A Drinking Story

This blog and website is for high-functioning people who want to drink less and in control. In this first post, I want to share a bit of my story and my old and new perspectives on alcohol.

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I don’t and never have considered myself an alcoholic, and I’ve never really had ‘a problem’ with alcohol. But I always had a special relationship with it. I thought about it a lot. I took great care to never run out, whether at home or out in the world. I always had some with me if a social occasion was in the offing. I didn’t understand, and actually even pitied, people who didn’t drink. I drove drunk but luckily never hurt anyone or got caught. I spent many weekend mornings hungover, and over the course of 30 years I didn’t go more than a dozen days without having a beer.

I’m a brewer, or I was. Over 9 years I brewed 113 ten-gallon batches of beer. I won first place in the IPA class of a local homebrew competition. My friends were impressed at my ability to keep multiple kegs on tap of delicious inexpensive beer without destroying myself. I read beer forums and was in a brewing club. It was beer beer beer all the time.

And then all of sudden it was much less interesting to me. Too many Tuesday evenings thinking to myself ‘man I am really buzzed again’. An extra 20 lbs and a double-chin. Not wanting to do a Skype guitar lesson at 9:00 because I’d have to limit myself to 1 beer that night. Feeling stuck and stale in life, even though things were pretty good.

I reduced my beer consumption by two-thirds. I started exercising and I changed my diet. I lost weight, and that extra chin. And I took to heart the premise that the best way to be a true connoisseur of something is to partake of it sparingly. Nowadays I drink a few times a week. I still like those IPAs, and I enjoy making nice cocktails. I consume alcohol, but it I’m not consumed by it like I was.

When I look back at how I was drinking, I am SO relieved that I made the changes I did. I’m newly married to a wonderful woman, who wouldn’t have wanted much to do with that other version of me. I feel so much better all the time. And I’m thinking big about my life, bigger than I ever allowed myself to, and I’m taking action to create results from those big thoughts.

So maybe you’re in a place similar to where I was. You’ve organized a lot of your life around alcohol. It’s been a fun social outlet and maybe an interesting and creative hobby. For some of you, it might even be your vocation, as a professional brewer or a retailer.

But there’s a voice inside telling you that you need a change. Maybe your health or relationships are already starting to suffer. Maybe you see that drinking is allowing you to stay stuck in a life that doesn’t suit you anymore, where you’ve quit growing, and you know that you could be doing more with yourself.

But you don’t want to even think about quitting drinking.

Unfortunately, our culture tends to have a very black and white view of alcohol. According to this view, either you have a problem or you don’t. And if you do, the only solution is to quit completely

However, I know that this is not true for many people. There is a middle ground where you can enjoy alcohol in moderation, without feeling deprived. You can drink less, enjoy it more and have an all-around better life. Cutting back doesn’t have to mean giving anything up. If fact cutting back means that you give your life a chance to wake up, in ways that you might not be able to imagine.

This blog and website are all about offering an alternative to that traditional black and white approach to alcohol. You don’t need to label yourself and accept powerlessness. You can decide how alcohol will fit into the healthy, productive and fulfilling life that you want. And if you pay close attention, you’ll learn ways to harness your extra time and energy to expand your life.

Check out the other posts here for practical actionable tips to take control of your drinking.

In the meantime, what’s your alcohol story? Drop me a line and tell me about it, and ask me any questions you may have about changing it.

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