As of today, I have not drank a drop of alcohol for over 3 years and 4 months.
Can you believe it?
It’s an amazing feeling. It’s been so long that I forgot to publish a blog post about my 3-year-anniversary until 4 months after the fact.
Better late than never.
These are my Biggest Insights From 3 Years and 4 Months of Sobriety.
It’s been an incredible ride. I’ve been blessed enough to figure out an approach to sobriety that has made me happier, more productive, and more in love with my life than at any point prior.
I’m more than 100 pages deep into writing a book called I’m Done With Drinking! It’s going to be a guidebook for anyone looking to drop their alcohol habit that I will publish later this year or in the beginning of 2018.
But in the meantime, here are the biggest and latest insights I’ve gained from spending such a long period of time sober.
Please keep in mind that there are many exceptions to the negative side-effects of alcohol that I will discuss here. For example, if you drink one or two glass of alcohol every time you party, you are an exception to many—but not all—of the negative consequences of drinking.
Even if you aren’t looking to quit, hopefully you can learn something here that could help you kick one of your other bad habits.
Sobriety is Easier Than I Thought It Would Be
Between 2007 and 2014 (my drinking years), leaving alcohol in my past seemed impossible.
Alcohol is everywhere in our society—in movies, television shows, on the radio, on the Internet, on social media, at restaurants, at clubs, and at bars. The majority of people in the world are drinkers. And after 7 years of drinking on weekends, this was a thoroughly ingrained habit.
So I definitely felt like going sober was going to be hard to do because I was going against the grain and I was getting ready to drop an old habit.
But when I took a trip to Las Vegas for a bachelor’s party only a couple months after quitting and enjoyed myself in Vegas MORE than I would have if I had been drinking, it dawned on me that sobriety was going to be a lot easier than I thought it would be.
I’m not saying sobriety is always a breeze. But it is not as hard as you might imagine. And if you prepare yourself with the right strategies going into it before hand, it is definitely not impossible
I’m halfway done with a book called I’m Done With Drinking that is going to cover all of the strategies that allowed me to fall in love with being sober like replacing alcohol with healthy habits you enjoy even more, remembering your reasons for sobriety, and using your newfound spare time on passions that make you come alive.
Every time I’ve been in a situation where I would have drank alcohol, I’ve had a healthy alternative habit like exercise or meditation to fall back on. I’ve always remembered my long list of reasons why I stopped drinking in the first place. And I’ve used my newfound time to work on projects and activities that I love to do.
Because I was equipped with these and other strategies, going sober was very easy for me. And I’m much happier, healthier, more fit, and more productive because of it.
Incredibly Grateful For My Hangover-Free Life!
It’s been 3 years since I drank alcohol, but the painful memories of waking up on Saturdays and Sundays with head-pounding hangovers still haunt me.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being slight and 10 being devastating, my hangovers felt like a 12 out of 10. As I got older, my hangovers escalated from being nonexistent in 2007 to being unbearably painful in 2014.
Every weekend, I would wake up with what felt like the symptoms of a heatstroke (vomiting, headaches, and nausea). This is something that does not happen to all drinkers. I actually still suffer from heatstroke symptoms when playing golf or sports in hot weather. I found that as I grew older, my body just could not handle the dehydration.
Even though it was horribly painful to go through hangovers more severe than most people can imagine, I now look at them as a blessing in disguise. Because they were one of my biggest and most motivating reasons why I decided to go sober.
Because I’m sober, I no longer have to suffer every Saturday and Sunday. I can even wake up early with a clear mind, a smile on my face, and the ability to function—ready to take charge and dominate the day.
Even though it’s been 3 years, that feeling of waking up every weekend without a hangover is still priceless.
The Only Way to Drop A Bad Habit, Is By Replacing It With A Better One
Before April 2014, I had wanted to quit drinking for a long time. But I hesitated. I was scared to jump into it because I doubted my ability to handle the pressures, stresses, anxieties, struggles, and social interactions without alcohol.
Prior to beginning drinking in 2007, for the first 18 years of my life, I had handled all of the pressures, stresses, and interactions of life perfectly fine. So why all of a sudden was I hesitating to go back to being sober?
I hesitated because deep down I knew that once you accept a powerful habit like drinking alcohol into your life, it changes you. Once you partake in a bad habit for months, years, or a decade, it becomes part of you. And it’s always there.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power Of Habit, calls it the Golden Rule of habit change. Once a habit is ingrained and established in your mind, it never fully disappears.
That means every single bad habit that you have been doing for years—whether it’s gambling, excessive shopping, eating junk food, drinking, smoking, or arguing—will always be a part of your life in one way or another.
That’s a scary thought.
But I have great news for you. You can drop any bad habit in your life by replacing it with a better one that offers you all of the same rewards that the old one did without any of the negative consequences.
Replacing bad habits with healthier ones works. That’s exactly why I’ve been able to stay sober for almost 3-and-a-half years.
Instead of resorting to alcohol, I now handle the pressures, stresses, anxieties, or problems of life through Transcendental Meditation, exercise, green tea, eating vegan foods, or working on my passion. I’ve found that drinking alcohol was always just a band-aid to my bad emotions, whereas the habits I have now actually heal the trauma on my mind and fill me up with real happiness.
I now get everything that I was seeking to gain through alcohol—confidence, anxiety-relief, stress-release, or depression-relief—through healthier habits. And the two biggest weapons I’ve used to stay sober are meditation twice a day and exercise.
This is one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the past 3 years. It’s the topic of one of the most important chapters of my upcoming book, I’m Done With Drinking. And it holds true no matter what bad habit you are trying to drop.
In fact, one of the reasons why 12 Step Programs work for so many people is because they satisfy alcohol cravings with the camaraderie, therapy, friendship, anxiety-release, and bonding of group meetings. The programs work because they abide by that Golden Rule.
So no matter what habit you are trying to drop in 2017, make sure to replace it with something healthier—something that offers you the same rewards without any negative side-effects.
It’s the only way you’ll be successful.
I Enjoy Live Events So Much More Sober
Back in spring 2014, right after I stopped drinking, I saw Lil Jon and Avicii perform live in Las Vegas during Memorial Day weekend. And a couple weeks ago on August 5th, I witnessed one of the greatest live comedy shows ever featuring Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle at Radio City Hall in New York City.
I have attended some of the most awesome live events that I’ve ever been to in my life. And each time I attend one of these events sober, I always walk out of the venue with my mind blown. Because I Enjoy Live Events So Much More Sober than I used to while drinking.
There are a couple reasons for this.
For one thing, I no longer have to interrupt enjoying the event to walk back and forth to the bar to purchase alcohol. I no longer have to spend any money on drinks. I can either just enjoy myself without drinking anything at all or I can purchase maybe one soda, juice, or Red Bull and just slowly sip that for the entire event.
And the best part about it is, my faculties are sharp. Without that inebriation of drinking, I can FULLY enjoy the music, laugh at the jokes, and appreciate the performers with a crystal clear state of mind. And after the event is over, I can remember all of the details of the events with clarity.
And as a result, my love for live events is much stronger than it was when I was a drinker.
For instance, two weekends ago in New York City, I appreciated, loved, and remembered Dave Chappelle’s, Chris Rock’s, and Kevin Hart’s stand-up sets to the absolute fullest. I can recall many of the hilarious jokes from memory. And my mind was sharp enough to notice that movie star Bruce Willis walked past me during intermission.
Those are memories that I am going to cherish and remember for the rest of my life.
I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
Going sober over the past 3 years and 4 months has been an incredible ride. And I’m grateful for the people who have supported me, the people I’ve connected with, the book that I’ve written, and most of all the happiness I feel everyday.
It’s much more pain-free than I thought it would be. And now I get this amazing opportunity to help others put the alcohol down and join me on this journey.
Not only do I enjoy the live events much more, I’m enjoying life much more now than ever.
So if you are considering stopping drinking or would like to read an early copy of my upcoming book before I publish it, please do email me at BoMuchoki@gmail.com. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
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