Benefits of Quitting Drinking: You Will Make Better Choices

Benefit of Quitting Drinking: You Will Make Better Choices

If you had met me before I stopped drinking, you would not have listened to a word I had to say. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, I’m half-Irish, I always have something to say. I was leading a duel life. Half my life was the working man who had to provide for his family, someone who did want to get ahead, and a person who genuinely enjoyed living.

I genuinely wanted to be the best person I could be. The other half was the person who didn’t like to wait for things to happen. I wanted my buzzes now, not tomorrow. These two lines of thought are mutually exclusive. You cannot be the best person you can be if a part of you craves this daily instant gratification. This ‘want it now’ side of you will drag everything else down to that level. It will hold you back from all the rewarding possibilities that waiting, working, and patience will eventually bring.

Abraham MaslowAbraham Maslow was an American psychologist who is known for creating what is known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This theory goes something along the lines of: your mental health is based around fulfilling a series of deep-seated needs, all culminating at the peak of self-actualization.

Self-actualization is, in Maslow’s words, “”What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfilment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”

Hierarchy of Needs MaslowIn short, a self-actualized person has realistic perceptions about themselves, others, and the wider world. They are motivated by a sense of ethics and personal responsibility. They want to help others, to solve problems outside of themselves. They view the world with appreciation, if not awe, focusing on what can be instead of what cannot be. For me, one of the best characteristics of Maslow’s self-actualized person is a person who is self-determining. You don’t need anyone else to tell you how to live your life, what to be happy about, or conforming to other people’s ideas of contentment.

Much of this boils down to the choices you make in the moment. As a drug user, alcohol of course included, you cannot make the best decisions while you are:

1. Thinking about using the drug.
2. In the process using the drug.
3. Suffering through the inevitable consequences of using that drug.

I’ve made some pretty poor choices throughout my life as an alcohol user. From getting behind the wheel of my car while drunk to standing on the outside railing of a ferry crossing the Irish sea, drunk as hell, with only fresh air between me and the cold sea fifty feet below. Luckily, neither of these past choices resulted in any serious or long term consequences. However, I can’t say that about most of my past decision making. Being an alcohol user has definitely infected many important choices that I have made which have ultimately affected my whole life.

There’s an Irish saying about being so drunk that you were ‘locked out of your head’. That’s saying is a lot closer to the truth than most of us would care to admit. In a drinking culture, taking into account most of the western world, alcohol drinkers love being tipsy, drunk, pissed, or out of our heads. But we never really stop to think about what is happening to us biologically so that our bodies and minds can arrive at that feeling.
Blurred vision, loss of balance or co-ordination, difficulty understanding what someone is saying to you, having trouble with speaking, confusion, dizziness, or loss of consciousness are all common signs that a person is very drunk. They are also among the most common signs that someone is having a stroke.

That really tells you something about what’s going on in your brain to get you to the feeling of being ‘wasted’.

On a previous video, we’ve learned that alcohol is one of the few substances that can pass straight through the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB). This barrier is there a simple method of protecting your brain from harm. It can prevent most foreign substances, your own hormones and neurotransmitters that don’t belong in your cranium, and it maintains the constant environment that your brain requires. This protection has evolved over millions of years. One foreign toxin that it won’t stop is alcohol. The reason it doesn’t stop alcohol is because the blood brain barrier is not used to the levels of alcohol that are flung at it from alcoholic drinking.

Alcohol is used as a very efficient cleaner, as a solvent, and as a motor and rocket fuel, among other things. Your brain is the control centre of your entire being. You don’t do anything without it first passing through the brain. Do you really want something that is used as an industrial cleaner to be washing around inside the control centre of your entire life? Think about it, it just doesn’t make any sense…

So the next time you take a drink of alcohol, imagine what the effect is on the delicate electrochemical signalling that is responsible for processing and transmitting every thought you have.

We all have bad days and we all make some bad choices. That’s part of living and learning. The normal process when you make a mistake is to think about it, to try and isolate the reason it didn’t work out, and to change the choice or some part of the choice the next time round.

When we’re under the influence of a heavy drug like alcohol, we’re often not even aware what choice has been made, never mind the processes or the thoughts that preceded making that choice. So we cannot learn any lessons. You can’t go back over the thought process to see where you went wrong because it has generally been permanently wiped out of your memory.

There is nothing you can do about the choices that have already been made. So there’s no point in beating yourself up about them. Beating yourself up has probably driven you to use alcohol on more than one occasion, which only leads to more negativity and more of the same beating yourself up. The choices that matter are the ones you can alter, and the only ones you can alter are the ones you make from now on.

Once you make the choice not to drink alcohol again, your decisions and choices will become much cleaner. For a start, you no longer have rocket fuel running rampage in your head. Your brain will be in that constant pure environment that it needs for clear, crisp thoughts to happen.

Another reason for improved choices is that the choices you make are often cumulative. One choice can often be the catalyst for a whole series of thoughts. You are more likely to get more of your choices wrong when you are not in complete control of your brain, when you’re locked out of your head. You are more likely to make more bad decisions when your brain is bathed in something which is also used as a toxic solvent.

When you stop drinking, your choices and decisions will improve because you have better control over your thought processes. When you don’t drink alcohol, the only chemicals that are in your brain are the ones that are supposed to be there. Because you’re not wasting your time drinking and recovering, you’ll have more time to think things through, leading to better choices, which will in turn lead to better choices.

Thanks for visiting the site.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!
Kev

Benefits of Quitting Drinking

Some Previous Posts From Alcohol Mastery

Stop Drinking Alcohol Week 79
Stop Drinking Alcohol Week 80
Stop Drinking Alcohol Week 81

Where Else To Find Alcohol Mastery

Alcohol Mastery TV on YouTube
Alcohol Mastery Shorts on YouTube
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About The Author

Kevin O'Hara

If you want help quitting drinking alcohol, I recommend you join our Mastermind Coaching Program. Here you will find all the help you need with daily exclusive informative videos, Q&A's, and monthly Roundtables on relevant topics. The Mastermind Coaching Group has many supportive members at various stages of their journey. Here you'll find non-judgemental motivation, support, and accountability. Click here for more information.

19 Comments

  • sam

    Reply Reply May 24, 2015

    you’re looking fantastic Kev…you should put a before and after pic on. I quit 7 months ago with the help of your podcasts..i’m loving it and have no desire to ever drink again. thanks.

  • Jon Carden

    Reply Reply May 26, 2015

    Kevin,

    Your video “you will make better choices” was very helpful to me. I saw your first video on Wednesday May 20th on youtube and decided to stop drinking that day. Today is Tuesday May 26th and I have not had any since last Wednesday and I feel great! I wasn’t sure if I could do it because drinking had become a part of my daily life. There are people who can take it or leave it (my wife is one of them) but I am not one of those people. I have known I needed to stop for may years now but didn’t have the willpower to stop on my own initiative. Last Wednesday I asked my wife to help me stop drinking and she has. The first step we took was to do what you said to do which is get rid of all the alcohol and drinking devices in the house. We poured many beers and a bottle of whiskey down the kitchen sink. I hope this email reaches you Kevin. You are a huge help to me.

    Jon Carden, age 45
    Illinois, USA

    • Alan

      Reply Reply June 17, 2015

      Great post but I have always questioned those that can ‘take it or leave it’. Why take it in the first place? ‘Take it or leave its’ cannot leave it, that is the irony.

  • Vicki Swanson

    Reply Reply May 31, 2015

    Hello Kevin – just checking if this is getting through xx

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Reply Reply June 7, 2015

      Yep!

  • Ben

    Reply Reply June 11, 2015

    I just want to say a huge thank you. You are making giving up alcohol much easier. I’ve read books etc but you seem to be a person I can really relate to. Thanks again, only 4 days in but 4 is better than 0. Onwards and upwards!!

  • Dante

    Reply Reply July 14, 2015

    I wanted to thank you for your continued videos, I’ve been going through this cycle and had begun watching your video’s last year and had some periods of sobriety but have not sustained them. I wanted to know how you dealt with changing your environment which seems to be a big thing for me. I find when I get some significant sobriety time under my belt I sabotage myself with old environments, places and people and hence I pick up again and have binge episodes which usually occur socially, I don’t drink alone.

    I’m asking for some insight because I know early in your journey you moved from the UK and changed your entire locale. I’m actually in the process of doing that and moving to a new locale but the process is slow but I’m making steps. More importantly for me is dealing with the alcohol issue because it doesn’t matter where i move to that does not solve the crux of the problem and I’m smart enough to know that. Again, if you can give me some insight on how to deal with making the environment/people/places issue and not live the life of a hermit lol I would appreciate your insight. Again, I’m grateful for your work and I will continue to watch, listen and learn. Onwards and Upwards.

  • Caroline

    Reply Reply July 19, 2015

    omg I love this video………so totally spot on ……
    I could cry…….
    I have taken control…..something I,ve not had in 30 years.
    I am enjoying the peace and calm in my head…………I,ve landed the best job I,ve ever had and am able to master it.
    finding your site has simply validated it all.
    Quitting has been a journey…..of listening to my body again. and now your videos have validated it
    thank you xx

  • Carolyn

    Reply Reply September 7, 2015

    Thanks for sharing, Kevin. I just recently stumbled upon your videos. I’ve been sober for 1 month now & I’ve been seeing how many if not most decisions made during my drinking years were based on where, how, when, & with whom I could drink. Unfortunately, some of the results of those choices are still present in my life but im looking forward to better days! And better choices.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Reply Reply September 17, 2015

      Onwards and upwards Carolyn 🙂

  • Barbara Apple

    Reply Reply September 9, 2015

    If you see alcohol as a problem then of course you should give it up – no one should live with problems. But most alcoholics – so called – are alcoholics not because they drink alcohol but because they see alcohol as a problem. The rest of us see alcohol for what it is – a social drink; a relaxant, a fun thing and we have the odd glass of wine, occasionally overdo it with friends and the rest of the time take it or leave it. Therefore I don’t believe in this absintence – so many things are potentially bad for one ‘sugar’ ‘salt’ ‘fatty foods’ – yup, believe it or not, more people die of heart disease and obesity than of drunkeness. So please, give it a rest – if you give up alcohol because you have a problem with alcohol you still have the problem. Give that up and then you can drink precisely what you like; no problem

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Reply Reply September 17, 2015

      I’m sure a lot of heroin addicts see heroin as a relaxant, a fun thing to do. Alcohol is what alcohol is. You can use it as a solvent or you can put it in your body to make you drunk. Your body doesn’t see it as ‘a fun thing’, your body sees it as a toxin. This is why we can’t drink pure alcohol, why most people vomit when they first drink it, and why three and a half million people die every year from drinking the stuff.

      You are right of course, more people do die from heart disease and obesity than from alcohol consumption. But obesity and heart disease have many causes, death from alcohol has just the one – alcohol.
      Obesity and heart disease are two other causes of early death which are directly attributable to treating our bodies like rubbish bins, putting entertaining our taste buds over taking care of our health.

      I still have a problem with alcohol, you are right again, Barbara. I have a problem with our society treating this drug with such an indifferent attitude. Three and a half million people die every year by using this drug, yet we still consider it a mere ‘social drink’, a relaxant, a fun thing.

      Three and a half million people die every year from this drug and yet we are still the biggest pushers for our own children, leading them down the same ignorant paths we have been taken.

      Even though I spent over thirty years drinkig alcohol, I don’t need this or any other drug in my life. I relax much, much better than I ever did while I was poisoning my body with alcohol in the name of fun. I have much more fun now and I remember every gorgeous fun moment. I never make a fool of myself because I’m wacked out of my head…although I do occasionally make a fool out of myself, so my nieces tell me 🙂 And I really don’t need to be lubricated to be social. I do fine being out and about in social situations with my non-pickled brain thank you very much.

      If you don’t want to quit drinking, nobody is asking you to, it’s completely up to you. Alcohol is not an illegal drug. You won’t be sent to prison for being a user or a dealer. And it’s your body. You can do with what you want. Free will and all that! It just seems a bit ironic that you make a comment on a post about the benefits of quitting drinking. Why are you looking for information about quitting drinking if you aren’t already questioning alcohol in your own life. If you need help, Barbara, you’ll find plenty of people here who have taken a new journey and have opened their eyes to the propaganda and lies that our alcoholic society would have them believe.

  • Pedro

    Reply Reply October 8, 2015

    Thanks for sharing Kevin. I’ve been sober for 30 days now, wich might not seem much but I don’t remember the last time I went so long without it in the last 8yrs. It mainly has to do with your videos and the way you simplify the process of being able to enjoy life and facing your daily life without getting drunk. I picked up lifting weights again, started loosing weight and my self-confidence has gone up. I don’t have to lie or worry about the next fix. I can actually enjoy my kids and be present in their life not jus physically but also mentally. . The best part is that I stopped feeling sorry about myself and realized that life is too good to be blacked out. .thanks Kev…

    Pedro Ramirez. ..
    Hartford, ct.

  • Teren

    Reply Reply January 4, 2016

    Thanks for your perspective on this. I’d known for some time, years, that quitting was my only answer. Having read plenty of self sobering books over a lot of time and slipping backwards on my journey toward sobriety, I’d given up trying. One Friday night blackout was my stimulus to leave it alone. I read Alan Carr’s books on the topic and his words fit my need. A slip a few weeks later in order to cope with company and I returned to my reading and my goal to not use alcohol in future. It was then I found your videos and books, and I am overjoyed to find clear help! I’m a confirmed non drinker and have already gained so much in this short time. Being only twenty-nine days without this poison has made my llife much better. For your part I offer my sincere thanks, and my hope that you continue helping others, as you are helping me.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Reply Reply January 6, 2016

      Your life can only keep improving without the poison, Teren. Keep us informed on how you’re doing. Kevin

  • Pamela

    Reply Reply January 28, 2016

    Hi Kevin

    Three weeks and doing very well. Years ago I heard Elton John say the if he opened a bottle of wine with the intention to have only one glass he knew unlike his friends the whole bottle would go. I realised it’s not how much one drinks but rather why. I have felt as thoughI I was living with a demon on my back and the downward mental spiral of guilt was affecting my confidence and pervading every area of my life. My motivation is my mental well being and the videos have been brilliant. AA just was not something I felt would help me. I really feel my life has taken a new path. So thank you.

    Pamela

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Reply Reply February 4, 2016

      You’re welcome. As you say, find the why and the how becomes easy.

  • A Teacher and a Mom

    Reply Reply March 13, 2016

    Hi Kevin,

    I’m a month in and your videos and podcasts have really helped me this month. I continuously feel my determination flounder though I know beyond any doubt that this needs to be done. If I am feeling a trigger (which for me right now, is very easy) I take 1/4 pill of Antabuse (sp?) and listen to/read your transcripts. I’ve only had to take a pill a few times, but it stops the obsessive thinking. Listening to your podcasts reassures me that I CAN do this (many failures, AA months, etc). My favorite mantras are “I am not a drinker” and “No more alcohol will pass these lips”. AA helped me for a few months quite a few years ago, but as I am an atheist, the higher power part never sat right with me. I never did get a sponsor or do the steps. I just went to the meetings. It didn’t work, obviously. Like many here, I feel I am at a crossroads to professional ruin, deteriorating physical and mental health, and damaged relationships. I am looking forward to reversing all of this. This month alone, I am so much more confident and even-keeled at work. The weight of guilt and paranoia have been lifted from my shoulders. Stupidly, I hear me telling me, “Maybe on vacation you can drink”… those thoughts, etc. I know it’s not true. I will continue to revisit your videos to talk sense into myself. This is a great thing you’re doing. Know how much I dearly appreciate it!

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Reply Reply March 14, 2016

      Thanks for the post. I’ve just got back from a vacation, just a short one, and alcohol is something that I am so glad I don’t do any more. I get so much more out of my days, and nights, whereas before I copped on my holidays just became a blur. Glad to be playing a small part in your reversal process 🙂

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