Seamus Fox, The Mindset Junkie: Why I quit alcohol… again!
I know alcohol dependence, addiction, and alcohol abuse in general is such a big problem for so many and that's why I want to share with you the reasons I felt I needed to give it up.
Let's face it, it is conditioned into our culture in so many ways and, by the way I am in no way vilifying it as this was my personal choice. I suppose I also want to point out I am not a reformed character trying to impress people by saying 'look at me I don’t drink' either. It's not my point in writing this at all.
What I do hope for is that whoever is reading this might see or feel that some of the same issues and problems it was causing me had begun to create a negative effect instead of a positive one on my life, health and businesses also.
I am now four months off the old booze again and I feel amazing for it. The longest I had ever previously went without a drink before was 14 months which was before the lockdowns. When the lockdowns came I honestly lost a lot of my reasons for staying sober as the world and everything in it began to plunder. A drink, in my mind, certainly wasn’t the worst thing to be doing but for almost two years I wanted to get back to how I felt just before lockdowns and being sober I craved that head space again. This is a long path for me and I know I am at the start if it again with many more twists and turns in the road to come, with many more challenges to face and the reason I say this is because I know it isn’t easy but it is certainly easier and getting easier each week and month.
My reasons for quitting was not because I was a raging alcoholic, it also wasn’t because I was out of control or violent or abusive or many of the other reasons that most people think is a reason to stop drinking. 'Sure it's not that bad' I repeated often to myself so I could pour another.
My reasons to stop this time around was at the end of five days of drinking again on the trot. It was a Monday evening I was laying on the sofa and I reached over to pour another drink into my mouth and as I lay outstretched not even bothered to sit up, the question popped into my head, 'what are you at man? Is this who you want to be? Is this how you want to live?'
At that moment I realised and admitted for the first time that I didn't really have control of alcohol itself. That I never really did ever and if I scan back through my timeline and look closer I see that it has always controlled me and that it has also taken me into much of the problems and bother I used to find myself in when I was younger in my 20s and also early 30s. I am now 40 and it had to stop.
It stopped by finally admitting to myself that I can’t control it. How do I know? Because when that question popped into my head, it made me realise that this isn’t the version of who I want to be, that this version of me drinking has no links to any of the goals I have set for myself or my family in life.
I realised that the drunk version of me, the house drinker or the sneaky drinker who doesn’t really want other people to know I drink isn’t me. The guilty version who would beat himself up constantly for drinking even though returning to it again and again also isn’t the version of who I have always wanted to be. The drinker who would drink most nights and then get up to go to work trying to be fresh but really only operating at around 50% if even, that is not who I wanted to be, so why did it continue? Because I thought I was in control. In those two years I would give myself a hard time internally as I would constantly think about how long it would take to just get back to how I felt before. I would also beat myself up for having given in and started drinking again during the first lockdown. I would have the wee pity party in my head feeling sorry for myself, realising that nothing was ever going to change with that attitude and that I needed to quit the victim mindset and regain control.
In my mind I said I could take it or leave it. I also rationalised the reasons why I needed to or deserved to have one or a few drinks but that was also one of my biggest issues. I couldn't have one or two and that was enough. I like to throw myself into all things fully like in business. I pride myself in it, unfortunately the same traits appeared with the old booze for me. Drink it like it is going out of fashion or that you are on your last night out ever, sound familiar?
Finally saying I had no control over alcohol made me realise that there is no real in between for me with alcohol or that there is a switch that I have on demand that shows me I am able to take it or leave it, so I reached out to Gary Rutherford who I spoke with and met up with on a few occasions.
Gary is someone who knows full well what that path is like and he has also helped many others on that same path. For me, my reason was it was someone to talk with who didn't judge me and who also understood how I was thinking and more importantly why I wanted to quit. I am glad I reached out and I am also glad that I am back on the sober journey.
These last four months have had me move closer towards how I felt 14 months sober and I have to say I am feeling happier within myself again more than I have in those previous two years. The morning underlying feelings of anxiety because of alcohol are gone. My sleep has improved again massively. My energy is through the roof and more importantly my confidence that I feel I lost is growing again.
I am moving closer again to that person who I really want to be. The guy that matched up to the vision and goals he has for himself.
I want to invite you to ask yourself the same question… are you moving closer to that higher, better, more inspired version of you, the version that often we intuitively know and feel is who we are supposed to be. If not, what do you need to change in order to make the changes you want to see happen? It might be similar to me, it might be a lot worse or it might be just a simple shift in thinking and behaviour that would lead you onto a new trajectory. Whatever is true for you I just want you to know that what you want to change can change, that it is possible. The change we crave externally begins to remould itself to how we think and feel internally and when we begin to shift the image we hold of ourselves everything begins to move for you.
This year what do you want to give up that simply does not serve you anymore? How do you want to feel, and who do you want to become? Decide and commit.