Today I wanted to do a quick video on some of the reasons why, almost four years ago, I started Alcohol Mastery.
When I started Alcohol Mastery it wasn’t anything to do with trying to help other people. It was about trying to understand myself.
At the time, I was undertaking another project and I was doing a lot of writing, for different websites and I wanted to experiment with making Videos. So, I decided that the ideal way for me to develop skills in speaking in front of a camera and all that entailed was to combine that with making some videos that also put some serious information out there about quitting alcohol.
So, Alcohol Mastery started out with a regular weekly blog to teach me these skills. In reality, it turned out that I was actually, trying to understand myself, where I was and where I was going in life.
On a fundamental level I felt like a failure. I felt that I was making so many mistakes in my life and that I was taking one step forward and two steps backwards – and it was – all because of drinking alcohol.
I had taken me a long time to get to that conclusion, that, that it was to do with alcohol and not my intelligence, my work ethic or anything like that. When I wasn’t drinking alcohol I could work hard, I could think about things and get a good string of thoughts going. I really needed that time to sit down and evaluate things, from the perspective of just where I was.
I’ve always believed that we – as human beings – have got a massive potential to grow. I believe in the growth mindset. I’ve always been a fairly positive person and the only times when I haven’t been positive or that I have gone against that growth mindset, have been times when I’ve been coming down off the alcohol, or on a binge, or during one of those times when the alcohol got the better of me. And that lifestyle where the Alcohol got the better of me was happening more and more.
I have said in a lot of my videos that the buzz was getting less and the consequences were extending outwards and getting more severe as the years went on. It’s difficult to try and balance those two things, to try and balance yourself as an individual who is capable of growth and has a positive outlook on life with the other side of you who at the same is self-destructing and doing something on regular basis which is to all intents and purposes, a very slow form of suicide.
Now as I’ve said, I’ve never looked at alcohol like that before. I’ve always thought about myself as being an Irish Guy, a strong guy – I worked in a tough industry – the Forestry for many years. I hung around with Guys that were also working in the Forestry or who worked on the roads, Carpenters, Brick Layers and all those kinds of people who were hard people.
One of my best mates was a Landscape Gardener, but despite his drinking – I think he used to smoke more pot than drink – but he was a very fit Guy and I used to look up to him and wonder how he was managed that. I was doing the same physical job but had a lot of weight on me. The actual reasons behind it was because of that fact he’d maybe drink four or five beers and he’d leave, where I’d drink twice that amount and stay. I also had my dinner in the Pub and one thing just lead to another and my whole alcohol drinking lifestyle, ballooned outwards badly with my bad diet in general and not getting enough exercise.
When you do a job for a lot of years, your body tends to get a tolerance to it, just the same as you get a tolerance for alcohol and over time, your body can get to a balance of where it’s going to burn energy and where it’s going to conserve energy. If you’re eating a lot of stuff – for my height and size I’m supposed to only be eating 2500 to 3000 calories a day – and if I exceeding that, not only with the alcohol I’m drinking but with the food I’m eating, I’ve got to balance that out with more exercise. Work alone wasn’t going to do that and I just wasn’t interested in doing any exercise outside of work. Once work was finished. I’d spend some time with my Son and then I wanted to go to the Pub.
As I’ve also said a lot of times before, one of the areas where I was failing was in being the role model I needed to be for my Son. My wife had died when my Son was thirteen and so through his teenage years, I was a single Parent, and my Son only had me to look up to. From a lot of aspects, I did a good job but that being said, but from a lot of other aspects I didn’t. Instead of being with him and schooling him or taking him out and doing things with him, I spent a lot of the time the Pub or drinking at home with him.
Any drinking habit is a selfish habit and – even when drinking with others – it is also a very inward habit. You are the only one who feels the buzz or anything else from it. And what you’re giving out slowly deteriorating the drunker you get and the more bullshit you come out with. I can only imagine what kind of a life it was for my Son and I regret that but there’s nothing I can do about it now except move forward.
My number one plan from day one has always been to be a good Father to my Son and I think I’m achieving that. I think that in many areas of my life I am able to be very solid for him if he needs any help at all, he’s only a telephone call away. I feel much better about myself because of this.
Another aspect of how Alcohol Mastery has developed is that once I started looking around for information about quitting drinking alcohol – both in the days just before I stopped drinking and in the early days of quitting drinking – there was not a lot around.
There was the AA and there were a lot of Forums available, but the information was very mixed and there was not a lot of positive stuff out there to say that you can do this. It was all a mixture of the nightmare of what alcohol can do to you physically and mentally and how long it’s going to take you to get away from alcohol – if in fact you managed to do so – to the way of AA preaching where you’ve got to sort of call down a higher power to help you, that you can’t do it yourself, that it’s a disease, it’s alcoholism and once you are an alcoholic you are always an alcoholic – all it takes is one drink again and you’re back on it again.
That was all I could find, along with the bullshit about the demon drink and that kind of crap, and I just thought that there should be more than that.
I have studied a lot of books and have listened to a lot of people. When I worked in the Forestry a lot of the work that I used to do was cutting what they called inspection paths, which was where you would cut the branches of the leaves from one side to the other and you would do a criss cross effect across the path, to enable a Forester to access and inspect the trees. This work was done alone. There was another Guy, but he would be about half a kilometre/a kilometre away. And so, I used to listen to a lot self-help audio books and different speakers talking about different things on my Ipod.
So, over the years, I have had this positivity and the idea that you’re responsible for yourself, drummed into me and afterwards, when I started reading about habits and habitual behavioural, the penny dropped and I realised that drinking was a habit and like any habit there was a way of moving away and destroying that habit and then replacing it with something else.
It was from this point that I started to get a grip on where I was in my life and with my own addictions and I’ve never looked back from there. Since then it’s been onwards and upwards all the time.
The more I think about my past, the more I wonder where I could have been if I’d learnt this stuff years ago – but I didn’t – instead I am where I am now in my life. I written another book, I’ve got a video course coming out in a couple of weeks’ time – which I’m just getting ready to filming – and if you’d have asked me five years ago, where I would be in five years’ time, I would never have thought about where I am now with the things I’ve done, the knowledge I’ve got gained and the progress that I’ve made in my life.
Up until now and during my drinking life, I’ve always made that one step forward, one step forward, two steps backwards, two steps backwards. I never made a progressive sustained effort going forwards. There were periods in my life, where I did do it, because I had to. When my Son was born, I was like a demon, I was out there working and I didn’t drink that much but it was just the newness of the whole thing and gradually life gets on to you and the habit.
Once you are used to using alcohol as a relaxant and as a tool – in whatever shape and form you use it – it becomes a habit in itself. The alcohol is just a means to an end, it’s just a tool that you use in order to get you from A to B, from what you want in life, from being unrelaxed to being relaxed. That’s the only thing that alcohol is and if it wasn’t for alcohol – once you have that type of mentality – you’re going to find something else.
If you’re looking for something outside of yourself in order to make you relax, be sociable or to help you go to sleep, that something outside of yourself – you have to bring it in. Whether it’s in a pill form or a liquid form, the more you rely on it the more you’re going to rely on it. It is like a vicious circle, you rely on it one day and you stop trying to relax or sleep in any other way and eventually you become dependent on this one thing in order to help you to relax or to sleep or to socialise or to solve problems – to forget what every else you are doing – and this is a life of a drinker.
I know people, like my Fathers Aunties, are occasional drinkers. She would drink when somebody important visited, like her brothers and sisters, she’d drink at a celebration – Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas – and it would always only be something small, like a small glass of Sherry. It would always be a small celebratory drink – not let’s get pissed out of our heads.
If you’re outside of that, if you drink to get drunk, then you’re using alcohol as a tool from going sober to drunk and there is always a reason for that, I’m not going to go into this here, but once you’re that type of a drinker, one that you uses alcohol as a tool to get you from A to B, it’ is very difficult, almost impossible to break that habit.
There’s a lot of people who say you can control drinking, that there is a way of controlling drinking and that kind of drinking is a long term process not just for a week or a month or a year but for the rest of your life, because you always want to go back to where you were.
There are certain people who cop onto themselves at a certan point in their life, and they realise that what they’re doing is bullshit and they want to change, stop drinking regularly and just have the occasional drink.
I was never going to be one of those people. I saw how much damage alcohol had done to me, I saw how much of an impeding force alcohol was in my life and I realised that kind of thinking and linking alcohol or any drug with that thinking – with that short-term gratification and short term problem solving – was always going to lead to crappy life and long term consequences.
To drink in order not to think about the problem, leaves the problem unsolved the next week and the next month and the is not just still there, it has also got worse. It is very difficult to claw yourself back from that point, because you not only have this problem you’ve also put to one side but others that you’ve also put to one side which accumulate, they gather more volume as they start rolling down the hill and it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and you’re just so muddled with the whole thing along with the muddling of your brain because of all the alcohol in there and the muddling of your life because of all the alcohol that’s in there and then you’ve got a massive problem on your hands.
So, for me, alcohol and just that mindset of solving anything with alcohol, that I needed to relax with alcohol, that I needed alcohol to socialise, that I needed alcohol to feel like man, to feel anything – that’s what I had to get rid of in my life and that is really what’s been driving alcohol mastery all these years. Just to teach people that one simple thing – that once you start using alcohol or any drug as a tool, something outside of yourself to solve a problem that needs to be solved internally – then you’re in big trouble.
And that’s the sort of reason why alcohol mastery has lasted so long. I started out talking about this stuff and talking about it with the very narrow perspective of where I was at the time during week one, week two and those early weeks, where I was talking about my own problems, what was happening to me, how I was trying to figure out and how I was going forward.
I think that helps a lot of people but this whole thing about changing your life style has just happened to me gradually and it’s dawned on me that it’s not only the day by day not drinking the alcohol, but the day by day moving away from drinking alcohol, moving away from thinking it has any fucking relevance in my life whatsoever – because it doesn’t – and this is what alcohol mastery is all about.
Alcohol is forced cultural bullshit, forced cultural poison, which is dominating so many people’s lives and the more you drink the more tolerant you get for the physical alcohol in your body and your emotion tolerance for it. You start to believe things psychologically, so you get a psychological tolerance for it whilst we’ve already been born into a cultural tolerance of it.
Alcohol is everywhere and people don’t bat an eye lid. If alcohol was brought out today, it would be a Class A drug, a Schedule One drug I think it’s called in America. It wouldn’t be Schedule 5 or a Class E drug (I don’t know if that’s a thing) but it would be at the top of the list, it would probably be banned from everywhere. it would be because it’s a killer, three and a half million people every year die from drinking this drug from taking this alcohol, from things caused by alcohol use – three and a half million people. Two hundred medical conditions are caused by alcohol drinking and it’s terrible that we don’t as a culture get up in arms about this. How many people die from malaria? It’s nowhere near three and a half million people anyway.
That’s the reason why I started alcohol mastery and that’s the reason why it’s growing and it’s growing and hopefully it will keep on growing. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going in myself. I really feel strongly about this, it’s an absolute scourge not only for the people who are drinking alcohol now but for the many generations who will also be effected, if we don’t do something about this.
There are more children now drinking in their school days then ever before. I’ve talked about this before were adult diseases are now being found in our children. Children shouldn’t be getting these things, diabetes, adult onset diabetes, has got disastrous effects on children’s lives as they grow older, but you know a lot of children aren’t going to grow older because of this.
We have such base attitudes towards this fucking evil drug and I don’t mean it from the perspective that the drug itself is evil you know, it’s not, is just a substance, but the whole thinking, the cultural misconception and cultural brain washing that we are passing down to our children and will continue to be passed down generations as long as the drug companies are allowed to carry on as they are.
It is my hope that alcohol drinking is going to go the way of cigarettes and that warning labels and plain product labels will be enforced which will then put a severe dent in the marketing and the brainwashing of alcohol companies. But this isn’t happening as we speak, there are certain restrictions coming out as to where and how they can advertise – they not allowed to advertise with children’s programmes – but they are allowed to advertise in sport which as anyone knows children are involved in as well as adults making the reach of these companies huge.
So today, I just thought I would do a video on why I started Alcohol Mastery and what my motivation for Alcohol Mastery is, going forwards.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Leave us a comment down below and give us a thumbs up if you like the video. If you’re over on the website, then please sign up for the newsletter, you can get either a daily newsletter or if you prefer to receive a weekly newsletter then I’ll send you out a synopsis of all the videos that are coming out and just a few words of encouragement and that kind of thing, every day.
“The Self is also a Creation, the Principle work of your Life, the Crafting of which makes everyone an Artist”
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!
I hope you are keeping well. I loved the post. I am still on my own journey of 7 plus months alcohol free. I still watch your posts every day, even watch 2 or 3 older ones as well. I do hope that you can keep the site going as it has been a huge help for me and I am sure countless others.
I’ll keep a site going, no problem. I’m starting a new site in March or April 2017, covering more general aspects of habit, nutrition, and positive psychology.
Hi Kevin. Thanks for sharing your story .Very interesting that the information you could find on quitting was less than satisfactory. My only reason that I have managed to stay off the drink this time is down to your exceptional videos which have been more insightful than anything else I have found ….period. I don’t think that Governments / medical industries really want real good information out there for people for fear of the huge tax revenues which would be lost. Personally I think it will be many decades before alcohol is seen in the same light as smoking. .I do hope I am wrong. Thanks so much Kevin .3 month’s now and looking forward to Christmas without the need to drink .
Hi Michael, I think not finding a lot of information was partly down to me, not knowing where to look, and so much bad information out there. I think until we see government costs exceeding alcohol tax revenue, we won’t see much change. Christmas is great without alcohol. Can’t wait!
Thanks Kevin! Trying to keep up with all your posts this year (I’m still back in October, but skipping around a bit). Enjoying all your videos and how they’ve evolved. Coming up on 8 months alcohol free as of this Saturday and feeling great. I’ve found the best way to listen to you is by iPod while hiking — I’m seriously grateful for having discovered you and your 2 audiobooks; looking forward to the new one. Best, Chris
Thanks Chris, glad to help.
Hi Kevin: I’ve just lost my wife on Friday, and because of your videos I am able to stay off the alcohol. I know you lost your wife so you know how difficult a time I’m going through.
I so much appreciate the work that you were doing, it truly is wonderful. Keep up the good work .
Sorry to hear that Bill. There’s not a lot I can say to you except cliches. Time is a great healer. It’s the only one that makes any real sense at times like this. I wish you the best of luck and you are in my thoughts.
Loved the post . Cant tell you how much influence you have had on my life . I am AF for the past three years due to the help of alcohol mastery . Wishing you the best keep going . Dee.
Glad to help Dee.
Great Video again Kevin. Listening to you has ten times more effect on me then any AA meeting will ever do, it just really seems to sink in the way you put it.I can’t say enough how your videos have impacted my life, not to mention all the people you are helping. You are the real deal Kevin.
You really are doing such a fantastic service with this site. I was reading some success priciples the other day, and one of the principles was “be of value to others.”
I’ve got a few negative habits. But you know I thought about that principle and I’ve been sort of monitoring my behavior and I can see that the things I do most of the time aren’t of any real value to others. So I can see that I need to change this and to start doing more activities where I am of a more genuine value to others.
If I do this then my chances of being more successful can increase.
You are such a superb guide. By dedicating yourself to helping people master alcohol you are doing something of supreme value to others, yet at the same time you have stopped wasting all your time drinking alcohol, where, despite your efforts “to put the world right” your value to others was minimal compared to what you are doing now.
Thanks to you I am getting more conviction every day that alcohol is just a waste of time. A waste of health, a waste of money and a waste of time. Crucially I really understand that when I am drinking I am of little value to others as I am kicking my rational mind out the door and am just letting my pleasure seeking subconscious take over.
There’s a principle in Buddhism that says it is better to take on an activity that benefits your well being (ie doing exercise, learning a new skill, building a business) rather than engaging in an activity that is for the fulfillment or gratification of pleasure. As alcohol is just a pleasure seeking activity, and,as you have emphasized so often; You sacrifice your long term benefits and potential every time you succumb to the temptation of this pathetic poison.
I have been reading your posts for about 170 days but I am only 10 days free of alcohol. Even though I weaken, I know that if I keep reading your materials everyday then this assists my desire to quit alcohol to grow stronger every day. This time I am feeling much more relaxed and more capable of getting myself doing what I call are “green light activities.” These are things that I can do that will benefit me in the future. Alcohol is a “red light” activity and thanks to you I am improving my ability to resist it.
Good on you Kevin you are truly succeeding with the success principle of being of great value to others.
Thanks for the post Adam and the best of success to you 😉