A New Relationship With Booze: Why peer pressure makes it hard to cut back on alcohol

Nov 19, 2022

A New Relationship With Booze 🍻

Thought of the week:

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." - Buddha

We choose the quality of our life one day, one moment at a time.

In this newsletter, I share a different perspective on the pressure to drink alcohol.

I had dinner with a friend this week who I hadn’t seen in 4 years.

The last time we hung out was in Chicago for a work conference and I took him to some of my favorite places in the city.

We ate great food, went to a Cubbies game, and had some craft cocktails.

We both worked in tech sales, loved to enjoy ourselves, and took advantage of expense accounts when appropriate.

Fast forward to last night and both of us are in totally different phases in our life.

Our dinner came 2 days after I crossed the 90-day mark of no alcohol and for him, it's been 16 months without a drop (!).

We shared some laughs about the old times and the partying we did, but ultimately how much better we feel these days.

He is more present and involved as a husband & father, and I've been able to find a clear mission in my life.

But for me, it’s never been about being sober or demonizing booze.

Or never having another drink.

It’s always a day-to-day choice to decide what I need to feel my best.

And for 90 days, alcohol hasn’t made the starting lineup.

I always give myself permission to have a drink if I want one as opposed to thinking it's totally off-limits.

But it’s hard to make a HUGE change like that for a few reasons:

(NOTE: The intention of this newsletter isn’t to get anyone to stop drinking. The intention is to give those who WANT to cut back a different perspective and a path forward.)


1. We feel like there’s something wrong with us.

After all, it’s socially acceptable to drink on every occasion… who are we to say we’d rather not?

Commercials, ads, product placement, events, social engagements - we’re bombarded with pressure to do so.

If we're not having bottomless mimosas with everyone, we must be weird, right?

Meh, not so much.

2. There’s a stigma around choosing to not drink.

Often the perception is you’re not drinking because you have a problem.

It’s inconceivable that this could just be a decision to feel better - similar to cutting out breakfast burritos from your life in favor of a few eggs + fruit each morning.

Some get confused. Some laugh it off. Some attempt a joke to change the subject.

Some give weird looks. Some say you’ve gone soft. Some say you’re no longer fun.

People tend to project their own discomfort with your choice via their reaction.

I know these reactions well as I’ve seen and done them all.

And if that's the reaction some give you, those aren't people you want in your life anyway.

3. Choosing not to drink can be scary.

Who will I be without it?

Will my friends still want to hang out with me?

Will I still want to hang out with my friends?

How will I explain why I’m ordering a regular Topo Chico?

What will I do instead?

But how would you need to feel about yourself to not feel like you need a drink?

Or to not feel like you need to succumb to peer pressure?

You'd probably need to feel confident + secure in your decisions.

Like you have a rock-solid foundation of who you are and what you want for your life.

Imagine saying "I'm good" with barrel-chested confidence and not giving a second thought to what someone else thinks.

Ahhh, pure bliss.

A few things to think about…

  • People don’t have to understand your decisions to respect them
  • People don’t have to understand your beliefs in order for you to hold them
  • Some will always judge or never understand. Learn to be OK with that.

You weren’t born to drink on every occasion, you've just been conditioned to do it.

If you learned it at some point, you could undoubtedly unlearn it.

TIPS - What to say when you don’t feel like drinking:

I’ll get one in a minute, going to have some water first.
Have to get up early tomorrow, taking it easy tonight.
I’m DD!
Or, my favorite... “Nah, I’m good thanks.”

If people really want to indulge and ask why I don’t want a drink, I simply say I don’t like it much anymore.

That I feel depressed, I lose energy, have less focus, and can’t think clearly after even 1 drink.
The trade-offs aren’t worth a 2-hour buzz.

THOUGHT EXERCISE: Could you go without alcohol for 30 days starting now?

If your answer was no way! It might be worth exploring why that is.

We’re terrified of the idea of going any amount of time without booze.

"But I have this thing coming up…"

The holiday party, the work happy hour, the friend’s birthday, the wedding, the bachelor party, the Super Bowl, etc

There will always be something.

There will always be a “next thing.”

There will always be an unlimited amount of excuses.

But we weren’t born to exist as beings that constantly consume something to change our physical state and numb how we feel to escape our reality.

You don't have to be booze-free or bust, but you should be exploring what works best for you in your life.

Start doing more of what makes you show up as your best self.

Tim 🖤

ps Did this resonate with you at all? I'd love to hear your feedback, experience, or take on this topic.

Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help:

1. 1:1 Coaching

If you're interested in coaching, accountability, support, and a community of like-minded guys, my Inner Circle group might be for you. Reply if you're interested.

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