During a recent flight to London, when asked if I would be joining my colleagues for Happy Hour at the hotel bar, I gave my standard answer: “No, I don’t drink anymore.”
“Good for you,” was the surprised response. “Guess you’re saving a lot of money.”
Although I didn’t want to brag, my colleague was right. I have saved a lot of money by cutting alcohol from my life. But that wasn’t why I gave it up.
Time for a Reset
As a writer, I’ve always wanted to write more, be more productive. Prolific, even. To do that, something had to change. And when I stumbled upon Ross Perry’s book, The Sober Entrepreneur, it was like I’d found my golden ticket. Yet no matter how much I wanted to change, three things held me back: a lack of energy, insomnia and low self-esteem because of how I was increasingly uncomfortable with my body. Even stronger, I’d eventually realize, was my desire for a better life. For a better me.
That’s why two points from Perry’s book have stuck with, and inspired, me. The first point comes from Peter Shankman’s foreword: “To be at the top of your game, you can’t have distractions. And the biggest distraction comes from not truly knowing yourself. Once you begin to, everything changes, usually for the better.”1 The second is from Perry himself and gets me excited every morning: “Sobriety gives, drinking (or any kind of self-medication) takes away.” 2
In January 2018, I realized I wanted to be at the top of my game and would no longer let my energy, sleep or self-confidence be taken from me. That’s why I stopped drinking. And it changed my life.
A Drink? No, Thanks!
But when people find out that I quit drinking — not because it ruined my life, but because I wanted to live my best life — suddenly, it’s a big deal. The conversation usually goes something like this:
“So, did you drink a lot?” they ask.
“No,” I say. “I’d actually been scaling back for a while.”
“And your doctor didn’t tell you to give it up?” They look confused. “Then I don’t understand why…”
And someone else eavesdropping on the conversation adds, “I admire you. I couldn’t do that.”
Really … A Big Deal?
No, not to me because I know my ‘why.’ To be the best version of myself, I had to change my habits. And the results prove I’d made the right decision. Three months after taking my last drink, I’d shed twenty pounds. I had more energy and increased the distances I ran. My sleeping improved. And so did my focus, increasing my productivity. And another reason I’m saving money? I stopped eating out (not completely, but I can count the number of restaurants I frequent on one hand). It became too unpleasant, arguing with servers who insisted that the alcohol would all burn off during cooking. Fact check: it doesn’t.
So, many people make a big deal about me going sober. Are they right? Maybe. After all, it changed my life.
Is there one habit you could change to dramatically transform your life? Click Reply to share it with the world. I’d love to hear from you!