I got sober, a few drinks was the only way I could muster up the courage to speak with people. Many people feel this way. Social anxiety is a real thing and most people experience it.

But with a few shots, all of that tension falls by the wayside. Everyone is free to be themselves, unafraid of what others think about them.

It took me some time, but with some practice and stretching way out of my comfort zone, I am finally comfortable being the way I am. This means…

  • I can go up to strangers
  • I can dance
  • I can crack a joke and not get embarrassed if it bombs
  • I can ask a girl out
  • I can go to networking events and weddings without being afraid of the pictures on Facebook the next morning

It is very liberating to be comfortable with yourself to the point where you don’t need alcohol. It does not happen overnight, but I have always felt that being comfortable with yourself is a challenge.

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Life is essentially a journey of self-discovery. If you really want to get to know yourself, the best way to do that is to get sober.

3. FREEEDDOOOMMMMM

This last reason may not apply to everyone.

Most people can have a few drinks and go about their merry way. For myself and millions of people like me, that is not the case.

It’s difficult to really explain to someone what alcoholism is like. It’s easy to think “why don’t you just stop?” If you ask an alcoholic why they can’t stop they will not know the answer. It’s addiction. It’s chemical. It would be like me telling you to stop eating. Eventually, you need to go back.

Now that I am sober, I have no shackles around my wrists. I have no boulders weighing on my shoulders. I wake up every morning a free man.

I hope that everyone gets to understand this level of freedom. Too many people are buried under the drink or under their jobs or under a relationship. Sobriety has taught me that until I am free to be myself, no outside influence will ever make me feel better about who I am or the situation I am in.

I can’t drink myself into feeling better. I can’t work myself into an identity or sense of purpose and I can’t turn a relationship into my reason for existence. None of that works; it only tricks us into thinking we are feeling good.

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Sobriety gave me the opportunity to feel the emotions I buried for so long, and through that pain and hardship, I learned who I was.

My identity was carved out of suffering.

Do What Makes You Feel Good

As I said before, I’m not in a position to tell people how they should live their lives. All I can share is my experience.

My experience tells me that addiction is part of the human condition. Everyone has some kind of obsession that keeps them up at night and fills the hole within themselves. I hope that in reading this, someone who may be struggling gets the courage to ask for help. I hope that someone out there knows that they are not alone and that there is always a way out.

My life completely changed when I got sober. Maybe it could for you too.

Featured photo credit: Tim Stoddart via timstodz.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

More About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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