- Why You, Deep Down, Want to Quit
- What is Life About?
- Why You Drink Your Sorrows Away
- The ‘Benefits’ of Alcohol
- The Drawbacks of Alcohol
- The Importance of Willpower
- How to Grow Your Willpower
- The Importance of Opening Up
- The Importance of True Friends
- Politely Declining Alcohol
- Find a Hobby That Makes You Money
- Conclusion and Resources
It’s now been 125 days without alcohol. I’m learning to be persistent.
It’s been easier than I thought it would be.
It’s positively affecting other parts of my life, too. My mind has gone from numbed down, waiting for the weekend, to active and ready to kick ass during the whole week.
I was calling with a good friend of mine and besides offering me a one-time gig as a hiphop/art teacher (awesome) he said he had read my blog and got energy from it.
He asked me on tips how to quit, because in his vision, he is a problematic drinker.
He drinks 20 beers a day and has body tremblings when he hasn’t drunk for a while, so you could say that’s problematic.
He didn’t want to go to a doctor and I don’t think that’s neccessary either – the willpower has to come from within anyway.
Anyone can tell you to quit, but you have to see the light and want it yourself. I did it without a doctor too.
If I, a notorious procrastinator (although I finished my essay in time!) and impulsive person, can do it, anyone can.
You don’t have to be a problematic drinker to want to quit.
Because what is problematic, anyway?
If you call up people in the middle of the night and say in a drunken voice that you love them, is that problematic or honest?
I decided to write the definitive guide on quitting alcohol.
It will include personal experiences, accounts from when I was a bartender, stories from others (anonymous, of course) and will hopefully lead you to a better life, a happier life in which you’re not dependant on chemicals to open up your emotions and have fun.
2. Why You, Deep Down, Want to Quit
You’ve read thus far, so something about this piece interests you. What is it?
Is it the thought that everything could change from now on if you only had the guts to change?
Is it an interest spiked by the fact that you’re wondering whether you’re a problematic drinker or not?
Think about the last mistake and the biggest mistake you’ve made while you had alcohol in your system. How did it affect you and others?
My last mistake with alcohol in my system was when I went to introduction camp for my study.
After the regular activities the evening was free to socialize. 50cl beers were passed around, sponsored by the organizing committee.
They were luke-warm, so any drinker knows those hit me hard.
I had one too many and vomited on the floor.
I was so ashamed that I quickly mopped it up and went to bed.
No more fun activities for me.
However, my biggest mistake was that I cheated on my (now ex) girlfriend while I had alcohol in my system.
I broke a bond only God knows how to repair.
And now I think about it daily. We had such strong feelings for eachother – those don’t just go away.
I broke her heart, man.
After thinking about my mistakes daily and (rightfully) being ashamed of them, I felt the need to change. This change is possible.
I started reading again. Self-help books, motivational books, philosophy books, literature, you name it.
I started talking with people, in-depth, about our addictions and our feelings. I learned from those that there’s a pattern.
I checked into therapy, which I still do. It helps me go deeper, and look at myself with an honest eye.
I met a girl who hardly drinks and it’s for her I stopped using chemicals.
Even though we had our ups and downs, she is the reason I want to stay off drugs.
And alcohol, although it’s not seen by the major population as so, is definitely a drug.
Although it’s not legally specifed in the Netherlands as a harddrug, you can definitely use it in a ‘hard’ way and it’s one of the most dangerous drugs, if you look at it from a social perspective.
So what was it that interested you?
I don’t know what interested you (although you must have some reason), but I know what has interested me lately – the question:
3. What Is Life About?
In my journey through self-improvement, I found out through talking with good friends – people I can trust – that I began to become certain of a few things.
- Most people don’t really love their jobs.
- Most people are reactive.
- Many people are uncertain of themselves, and of their views on life. They have dreams, but don’t know where to start on pursuing them.
I, most of all, found out that I didn’t want to be like most people.
Neither do you.
You don’t want to have to bite the bullet every weekday and look forward to the weekend. You want your days to be easy, relaxed and filled with joy and fruitful relations. You don’t want to sell your time just to pay your rent, you want to do something that you’re good at and enjoy and want to make money off that.
As you can see, I still believe in the American Dream.
But the American Dream has changed.
It has gone from a suburb, slaving, materialist mentality to a dream that believes in minimalism, makeability and happiness derived from relations. A dream about not feeding the corporate machine, but living a life that’s free.
Alcohol destroys that dream. It does so in the following ways:
- It pacifies you
- It dumbs you down
- It destroys your relationships
When you can turn to alcohol you can forget about your shitty week for a while. Then, you are ready to do it all over again. With alcohol, you’re stuck in a loop.
Without alcohol, you tackle more than you can handle. You set the bar higher and higher. For example: I am not drinking and now have the weekend free to work (I study during the week) so I can finish college debt-free.
This violates my Sunday-off principle, but what the hell. I’ll just have to do it for 3 years and then I have weekends off forever.
Life is about procreating. About teaching the next generation how to live a life that’s good. Because life is beautiful. If you’re cynical about that, you are probably still depressed from taking too much of the poison.
I think life is beautiful. That’s why I aim to get into teaching. So I can teach the next generations how I gained that view on life.
I also want kids, a lot of them. But you can never have a stable family when you drink. Most child abusers are also alcohol abusers. You become unreliable. Your child will see that you are different when you drink. I read a story about a mother who drank and the child said that she never forgave her mother for this.
Men who complain about divorce but were drinking while they were married have only themselves to blame. If you burn your ass you have to sit on the blisters, as they say in Holland.
4. Why You Drink Your Sorrows Away
When I was working as a bartender in Utrecht, I had a lot of regular customers.
They would come in and tell their stories to me. Most of them didn’t really interest me, but because I was polite I listened to them.
You’re never only a bartender. You’re also a therapist.
Because these people, they want a relieve from their everyday struggle. They want to escape the ratrace for the duration of one evening, or one weekend.
They are not really content with their lives so they drink and feel some relief.
“If I just have some drinks I won’t have to think about my problems”, they think. But that’s the wrong way to look at it.
Your problems don’t go away when you drink. You are not actively solving your problems when you drink.
Now when I say that, I don’t mean problems don’t go away when you talk. Talking can lead to valuable insights and to solutions to problems.
But when you drink, you’re not thinking clearly. Even if you manage to come up with a solution, maybe the next morning you’ll have forgotten the solution to your problem.
That’s why it’s important to keep a clear mind. Problems only increase when you’re drunk. You do stupid shit that you would never do while your sober.
Because when you drink, your inhibitions go away. The voice that tells you whether something is good or evil goes away. You don’t want that.
So these people came in and they told their stories. And I listened.
Most of these were sob stories. About how these girls were dumped or about how they didn’t like their job. Only about 30% of the conversations I had were philosophical or meaningful, no matter how hard I tried.
It was just venting. Blowing off steam.
I have learned that correlation is not causation, but I like to think that these people didn’t change their situation just because they had the ability to blow off steam. Venting reduces the need for change.
These people could have used the time drinking and complaining to change their situation.
I have read some books. One book was about a slave, who explained how masters keep their slaves docile and willing to work.
These plantation holders would give the slaves a weekend off per year. Then they gave them rum and expected them to drink. Of course, at first, that seems like a good deal for the slaves. Then they would get so drunk that they fought with eachother and vomited all over the place, and were so unhappy because of the alcohol that they were eager to get back to work after that weekend.
I see some parallels with today’s society.
You have a shit job. So your employer gives you a weekend off to ‘relax’. You drink your troubles away on Saturday, Sunday is spent with a hangover and on Monday you’re actually happy you’re allowed to be productive again.
Because producing, that’s what it’s all about. Producing a legacy, producing things that contribute to society. You can earn a lot of bucks producing.
But drinkers don’t produce. They consume.
They are looking for a way out, but let me tell you: The only way out is to produce so much next to your ‘regular’ (read: underpaid) job that you can live off it.
That’s what I have learned working at McDonald’s. I would make a laughable wage, so I had to figure out a way to get some money on the side.
I started painting and selling paintings with a rage you couldn’t imagine.
It made me a nice side-income. Enough to fulfill in my needs.
You, too, can find a side-hustle that suits your capabilities. You can and you should.
That’s how you go from whining in a bar to being a successful person. When you have money on your mind, there’s no room for negativity.
Because who will buy anything from a pussy who complains? You have to maintain a positive attitude to sell things. You have to trust the things you sell. You have to believe in it.
But drinkers don’t believe in anything, man. They’re nihilistic. That’s because they are killing their brain cells with the juice.
I have another story for you. I matched with a girl on Tinder who told me she read my blog. We made an appointment to get coffee together.
Now this is a girl who has a respectable job, studies and seems to have her shit together. Except for one thing. On the weekend she gets sloshed.
On the day of the date she texted me and said that she is so hungover and manic from her hangover that she doesn’t want to go anymore and that we should reschedule. Open-hearted, sure, but not really respectable.
I learned something from this. You can not fully trust people who drink. You can not make appointments with them. At least my time was not wasted pursuing nothing.
5. The ‘Benefits’ of Alcohol
Some people who aren’t convinced that they should quit will tell you the benefits of alcohol.
“It relaxes you”, they will say to you. But alcohol is a depressant – it does not give you a happy feeling, but more of a numbed down feeling. If you want to call numbed down relaxed, go right ahead.
But I like happy feelings. I like to enjoy moments. Alcohol doesn’t make me enjoy any moment. For happiness you want a clear mind, so you can a) remember the moment and b) analyze what is good about the moment and duplicate it later.
“You get less self-conscious so you can talk to people more easily”, they will tell you.
Talking to new people can be hard, yes. But do you want to be in a state of mind in which you can only talk about yourself and forget what was said or do you want to be in a state of mind in which you can listen and associate subjects with things that you know?
It takes guts to talk to new people. But when you do it sober, you train to be less self-conscious and more open. You are training your guts. Easy man, don’t kill people with your new sixpack.
The addict will try to convince you to “have one because it makes you social”. There is nothing social about alcohol.
Alcohol turns you in a raving, suicidal maniac and that’s why I don’t care for it.
Alcohol is based on fake emotion. Fake empathy. Fake mutual understanding. Fake friends.
Let me tell you, I only made one lasting friend from my time when I was a bartender. The rest are gone. Never see them. Bye bye.
The people you only see when you drink aren’t the people who will help you move to a new appartment.
As you see, every “benefit” to alcohol can be countered with an argument based on truth.
But to see the truth about alcohol, you have to stop drinking for a while. If you stop drinking for a while, you will notice how good you feel. While your mind is clouded and in a funny state, you will keep deceiving yourself.
When you feel good, you have to make a point out of it not to go back to your old ways.
6. The Drawbacks of Alcohol
Alcohol costs money. That’s no joke.
If you drink craft beer or cocktails especially.
Me and my friends used to get ‘halves’ – 50cl supercheap beer from the supermarket per tray and drink those, but everything’s getting more expensive.
If you want to get drunk you have to pay the price. Nothing comes for free.
Poor people drink. They don’t see that it’d be better for them to stop drinking, so they can climb out of the financial hole that they’re in.
Another drawback of alcohol is that it kills your braincells. You can’t remember parts from the night before? That’s temporal amnesia.
Keep it up and you might get Korsakov’s disease. People in my highschool used to joke about someone that drunk a lot and gave him a nickname relating to Korsakov. Funny as that might be, for the guy it should’ve been a sign that he should’ve toned it down.
Drunk driving, violence, criminal behavior, rape: They all have a solid link with alcohol. If you drink you lose sense of good and evil, apparently. Or you might be inclined to say ‘fuck it’ while you should have stepped up and intervened.
Some people mean that ‘fuck it’ literally and they ‘score’, but regret it afterwards. Then the guy gets a rape charge stuck to his ass and complains that the girl fucked him over. No shit, sherlock. Why would you even want to stick it to a drunk girl? That’s just asking for trouble.
You can also get ED from drinking alcohol. Being able to chug down 15 beers but not being able to perform – what a man!
Lastly, when you drink alcohol, you become dumber. Alcohol kills your braincells. You become less good at shit. You have a harder time tackling problems when you’re dumb.
7. The Importance of Willpower
What a man. Let me tell you about the 7 years that the state has considered me a man.
As a man you need a lot of willpower. You need to get shit done.
You need to pay for things, you want to do fun things and those cost money. Everything costs money.
You need to be able to do things even when you’re not feeling like doing them.
That’s called willpower. It’s called discipline.
8. How to Grow Your Willpower
Below is a download link for a book on willpower. Read it, then read it again. It will teach you to persist if you want to make something of yourself in this world.
If you want willpower, read it. I can’t explain it better than that book can. It”s a true classic.
9. The Importance of Opening Up
Now I have had some conversations with friends and strangers alike. They have learned me the value of opening up.
I have one friend who rarely opens up. It’s part of his character. But when we join with a mutual friend who does open up, he automatically becomes the third wheel. He becomes excluded because the other two will engage in a conversation that’s honest. His lack of sharing is showing through.
When you open up, you level up.
You will attract people through honesty. It’s refreshing, because most people operate at a surface level.
Multiple times I have been told that I seemed ‘awake’ just because I listened and asked honest questions.
Now I don’t consider myself enlightened yet, but when I am engaged in a good conversation, I share about myself easily.
A while ago I had to lead a discussion for Uni. Me and a classmate had to prepare questions and ask them to the class.
My questions were designed just so that people would share their own experiences and what they had learned from them.
I was kind of nervous when going in front of the class and asking these questions just to evoke a discussion, but we did it.
And they shared it. I continued asking and telling them my experiences, to which they all listened.
The discussion was a succes.
Of course you’re going to be nervous when you open up to new people. You can even be nervous opening up to old friends.
But when you do it, you gain a lot of valuable learning insights. If they respond to it, that is.
If they don’t respond it’s better to keep quiet and move on.
From opening up I have learned that I’m a procrastinator. It’s a joke, really. An expensive word for saying that I’m lazy.
But when I’m not lazy and am working towards a goal, I have noticed that that feels good.
It feels so good that I want to stop being lazy. I want to stop sleeping in and be productive everyday.
It’s been a lot easier to do that since I’ve stopped drinking alcohol.
I see a positive correlation here. Stop drinking, become more productive. Become more productive, earn more money. Earn more money, spend it on what you like.
But that requires you to look deep down inside and figure out what you like. That’s scary as hell. It’s easier to just spend your money on booze.
Figuring out what your interests are and what you want to pursue requires self-analysis. It’s kind of like going to a therapist. He will ask you all these questions, and at first you wonder what he’s getting at. Then, after a while, you learn that it’s about looking at yourself.
The unexamined life is not worth living – Socrates
When you’re more honest with yourself, you’ll be inclined to be more honest with others. Honesty is refreshing.
10. The Importance of True Friends
If you’re honest long enough, eventually you’ll make friends. That’s inevitable.
People want people who are honest around them. People want to go deeper.
These honest people, which you can call friends, can help you to form new habits and quit alcohol.
None of my real friends will offer me alcohol right now. They all know I’ve quit and they accept it.
Some of them know the reasons, some of them don’t. They take me at face value.
If you have friends, who, after you telling them you want to quit, still offer you alcohol, they’re not true friends. They don’t have your best interest at heart.
All they are looking for are drinking buddies. People to share in their misery. Misery loves company.
It’d be better if you called it quits on them. Just fade the relationship out. You’re probably not missing out on anything.
Good friends will accept a cup of coffee instead of alcohol. For them, it’s more about the relationship with you, not what you’re both consuming.
Good friends will go with you outside your comfort zones. Experience new things, do things they’ve never did before.
You’ve got drunk in the past so many times. What is the added value of getting drunk another time? What do you get out of it?
Take your friends and do some new things. If you don’t know what to do, use the internet. Stroll around in your city. Start a book club.
A friend of mine told me he respected me more after I stopped drinking. That made me feel very, very good. Now all I have to do to win even more of his respect is to stop smoking cigarettes.
How come people respect you more after you stop drinking? I think it has to do with self-control.
A man who can control himself is commendable to everyone. He apparently has the willpower to tame his vices and make something of himself.
You can do so many fun things now and get paid for them. All it takes is self-control.
And when you do those new things, you can have your friends share in it.
That reminds me of a time I was booked as a graffiti artist for a festival. I’d give workshops to people who had never handled a spraycan before.
I took two of my friends and taught them the basics, so they could teach other people too. We had the grandest time, spraying up a wall.
It made the bond with those two stronger: We had another shared experience that we could reminisce over.
You don’t need alcohol to gain shared experiences. With alcohol, the experiences you have become a blur.
11. Politely Declining Alcohol
After stopping with drinking, you will still be tempted to go out.
That’s normal. But instead of falling into the mouse’s trap trying to get the cheese, you can combine going out with not drinking.
Not drinking while going out is another experience. You will notice the following things:
- You will not be able to relate to drunk people
- You can still dance
- You won’t be hungover the next day
- People will offer you rounds
People talk shit when they’re buzzed. They will gossip and engage in the most boring or excluding conversations you can imagine. When in a group of people, two people will start to talk to eachother like they’re the only ones there. Hello?
I noticed that after day 1. I thought to myself “Shit, did I do this too? What a bummer.”
So when a conversation bored me, I just started to dance. You don’t need to talk when you’re dancing.
I would even dance better. My body coordination is off the charts when I’m sober.
However, it takes more guts to go up to people and dance with them. If they don’t have that energy, that energy that says “I’m enjoying myself to the maximum”, I found that it’s usually a loss of your evening trying to dance with them.
You can spot people on the dancefloor who have that energy right away. They will be all over the place and copying your craziest moves.
You don’t need to drink to have that energy, though. Just let the music guide you.
But people will offer you drinks when you’re out and about. They will do this out of ‘cameraderie’. When they do it’s easy to politely decline it.
When I say it’s easy, I mean that it’s easy when you stop the feeling of ‘fuck it, just one’ right in its tracks.
You never give in to that feeling. It doesn’t suit you. You know where it leads. No thank you, I’m on cola. The six magic words.
Bars will sell non-alcoholic beverages too. Just try one. They’re really refreshing, and they’re cheaper. After a while, you’ll notice that you enjoy the evening just as much.
If you’re on the money, you can even drink water with ice, which is almost always free.
I now drink coffee, cola or water when I go out. It keeps you sharper and better at conversation. As for dancing (a big part of my life), alcohol doesn’t help me dance anyway, so might as well drink something that isn’t contaminated with poison.
Just politely decline that drink. It becomes easier over time. You might even start a fruitful conversation about why you’re not drinking and the effects that it’s had on you.
12. Find a Hobby That Makes You Money
Now you have a clear mind. You have extra money. You have extra time.
Time to fill up with a new hobby.
The friend who called me asked if I had filled up my drinking time with hobby time. “To distract yourself”, he said.
Damn right I did. I found writing, am taking walks enjoying nature and am still making art. I am even saving up for a screenprinting press.
If you like to be fit, this is the time to do it. Do a hundred pushups, situps and squats per day. You’ll see muscle definition in no time. Especially when you eat mostly meat.
If you like to paint, go out and buy an easel, a set of brushes, a canvas and some paint. You can be the next Van Gogh with some practice.
If you like music, buy a microphone and attach it to your computer. Microphones can be used for podcast making too. It’s pretty cool sharing information with a lot of people and that’s why I intend to expand the content of this website to podcasts.
In our internet culture, you can share your works with anyone. Although the bulk of my readers come from the UK, US and my home country I have readers from all around the world. Pakistan, Bhutan, Thailand, China, Argentina. My goal is to reach the whole world by writing.
With the rise of the internet, everything is possible. Artists who before wouldn’t be able to make a dime now have legions of followers that pay them to send them an art piece.
Musicians can get by from marketing themselves on the internet and getting new gigs.
There are so many great things you can do with your fresh stance on life. You can only be limited by your imagination.
13. Conclusion and Resources
Even though this guide isn’t a step-by-step how-to guide on quitting alcohol (because there is really only one step: stop drinking), I hope it has provided you with the motivation needed to pursue new goals, stop your mistakes, make new friends and making more money while sober.
I have certainly seen an increase in my happiness because I’m not drinking anymore. I don’t miss it, will not go back. Bye bye drinks, see you around never.
Alcohol isn’t needed for a good time. It actually robs you of your good times.