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Changing Your Self-Perception – Stop Drinking Alcohol 72

by | Stop Drinking Alcohol, Year Two | 8 comments

About the eBook

First off, I just want to thank everyone who has bought the eBook. I’m just overwhelmed with the response.
It’s on Amazon as well. It already has its first customer review – five stars! So I’m really stoked about that.
In the next week or two, what I’m going to try to get out for next week is the audio book, so keep an eye out for that.

Subscriber’s Question

I want to read out one of the questions from the website this week. It was in “Can I Drink Alcohol-Free Beer?” The guy said he wasn’t sure whether or not I answered the question right with a yes or a no.
“I’m a new non-alcoholic. Just found all your YouTube videos by accident but I really enjoy the many topics and the sheer number of them. They are definitely helping me.
Anyways, I agree with the barman joke when he says “What’s the point?” But then, what are you doing going up to the bar in the first place?
I find drinking non-alcoholic beer really helps me with the urges I get, because it doesn’t really taste that great. So it’s a reminder how awful beer tastes. Usually one 0.5% beer will take away the urge completely. It might not be for everyone but it definitely helps me remember the taste of beer when all my mind is saying “Need. That. Alcohol.”
Kevin, my point is that you should have elaborated the pros and cons more. It seems like you ended it saying “no.”
Thanks for all the videos.”

The Barman Story

It was basically the first time I quit drinking and I was off it for 10 months.
I went to Greece because there was a really good friend’s wedding. We were out on our own one night and we went to this particular bar.
I’ve been drinking diet cokes and I just wanted to taste the beer. So I asked him for an alcohol-free beer.
He said to me, “What’s that?” I said, “It’s a beer with no alcohol.” He looked at me, like I was stupid, and said, “What’s the point in that?”

Going into Bars

I was in a bar because everyone else in the party has gone into the bar. I love going into bars anyway and I always go in with a purpose. I do go in to watch matches and I sometimes eat in bars because sometimes bar food is cool.
When I first moved back to Ireland in 1992 or 1993, we moved to a small little place in the west of Ireland called Carrigaholt in County Clare. The population of the town must have been maybe 300. There were 6 pubs but there’s only one pub really where you could get good grub.
I remember the first time we walked into the one of the bars down there. We were strangers. It’s the first time ever in my life that I’ve walked into an almost completely full bar.
Everything and everyone shut up. It was the freakiest moment of my life. It lasted for maybe a couple of seconds but it felt like it lasted a lot longer.

Alcohol-Free Beer

If you find that alcohol-free beer is helping you, then go for it.
I tried a Shandy a few weeks ago. Shandy is sort of an alcohol-free beer mixed with lemonade. I took a couple sips out of it and I just found the whole thing distasteful.
It just reminded me of something that I didn’t want to go back to again. I didn’t want to be reminded of the taste because it reminded me of getting drunk and just the whole sad lifestyle that I was in back then.
Sometimes you get reminded with a smell. It’s not a pleasant thing when I think about it like that. That’s something that I have to deal with.
I know it’s not anything catastrophic in my life. It’s just a stupid thought. I do deal with it, so there’s no hassle with it.
It probably happens mostly when I’m not feeling in the best form. Sometimes I get a whiff of a glass of wine. If I’m not feeling in best form, sometimes it can just bring back this memory of somewhere I don’t want to be anymore.

Expectation of the Mind

One of the reasons I never drank alcohol-free beer in the beginning was I always thought that the taste of the beer would just keep on reminding me of drinking.
I wanted to get away from that. So there are plenty of other drinks out there. For me, it was diet coke or orange juice.
I always thought that my brain was expecting one thing after the other. So once I got the taste of the alcohol, my brain would automatically expect the buzz.
I didn’t think my mind could divorce itself from those two things. I didn’t know that you can separate that taste from the expectation of buzz. If your mind is always expecting the buzz, then it’s going to be disappointing.

Quitting Smoking and Drinking

A friend of mine over here is trying to stop smoking. I know how really hard that is. I hated every moment of me trying to even stop smoking. He tries everything.
He tried to go cold turkey in the beginning. He goes to nicotine patches. He’ll go for the little plastic sucky thing where you put the capsule inside.
I think the last attempt he did was with these electronic cigarettes where you get the feeling of actually pulling on a cigarette and there’s fake smoke. It’s just completely sad. You can see it.
I told him that he’s just kidding his mind. He’s keeping himself hooked into the nicotine because his mind is not getting away from the cigarettes when all he wants to do really is smoke a cigarette.
He gets the nicotine buzz but everything else is left out – what we consider the pleasure part of the smoking, the drawing, the feeling of the hot smoke. There’s a whole package of things there that are missing when one only takes the nicotine. They’re getting the nicotine buzz but people don’t smoke for that.
He knew what I was talking about but he said that he couldn’t quit smoking on his own. There’s no way I could try to convince him.
There’s no such thing as “I can’t do anything.” You just need to have the will power and stick through it.
But it is very difficult to tell that. I’ve gone through that and I’ve done the whole thing. I’ve stopped smoking and stopped drinking.
It just makes me sound like a smart-ass when I say “You can do this. I’ve done it and stuff.” Like drinking, there has to be a big reason to stop.

Personal Choice

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone to drink alcohol-free beer. It’s a complete personal choice. I wouldn’t do it, if I had to do the whole thing again [quit drinking all over again] I still wouldn’t do it.
I wanted to distance myself from any type of connection with alcohol – either with the taste, with the paraphernalia, with everything. I just thought it was so dangerous to me to have that stuff around me in the beginning.
Now, I couldn’t care anymore whether there’s a corkscrew around or whether there was a bottle of wine. I could live in a winery and it wouldn’t make any difference to me anymore.

Never Going Back

My big problem with it would come maybe after a couple of months when I’m starting to feel the effects or benefits of not drinking. I’m starting to feel my body, how it should feel without the alcohol, and starting to be healthy with a moment in my pocket, just when things are looking better.
Because when I feel a lot stronger, my mind starts to go, “This alcohol-free beer is not really giving me that buzz. I still want that buzz. I’m missing that extra bit of edge.
One won’t do me any harm. I’ve been off it now for two months and I feel loads better. My brain is getting around it now so I could control it if I just have one beer.”
That’s the way my mind always worked whenever I try to do something. It was the way my mind worked when I stopped smoking. I would be off the cigarettes for months. I’d be out drinking and I’d feel that urge and the craving.
It wouldn’t matter what I had with me if I had a cigarette patch or anything. It wasn’t nicotine that I was craving for. It was because standing there at the bar or in the smoking room with the ladies and my mates who were also smoking.
I wanted to feel that hot smoke going down my throat. I would always be, “Ah sure, I’ll just have one.” Then I’d end up buying a packet or I’d start smoking cigars and convince myself that I wasn’t really smoking.
Or I’d buy a packet and only smoke when I was drinking and convincing myself that I wasn’t a smoker. It wasn’t long before I went back.
That was the fear that I always had with alcohol-free beers. It would just keep my taste open enough for my cravings. So that when I did feel that strength coming back to me, a couple of months down the lane and I knew that I could stop then, it would be very easy to sort of go well.
“Yeah sure, all I’m going to do now is have the one pint, I’ll have the one drink or have the one half.” One then leads into two, then it would be maybe just smoking or drinking during weekends. Before I knew it, I’d be straight back on to it again. It wouldn’t take long.
That’s just the way my mind works. I think that’s the same for a lot of people.

Controlling Drinking

I just wouldn’t recommend alcohol-free beers to a lot of people. It would be a definite “no” for me.
I think to successfully control drinking, you have to be in a state of mind where you can drink one pint and that’s it. You don’t want anymore.
That was just not something that I could do. It’s not something that I could ever learn how to do because I’m a drinker. I was raised as a proper drinker, going out into pubs and getting pissed. Whenever I had a drink, the aim was to get pissed. I don’t think I could learn not to do that.
I think I could control drinking to a certain extent, for a certain length of time, but then I’d go back to my old ways. Even if I could, it would be a nightmare just forever doing something, and you always want to go that one step further.
For me it would be like going in and having a perpetual lap dance. What’s the point? For me it’s just distancing myself forever from alcohol and just never going back. I feel my life is so much better now.
I know I keep saying this but I would be afraid to drink now. I would be afraid to touch anything, not because of the damage it would but because of the damage it would do to my life.
My life is getting to a place now where I’m starting to really love what I’m doing. I’m starting to love my life again after a long time of being under the yoke of alcohol. I’m not going to risk that again.


Today I want us to talk about self-perception, perceptions you have about yourself and the world. Everything that we see around us, our realities are perceived through our senses – your sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch.
All those things start out as electrical impulses. Your brain interprets those electrical impulses and it forms your version of reality. Your version of reality, to all intents and purposes, is fairly unique.
There are a lot of different things that shape our reality. You have the environment outside, everything that’s going on outside, people around you. Then you have your internal thoughts, your memories.
I’m reading a great book at the moment called The Self Illusion. This guy is talking about memory as being like a compost heap, so that everything gets thrown in there.
Some of the stuff breaks down really quickly and other parts of it just take much longer time to break down. Eventually, most things break down into one big mess.
He’s talking about the memories that lie to us, that we think that we remember something, when in reality it’s not really as crystal clear as what we remember.
A lot of people think that our memories are like movies that we store it away or like a database where we can store our memories and get instant access. Even our memories of a few hours ago can be very deceptive and can lie to us.
A lot of our perceptions are dependent on where we put our attention, where we put our focus. You can really only focus on one thing at a time.
It also has a lot to do with expectations out of life. It also has a lot to do with what you think other people are thinking about you, how you expect other people to think about you.

Self-Perceptions about Drinking

In terms of quitting drinking, you have to change your perceptions about yourself when you quit. It’s essential that you go from thinking about yourself as a drinker, taking away all the negativity.
I thought about some terrible stuff about myself, all those stupid thoughts and self-perceptions that weren’t really true. I was locking myself into these labels and kept me drinking for a long time. Once you start calling yourself a certain thing, then you start becoming it.
Well, life change, any changes in life, these self-perceptions are in a very dynamic process. Your expectations and how you see yourself are not going to be the same thing. It might be ever so slightly but change still happens.
All your self-perceptions about yourself as a drinker, for instance, are brought about by your culture. I say it’s not an excuse to carry on drinking by using your culture and saying it is part of the culture. In essential, if there wasn’t any drinking in your culture, you wouldn’t drink.
So it is a fact that we drink because of the culture that’s around us. We drink because of the people that are around us. There are so many different factors in life that lead us into drinking in the first place.
By the time we get to 18 years of age, we essentially can’t wait into the pub. It’s a natural progression to go into a pub and buy a drink and get drunk.
That’s a self-perception that we really have to work on and get rid of. It is one of the hardest things to get rid of, unfortunately.
The more work you do, the more time you put between yourself and drinking, the easier it gets. Most of this stuff works underneath the surface, so you don’t even know this is happening. It’s only ever so often that it pops up and you have to think – Jesus, I haven’t thought like that in a long while, the habit memory thought.

Other People’s Perceptions Versus Our Own Self-Perception

Virginia Satir said that you can’t allow other people’s perceptions of us to define us. She was a great family therapist from the middle of the twentieth century. It’s true you have to sort our things.
Am I being forced into drinking by what I think other people are thinking about me? Do I drink because I don’t want to be an outcast within the group that I’m in?
It’s not a good way to think. If you base your life around what other people think about you, then you’re going to change all the time because other people’s opinions of you are also changing.
For a start, you’re not a psychic. You can’t really get into another person’s mind and say, “That’s definitely what they’re thinking.”
Secondly, even if you knew what they were thinking, people are just as skittish with their opinions as the rest of us. There opinions are going to change over time, so what’s the point?
One of the ways that you should think about your own self-perception is to think like it’s a super power. It’s the thing that you can control.
Either way, good or bad perceptions, you can drive your own self-perception down whichever path you want it to take or not want it to take. If you’re driving your self-perception down this path that you’re an alcoholic and you’re always going to be an alcoholic, then that’s going to happen. What you ask for, what you think is what you really are, but you can change that around and make it into something else.

I’m going to talk a lot more about this in this week’s podcast, which I think should be out on Friday this week.
Thanks again for all your kind support. If you have any questions about any of this stuff, leave a comment. If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, then get into that.
Until next time. Onwards and upwards.

Thanks for visiting the site.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!
Changing Your Self-Perception - Stop Drinking Alcohol 72

Some Previous Posts From Alcohol Mastery

Stop Drinking Alcohol Week 69
Stop Drinking Alcohol Week 70
Stop Drinking Alcohol Week 71

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Alcohol Mastery TV on YouTube
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  1. ron

    great little book Kev

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Cheers Ron… first one down, onto the next!

  2. Kim

    Kevin….just want to say thank you for Alcohol Mastery. I quit drinking Aug. 2, 2014. Your podcasts and videos have become my daily dose of rational thinking. My crutch was wine, 3-5 glasses every day. I quit to have clarity and remove the fog that was preventing me to become my authentic self. My self perception was on a downward spiral. I had a war in my head everyday – in the morning I hated the foggy head, mad at myself for drinking the night before, and telling myself each day that THAT was it! By 5:00, I got the “poor me” attitude and poured myself a glass. I hated this war in my head and find that not having it is the best reward of all in quitting. I feel confident there will be no more battles. I bought your ebook in support of your cause, and look forward to reading it. Your reinforcement is great. My best to you in making this your life cause. Kim

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hey Kim, take a listen to this weeks podcast… should be out 30th, about self perception… next weeks as well…. thanks for your support btw.

  3. Rochelle L.

    Hi Kevin,

    I’m still here – alive and well, just haven’t commented in awhile.
    I really liked this video and the more you can do on perception and the Mind – the better! I think AA fan or not (and I am NOT) That’s what it all gets down to anyway!
    I am so AA’d out but I have to go to get the required signatures to get the interlock (blow device & it does “BLOW”) out of my vehicle.
    I want to order the ebook soon. Very affordable too! Keep up the great videos, Kevin!
    Rochelle L.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      I appreciate it Rochelle. Glad you’re keeping strong!

  4. Mark

    108 days clean now due to finding this savior/man at the right time.
    It’s like screwing a wooden leg on every day, it has to be done every day in order to walk. This is a tough discipline too, it’s gotten easier, but it’s constantly around us in the modern world in which we live to entice us back down the slope again.
    I thank you Mr O Hara for the no nonsense way you have handled your magnificent achievement..
    Thank you Sir,
    Mark in London.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hey Mark, good for you on 108 days, and thanks for the very kind comments…


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