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3 Reasons Why It’s Better to be Sober

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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 January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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