Get Perspective by Changing Your Habits

Danger & Play recently revealed that he’d given up drinking for a year. Aside from the obvious health benefits, he cited some stark realizations, including:

“Most people who drink have a drinking problem.”

No longer with a buzz, my senses remained acute. I would watch otherwise sane, rational people become shit-faced. They would stumble, fall around, and go through various emotional extremes.

I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say “most,” but I would posit that if you are drinking socially, you are hanging around at least one person with a drinking problem. This means two things:

  • You are spending time with someone who, in the long run, will bring your quality life down. Eventually you’ll have to tend to their blackout, make peace with the person they tried to fight, or otherwise cover for their habit.
  • You are enabling someone else to bring the quality of their life down. Maybe you don’t care, but I prefer not to be a negative element in others’ personal lives, even indirectly. And sure, they’ll seek out another enabler, but it doesn’t have to be you.

“Drinking is a form of self-medication.”

If you binge drink to the point of intoxication, you do have a mental illness or condition of some sort.

People who need to get shitfaced on the regular have something going on. I suppose I am fortunate in that I never really got a taste for being really drunk. I became conscious of the safety and legal issues at an early age, and didn’t enjoy being removed from my mental faculties. My basic rule evolved to “never be more than one hour from driving.” For me, that means one drink per hour at most, with a maximum of four drinks.

I’m not a puritan or a scold, but in today’s era of social media exposure and aggressive DUI enforcement, it’s critically important to keep yourself out of a state that could needlessly ruin your life.

“People think we’re in high school with all of this peer pressure bullshit.

Discussion comments cited coming up with good rationalizations for explaining your sobriety, so that people would not feel “judged” or try to shame you or something. I’ve experienced this myself; my friends know I am resolute so they rarely question me if I tell them I’m not drinking tonight, but if I’m with some recovering frat guy who gives me the “come on maaaann, what’s wrong with some shots??” I tell him to shut the fuck up.

“Talking to women while sober is hard/Alcohol makes pick-up easier.”

It’s not hard for the reason it used to be hard. I don’t feel anxious. I just feel really bored.

When you’re not getting lubricated, the allure of the “nightlife” wears off real fast.

Someone commented that developing your daygame skills is more rewarding:

I have found that day game has taught me that I do not need alcohol to approach women.

After a couple months of going out during the day, you’ll feel much more comfortable staying sober at night.

ROCK AND ROLL HEADACHES

Given my recent post about Guns N’ Roses, D&P’s post reminded of the experience of Guns cofounder Izzy Stradlin. The childhood friend of frontman Axl Rose grew tired of the band’s antics getting in the way of the music, and said that once he went sober he just had no interest in it anymore.

“Once I quit drugs, I couldn’t help looking around and asking myself, ‘Is this all there is?’ I was just tired of it; I needed to get out…I didn’t like the complications that became such a part of daily life in Guns N’ Roses…When you’re fucked up, you’re more likely to put up with things you wouldn’t normally put up with.”

CHANGING HABITS CHANGES PERSPECTIVES

The most important thing here is not the things D&P noticed – it’s realizing that you will notice these sorts of things when you make a major change of habit in your life, particular if you give up something you know to be a destructive habit.

A good friend of mine gave up drinking entirely. He’s stopped hanging around the guys he used to drink with. He says it’s just not fun. That’s a big clue that it wasn’t adding value to his life.

I’ve had plenty of other habit drops bear real fruit. A few years back I ended my cable subscription. It wasn’t that hard of a choice to make – the most difficult thing was actually getting the Comcast rep to cancel the service instead of offering me escalating freebies to stay. I realized almost immediately how I didn’t miss any of the shows on cable, and thus how much money I had wasted.

I regularly cull the blogs I am reading to make sure that the time I spend on the Internet is productive and expanding my mind. Likewise I limit my reading of political editorials because I know it will just get me pissed off.

I stopped hanging out with some friends who were too contentious or negative. It gave me more time to do the things I wanted to do with my life. Getting out of a DOA relationship that I hadn’t had the courage to end was difficult, but ultimately vindicated my gut because my life improved in the long run.

A coworker of mine charted out all of his “committed” time during the workweek, all the meetings and calls and whatnot, and went to his boss and said “I am spending X hours a week on this, and not getting that much time’s worth of value – what can we cut?”

One of the big steps lots of recovering AFCs make is to stop being a beta orbiter to unattainable women. To a man, the benefits are immediate and empowering – and sometimes, they find that those girls chase them back with stars in their eyes.

If you are planning out your life goals like anyone who has his head in the game should be doing, think about things you do or money you spend that don’t add value, especially if those things are done by mindless habit rather than passionate commitment. Try simplifying your life; you might even surprise yourself with what you learn. You’ll never get that time, money or emotional energy back – so make sure they are going towards things you’ll know were worth the time.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Get Perspective by Changing Your Habits

  1. FiftySeven

    It’s a double savings, because if you quit drinking you’ll also cut down on strip club patronage (assuming you went in the first place). Those places are God awful when you’re sober.

  2. earl

    Cutting tv time and increasing reading time has been a great improvement in my life.

    Most of the stuff on tv is mind numbing garbage anyway.

  3. I don’t know if moderate drinking is really bad for you, but I agree, almost every drinker goes overboard….

  4. Good post. Very refreshing to read. A year ago I quit the ‘sphere because every one just wanted to “enjoy the decline”. Eventually, I learned I was simply looking in the wrong places. Attitudes like this let me know that I wasn’t alone. New follower here. Keep it up and I’ll keep coming back.

  5. lemmiwinks

    This Danger play guy must be real fun at a party.

    [You do a great job of making his point for him.]

  6. Tilikum

    everything you say here is spot on. i will suggest though that as someone who drinks for several months and then doesn’t for six or so more, it also works in reverse. i find myself drinking to access my emotions on some occasions.

    hope that makes sense.

  7. lemmiwinks

    [You do a great job of making his point for him.]

    And you make a great point that he is a boring moralizer. I don’t know this guy personally but I know guys just like him and they are tedious people to be around.

    Quitting drinking is fine but once you feel the need to announce it to the world and that you are somehow superior to the people who still drink you are definitely a self righteous prick, as this danger guy comes across.

  8. What is a DOA relationship?

  9. Alex

    [Quitting drinking is fine but once you feel the need to announce it to the world and that you are somehow superior to the people who still drink you are definitely a self righteous prick, as this danger guy comes across.]

    And once you feel the need to announce it to the world that you are somehow superior to the people who try to help others by talking about things they’ve done to improve their lives, you are definitely a self-righteous prick.

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