NYE 2017 was my third consecutive New Years’ celebration without alcohol.
I had just finished my new eBook, Drinking Sucks!, and I flew out to Chicago to join some of my best friends for the weekend.
I’ve known these guys since college and while we drank together back then, often to excess, they were never obsessed with alcohol in the way that I was.
They have always been what we would call social drinkers.
They lack the genetic and/or environmental factors that create the biochemical disorder we know as alcoholism.
They would be the first to stop me if I somehow lost my mind and tried to order a drink.
Because I’m confident in the methods I discuss in my book, I went into the weekend feeling confident and relaxed.
Still, I was aware that I was going to be surrounded by people drinking – in restaurants, bars, house parties – during one of the booziest celebrations on the planet.
I’m pleased to report that I didn’t once have an urge to let go of my new identity. Alcohol didn’t look or smell appealing to me. I felt relaxed in my own skin. I naturally felt the way I used to drink to feel.
I honestly asked myself at one point, “Can this be real? Why don’t I feel any urge to drink at all?”
My overall experience would have been unthinkable for me several years ago.
I used to pregame before the pregame so that my friends wouldn’t see my hands shaking from all the alcohol I’d had the night before.
For me, NYE 2017 was exactly the kind of experience that PROVES that the “need to drink” is one of two things, depending on whether you’re addicted to alcohol or a social drinker: 1) a chemical dependency that tricks people’s brains, or 2) a mass hallucination based on groupthink.
Actually, for people who are addicted to alcohol, it is both of these things at once.
Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to discover some secrets about conquering alcohol addiction once and for all.
So, what’s changed for me since New Years’ 2014, when I woke up with a pounding headache and ethanol seeping out of my pores?
- I’ve taken nutritional supplements that have broken the chains of addiction by stabilizing my brain.
- I’ve cleaned up my diet by substituting natural and nutrient-dense foods for the crap I used to eat.
- I’ve trained my brain to anticipate natural endorphin rushes from exercise so that I do not crave artificial highs anymore.
- Unlike so many “recovering alcoholics” who think they are powerless to stop missing alcohol, I’ve reframed this substance in my own mind: I have no doubt that drinking sucks.
- When I see other people drinking, I conclude that they need alcohol to achieve a state of mind that I already have: they’re just playing catch-up, and unfortunately they’ll have headaches tomorrow.
I should also add that I endured NYE 2016 without wanting to drink. But since I hadn’t put all of the pieces of my addiction puzzle together, I didn’t have the same kind of totally self-assured and happy experience I had this time around.
I witnessed just one person drinking to excess last weekend. Far from making me want to drink, it made me realize how much I DON’T miss feeling disoriented and sick.
The experience of NYE 2017 confirmed my suspicion that drinking is a pointless activity with just enough imaginary benefits to make most people come back for more.
For people with a susceptibility to alcohol addiction, it’s a totally different and more sinister experience.
I vividly remember joining my friends on mini-vacations several years ago, and passing out after boozy brunches. I remember wondering if I’d have to sneak in a drink or two to calm down the shakes that no one else seemed to be experiencing.
I don’t miss hiding my drinking from the people who care most about me.
Above are pictures of me several years ago, before I quit drinking. I don’t look happy – why did I think that I was “getting away with” some kind of chemical bliss?
I actually can’t believe that I used to think that I needed to poison myself!!
Below are some pictures of me from last weekend. They are goofy, yes, but you can SEE the difference in my state of mind these days.
There’s nothing like waking up without a hangover, feeling GOOD, on an air mattress in your buddy’s basement.
Especially when his basement has a lifting platform, a barbell, and a random set of rings hanging from the ceiling.
And if your goal is chemical bliss, try starting your day with some eggs and quality coffee.
I wish you the best for the New Year.