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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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