🍹 I Quit Drinking Alcohol (Then Made an Extra $200K)

Ending alcohol had more than one positive impact in my life.

Let me tell you what this post is not…

This post is far more selfish than that. It’s about me.

It’s rather cliche, but there is a saying that I often am reminded of in daily life when I feel like things aren’t going my way:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results.

This quote has always resonated with me, and over the years has had a way of creeping into my mind at various points in life.

For example, back when I played soccer in college I ended up losing my starting position my Sophomore year. I was devastated. I felt cheated by my coach. I blamed everyone but myself, and I made up my mind to quit after the season.

But instead of giving up, I changed my mindset. I decided that I would play for different reasons. I would play for fun, not accolades – for the joy of being with friends on the field doing something that we all loved doing.

Long story short, I got my starting spot back before the first game of next season and never lost it again my entire career. The accolades also came about, but those were just icing on the cake at that point. I was enjoying playing again and these new results wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t change my behavior.

In business I find that sometimes I am reminded of this same quote. Usually when something isn’t going right, or I want to make something better. It forces me to think outside the box.

It has made me challenge assumptions about what is (and is not) working with regards to the product, inbound marketing, support service, internal processes, and more. It has forced the evolution of the entire business.

The result being year-over-year growth in revenue and market presence. But beyond just fiduciary results, challenging my traditional patterns has helped me meet (and befriend) so many amazing folks in my industry.

What does this have to do with alcohol?

I have always been pro-alcohol.

When I was young it was how I partied with friends into the early hours in the morning. As I entered the corporate world it was how I rubbed elbows with the higher-ups. As an entrepreneur, cracking open that drink was the signal that my day was over and that it was time to relax. It was also quite useful for networking events.

There is also excitement in trying something new. Each region of the country (heck the world) has their own line-up of drinks. I thought of drinking as a way to experience the culture of a region, and I always liked the way it seemingly brought people together.

And yes, I enjoyed catching a buzz.

People have been drinking since forever. For years I considered it a part of what makes us human.

The problem for me was that there have been times when drinking has made me feel not-so-human.

If you drink then I know you’ve been there as well. That feeling the next morning where you wake up and question why the hell you had to have that last drink. In some cases you feel sick, and you always end up living the next 24-48 hours in a fog. Not sharp. Not the way you should be.

I hated that feeling.

Sure, the physical side-effects of it sucked. That goes without saying. But I also realized that the only time I didn’t like myself was when alcohol was involved. Period. For me, a hard reality to come to terms with, but a necessary one.

I had started to really despise the way alcohol impacted my mental health. Not just after a hard night of drinking, but in my day-to-day life.

For example, over the years I have continued to be active multiple times per week (lifting, running, boxing, soccer, etc.) but had been really mentally struggling with the lack of physical change.

There is no secret to working out. I’ve known how to do it my entire life. But I’ve come to see (and finally accept) that you can’t outwork a shitty diet. Something that is painfully apparent as I get older.

I would have a few good days of eating healthier and exercising, but then find myself having drinks multiple times during the week. What’s more, the food that I ate when I was drinking was pretty terrible. Poor food choices and drinking go hand-in-hand (at least for me).

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results.

Which brings me back to this quote.

In my 20s I don’t think I would be ready for such an honest assessment. I didn’t want to hear it. I “knew it all” already. But I know myself better now than ever before. I also have accumulated enough life experience to know that new outcomes cannot come without real change.

I wanted different results, so I couldn’t do the same things again-and-again.

Could I really stop drinking after thoroughly enjoying it my entire adult life?

Yes.

I know because I made this decision back in October 2019. Since then I have had a glass of wine a handful of times during celebrations and toasts – but beyond that I’ve just completely cut it out of my life.

Do I miss it? Surprisingly, no.

Since I decided to stop drinking I have found that the narrative that surrounds alcohol is completely false.

I now enjoy the benefit of waking up each morning with a clear head. I don’t have to worry about saying something embarrassing or hurtful because my inhibitions were lowered. I’m more creative.

The byproduct of losing weight and being in my best physical shape since college doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

But most of all: I’m proud of myself. There are few greater feelings than that. It gives me tremendous confidence, and this confidence permeates into everything I do in both my personal and profession life.

How I did it.

I’d be lying if I said that I did this just by waking up one morning. I knew for a few years that I wanted to stop drinking but I didn’t think that I could. I was afraid of losing all of the things I mentioned above.

So I did what any normal person does: I turned to both Amazon and Google for help. After reading tons of reviews for countless books, I ended up listening to this audio book, and then reading this book. They weren’t 100% applicable in the messaging, but what resource is? The point is that those worked for me.

I also journaled daily, putting to paper all my thoughts about it. My fears, what I was looking forward to post-drinking, and my thoughts on what I was learning.

About a month after starting this process I found that I didn’t have the desire to drink anymore.

How did I make more money?

Yes, not drinking alcohol means you save on personal expenses. Your groceries will cost less. Your dinners out will cost less. That’s nice, no complaints there. You’ll be surprised on how those savings add up.

But alcohol steals something far more valuable: time.

When you’re hungover, you lose time trying to feel better. You sleep more and you’re lazy. Even if you’re not hungover, you’re taking time away from creative thinking.

When I stopped drinking, I got time back. I invested that time into my business and holy crap did it pay off (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars). If the physical changes weren’t motivation enough, the money certainly was an added bonus.

In short, I did a lot — and all with a clear head. Yes, at the end of some days I would be completely worn out. But, I always would wake up fresh and ready to go the next day.

Not drinking was very profitable for my life, and therefore my business.

Why I am sharing this story.

To tell the truth, I debated even writing about this. I generally prefer keeping my personal life personal.

But during this journey I have benefited from others sharing their own personal stories about no longer drinking. How it improved their life and how they realized all the narratives around quitting are false. They gave me the confidence that I too could quit drinking just like they did!

So, I decided to publish this post in the off-chance that someone out there reading this finds it helpful, motivating, or encouraging.

Whether you consider yourself a problem drinker or not, know that life does not change for the worse if you decide to pass on alcohol.

Quite the opposite actually, it gets a lot better.

#happiness


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