Its party time! You get a few drinks with buddies, you dance the night away, you get some more drinks, everyone is high on “life” with some extra kick from alcohol, everyone is “happy” smiling, CHEERS and smiles and high fives continue all through the night. Most of the conversations are a blur, the most meaningful thing that comes out is some twisted “I really love you bro” or something along those lines… Next morning you wake up, head hurts, mental capacity is at 10% for at least a day if not more, you are irritable, you don’t want to work out, you want coffee and other stimulants to pull yourself into at least a crawling state from your coma state….. you acknowledge how awful you feel and that you should drink less… but next day, week, month – you do it all over again. Over time it takes longer and longer to recover, and it keeps taking more and more alcohol to get the same sense of relaxation, elation, numbness etc. You get used to associating alcohol with good times, relaxed conversation with strangers, being more comfortable to dance on the dance floor and stay in this pattern.
The doctor may tell you, that you have high blood pressure, or could benefit from loosing a few pounds, or that you should watch your cholesterol, or drink less alcohol etc. But life is about enjoying it, thus restricting oneself with enjoyable things seems like a big downer.
Most folks seem OK with this, and it’s definitely one way to look at just living life and not worrying too much and not restricting oneself too much. Many people also able to drink in moderation and do not experience most of the above things. I was not one of those:)
Now if the same scenario as above happened in business or with finance – everyone would say that this is lunacy…
IE. Imagine working the day, making 1,000 bucks, and the next day you wake up and have only 10 bucks left, and imagine this happening day in day out and only worsening over time. Anyone would say this is a bad business to be in – and that you either need to fix the bleeding or get into a different business. Because return on investment is lousy. Yet this is exactly what I felt I was doing with the alcohol. My ROI – ie. my performance kept dropping, i kept having a progressively harder time dealing with stress, I kept getting more irritable with colleagues, employees, friends, family and myself, I would skip workouts more and more often, I would want to eat later, more and progressively un-healthier foods… I mean I WORK HARD! I deserve to not restrict myself and just relax and do what feels good:) That’s what I told myself. Fast forward – I had gained 30 pounds, had severe lower back pain and knee pain and other joint pain, I was no longer able to run around with my kids, stopped doing the sports that I loved (rock climbing, tennis, cycling etc.), my business performance was not nearly as good as before, my information acquisition and ability to assimilate new concepts had slowed considerably – and continued deteriorating.
Wow I said to myself – this is what “perfection” of this specific potential life path feels like…
And being the perfectionist that I am – I brought all of this to a logical conclusion by seeing how much I could drink in one night, and how bad would I feel the next morning. Now I did not throw up – but I had my head spin for another 12 hours after waking up the next morning, and I was completely unable to function. SO having reached this point of complete and utter perfection and having experienced what this perfection feels like… I decided that the very large long-term performance hit, and the ongoing deterioration was NOT WORTH the short-term pleasure I derived from the taste of alcohol and feeling of relaxation it created temporarily. So I committed to being at minimum 6 months completely without alcohol. While at it I also committed to cut out all processed foods, refined sugar, refined carbs etc. and start a 7 days per week exercise regimen – to see what this would feel like as an alternative to my previous lifestyle.
I decided that instead of being known as a guy that can keep a lot of alcohol down and parties hard, but is overweight, with health problems gets out of breath quickly, can’t dance much due to pain – I would rather be the “weird guy” in the club that sips on orange juice with soda, but can keep up a good conversation all night long (that he will also remember the next day:), that is in great shape and can dance all night long because there is no pain in the body and that is like an energizer bunny the next day even after partying all night long.
Now fast forward – I lost 24 of those 30 pounds, I have been 2 months without a drop of alcohol, I have been training every single day for over an hour – and I am in the best shape I have ever been. All knee pain and most back pain is a distant memory. I am stronger and feel better than ever before. My relationships are stronger, my conversations deeper, my appreciation for life is soaring and I have just scratched the surface. I just came back from an amazing entrepreneur gathering called Summit Series – and it was my first large event and party where I did not drink at all – and it felt incredible. At the same time I feel incredibly high on life – and that feeling is permanent:)
Now I am not advocating any specific lifestyle or say that drinking is “bad”. I simply analyzed my own personal relationship with alcohol, what it creates in my life, and decided that based on my desire for perfecting anything I do – alcohol is the wrong direction:)
Given the amazing results that I am seeing, chances are pretty high that I will continue with this even after the initial 6 month trial period.
To borrow and quote from my successful friend Joe, who also stopped drinking recently – “fun to go to parties and see people degenerate with time, and be able to dazzle them with…normal abilities :)”
I wish you all to get incredibly high on life!