One of the most pertinent questions you can ask yourself when you are quitting drinking alcohol is why are you doing it? Is it just about stopping drinking alcohol?
We all start this journey from a specific place within our lives.
It’s Not Just About Quitting Alcohol Unless That’s All You Want
Look at your life like a timeline.
At the beginning of your personal timeline is your birth into this world. At the other end, your departure. There is one single spot along the timeline that represents where you are right now, the present moment. You cannot change where you are now, just as you cannot change your past. These things are fixed in stone. What you can change, however, is what happens next. You have no control over how long that future lasts. It could be another 70 years, it could be another 70 hours… There is no telling.
The average life expectancy for men and women in the United States is 76.4 and 81.2 years respectively. This compares with 78.6 and 83.4 for their European counterparts. Not really much of a difference. So, if you are male, living in the western world, you can expect to live into your mid to late 70s. For females, life expectancy is early to mid 80s. This is the average life expectancy.
Just because you have lived a certain way until now, indulged in detrimental lifestyles, it doesn’t mean to say that you have to carry on doing these things.
Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating a malnourished diet, and being a couch potato are all things that are completely within your control. You don’t have to do these things. In fact, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of scientific studies that have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that if you change these things, removing the bad and including the good in your lifestyle, you can increase your life span, but more importantly, you can increase the quality of life that you lead in your later years.
So, what is it that you are trying to achieve when you are quitting drinking alcohol? Are you including changes in these areas of your life?
What about other areas of your life?
Did you know that the leading cause of disability in the United States is major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD affects 16 million adults, or about 6.7% of the US population over 18. But, depression, anxiety, and stress affect many, many more people than this. The western world has quickly developed multiple drugs to combat the effects of depression. But not much is being done about the causes of this depression.
What causes depression? War, terrorism, politics, the economy, education, and so on and so on… These things are almost completely outside of our control.
There are many other things which are much closer to home causing us depression and anxiety and stress. The jobs we work in. How much money we have (or have not) in our bank accounts. Our mortgages. Our taxes. Our levels of education. Where we live. How we live.
Most of these things are in our control. We can become better educated. We can find better jobs, perhaps as a result of that better education. We can quit our jobs and become self-employed, again as a result of a better education. We can move to better houses, to better environments, out of the cities and into the countryside… Out of the countryside and into the cities (if that’s your thing).
I hope you get where I’m coming from with this.
Look again at your timeline. The past is the past. The present is where you are, and you cannot change that any more than you can change your past. But you can alter your future. You can alter your future in terms of your health, your finances, your situation, your location, who you are, who you are with, what you do for a living, what you do for fun and pleasure, and the legacy that you leave behind. These are all things which are within your control.
I speak for myself when I say that quitting drinking alcohol was THE game changer in my life. It was the one thing which was not just holding me back, it was effectively destroying any hopes that I had for my future.
When I stopped drinking alcohol, it released me from the shackles that had been preventing me from moving forwards in a sustained way. Always one step forwards and two steps back.
The fact is, I didn’t have any real idea about what I wanted to do after I quit drinking alcohol. I was so stuck in the habit, I couldn’t see outside. I had packaged myself into a small box, and there was, trapped. Sometimes it’s just so difficult to envision yourself doing something else when your mind has been reduced by a narrowing of experiences.
In those weeks and months preceding January 2012, all I wanted to do was to change. Right up until a week before I finally made the decision to stop drinking alcohol, I still thought that moderation was possible.
In December 2011, I finally realised that moderation was not possible because it would always lead me back to the same place. So I stepped across the line to my new life in January 2012. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to drink again. I knew that I couldn’t drink again. That was a simplicity that made things very easy.
What I didn’t realise was how pervasive this behaviour had become. I didn’t realise all the nooks and crannies that my alcohol drinking had seeped into. This is where you will have to focus most of your energy after you get rid of the alcohol. But once you start working hard in these areas of your life, that’s when you start to understand where the real magic happens.
Change is change. Change will happen to you whether you like it or not. Some of that change is within your control. If you don’t take that control, if you don’t direct that change, it will be directed for you by a myriad of outside influences. In the end, you will be buffeted around like a leaf in a storm, eventually settling where fate plonks you down.
The prospects that lay before you, once you quit drinking alcohol, are huge. How huge? That’s up to you. I always think that if a lifetime goal doesn’t make you at least think about peeing your pants, you should seriously reconsider.
So, ask yourself again, why do you want to quit drinking alcohol? Is quitting drinking alcohol all you really want to do? Why?
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