Hi, my name is Jesse, and I don’t drink alcohol.
No, I’m not an alcoholic.
I never hit “rock bottom.”
I was never homeless and drinking vodka from a paper bag.
However, I do have a problem with drinking.
Like so many, I was a “gray area drinker.” Gray area drinking is the type of drinking that is unhealthy but is also not ruining your life. It’s a regular drinker that doesn’t need to go into an alcohol detox program to stop drinking. Gray area drinkers live average lives that don’t seem to be affected by alcohol. But they question or spend a lot of time—often years—thinking about their drinking and wrestling with the internal dilemmas and concerns surrounding the habit. Gray area drinking is widespread because society has normalized problematic drinking.
Nothing terrible ever came from my drinking, other than some pretty epic hangovers and one incident involving spicy shrimp and a surprise head-shaving. I was excelling at my career. My family was healthy and happy and from the outside looking in I had it all together. What they didn’t see was that I was regularly consuming 4-8 drinks a day. I was hiding how much I drank from friends and family. I was gaining weight at an alarming rate and I was pretty much miserable.
Looking back, my relationship with alcohol was never really “normal.” During high school, I would frequently be the guy at the party doing the dumbest things because I was the drunkest. In college, I used alcohol as a crutch to help me socialize and make me feel more comfortable during sexual encounters. After college, I used alcohol as a way to relax after work and sometimes as a way to deal with stress during work (lunch hour beers).
Despite my obvious reliance on alcohol, it didn’t really appear to be having any adverse effects on my life. It was just something that I did without really thinking about.
This all changed when my wife gave birth to our first son.
The birth of a child forced me to come to terms with my shortcomings. I analyzed what type of dad I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be the dad that gets home from work and immediately cracks open a beer and turns on Netflix. Deep down I knew that drinking EVERY SINGLE DAY was not ok and not a habit I wanted my son to one day learn. I also knew that I wanted more from life then what I currently had. I knew alcohol was holding me back and I was ready to change.
So, I tried to moderate my drinking. I would tell myself “ok, I’m only drinking on the weekends” or “I’m only drinking 4 beers a week”.
You can probably guess how well that worked…or didn’t work. Alcohol was so ingrained in my habits and routines that my brain would practically shut down until I appeased it with all of the booze that it wanted. In fact, my drinking became even worse when I tried to moderate. It’s the whole forbidden fruit thing. Because it was off the menu, alcohol became the only thing that I desired.
Then I discovered This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I listened to the audio version of the book in just 2 days and the concepts it presented were a game changer.
I started to change the way I thought about alcohol. I used to see alcohol as a relaxing and tasty beverage that I deserved to drink. Now I see it as an expensive pint of poison that holds me back from accomplishing my biggest goals.
After finishing Annie’s book, I decided I was done. Cold turkey I gave up drinking.
I made it 64 days… then that little voice in my head started saying “hey man, you did it! You beat this thing. You can probably have a drink or two and be fine to moderate”.
3 weeks later I was drinking more than ever.
Fortunately, I was able to catch myself and reset my commitment to living alcohol-free. I realized that I initially failed because I lost my motivation. I lost track of my “why”.
So, I started to remind myself every single day why I would not drink. I also consumed all of the inspirational sober stories, videos, and books that I could find to keep me motivated.
That is where the idea for the Daily Dose of Sober came from.
I was already looking for motivational content to keep me on track and I knew that it was beneficial for maintaining my own sobriety. So, I created a newsletter to share my findings with other people trying to live alcohol-free. I now send it out every day at 5pm (the witching hour for many). Each newsletter features 4-5 pieces of inspirational content that can be consumed in 10-20 minutes. It’s incredible how much this little mental break in your thought patterns can affect your decision to drink or not.
Starting the Daily Dose has been a very powerful experience. The feedback has been crazy and the feeling of helping others on their own sobriety adventures is super rewarding.
Since going alcohol-free for good, I have lost 40lbs, received two promotions, doubled my income, run a marathon, and we are about to welcome a second child into our family.
To say my life is better without alcohol would be a significant understatement! My life is absolutely fantastic without alcohol. If you are thinking about quitting I have a few parting tips that may help:
Change your beliefs about alcohol first – as long as you see drinking as something desirable you will struggle. It’s an expensive way to poison yourself, period.
Change your routines – Identify your triggers and then avoid or change those things.
Know your “why” – whatever your personal reason is for quitting, write it down and put it somewhere to read every day. I have it on my visor in the car.
Stay motivated – read something every day that makes you want to be better. This is one reason so many people have connected with the Daily Dose of Sober. Staying motivated is not easy. Motivation comes and goes. You have to stoke and feed the fire to keep it burning actively.
Don’t be ashamed – not drinking is a good thing! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone quits smoking everyone congratulates them. When someone stops drinking they are stigmatized for it. This will change when more people stand up and proudly shout the benefits of a sober life.
Keep going! One day at a time.
If you are interested in receiving the Daily Dose of Sober Newsletter signup at dailydoseofsober.com