A drug that is widely accepted among most cultures for many centuries. Just like everyone else, I thought alcohol was a beverage that people occasionally drank to socialize, not realizing that it is one of the most dangerous hard drugs on the market.
I mean, it is legal after all, so how bad could it be...right?
Alcohol is essentially a temporary anxiety reducing drug, which would explain why people tend to feel pretty loose and gain all this confidence whilst on it. Not realizing that alcohol gives you this fake confidence that only lasts as long as the high. Many people such as my past self are very shy and socially awkward, who drink alcohol as a crutch to open up and socialize. And also use it as a crutch to temporarily forget their mundane everyday problems.
And who can blame them, right?
We live in an anxiety prone society, where most people are deathly afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone and revealing their true feelings to the world. Many shy away and hide away like crabs under a rock, scared of being judged by their peers, especially when they start being themselves.
All of a sudden, society offers you this magical elixir that makes you forget all your pain, and gives you all this confidence, and suddenly, you don't give a fuck anymore about what people think. You can now approach people which you could not approach before, and be fun, crazy, charming and memorable. It's like many people have this invisible tight grasp around their neck that stops them from speaking out. And it's like alcohol temporarily gives them this brief freedom to talk. This is a good thing, right?
Well...apart from the severe alcohol withdrawal we call a hangover, once the beer goggles wear off, we go straight back into our shell, and all this fake confidence disappears. I'm not even going to go into the adverse carcinogenic effects alcohol has on every single one of our organs. All you have to do is a bit of research to find out that alcohol is one of the most harmful drugs overall, which is really ironic, seeing how our modern society deems this perfectly fine. In fact, it's applauded and rewarded for some bizarre reason.
Just like many young Australians, I started binge drinking at the age of 13.
This was not even necessarily purely a social thing. My objective, again like many young Australians, was to get as fucked up as possible. I remember going out to the street with my friends and asking strangers for some spare change, until we got enough for a 4 litre wine bag, which we called goon. Only to drink until I got so fucked up that I puked and made a fool of myself. There were a couple of instances where I even puked inside a train carriage (yeah.....I was that guy).
I was an absolute champion drinker, and could skull godly amounts of beers and even spirits. I would always be going to house parties, bars and clubs to get fuuuucked up. I remember being the life of the party, talking to strangers as if they were my best friend. This was a very refreshing change to the incredibly shy & anxious kid I normally was, only to be numb in the morning and never open up to a soul.
Alcohol was the only vehicle that I knew of, that could get me at least talking to people and breaking out of my shell. But as time went on I needed more and more alcohol to get that same high. That same amount of confidence. To even enjoy myself on a night out.
But like I said earlier, alcohol never gave me confidence. It gave me this fake confidence which was only as temporary as the alcohol high. I would feel so much worse after every alcohol binge. But that wouldn't stop me. I would continue to get smashed. At one point I was even getting drunk at least 4 times a week!
Most times I was a happy drunk, but there would be times when a switch would go off, and I would do monstrous things to the ones I loved. It would bring out a demonic side that was not who I was. I'm not going to mention the things that I've done, but all I can say is that it's something that I'm absolutely ashamed of, and can hardly believe that I was even capable of such things. The sad part is that I've seen this happen over and over again with many of my old friends. They would be the sweetest souls until alcohol touched their lips, where they would turn into a COMPLETELY different person.
After nearly 10 years of drinking and partying, I decided enough was enough. The more I worked on my self awareness, the less I enjoyed drinking. It just wasn't the same anymore.
After my cleanse in Peru, I set a challenge for myself. To go 365 days without drinking a single drop of alcohol.
In Australia, this is a challenge that sounds impossible to most, even to people that never get drunk and only drink a glass of wine at dinner parties.
Alcohol is THAT embedded into our culture!
I'm not going to lie and say that I remained completely sober the whole time, as I did partake in the herb from time to time, but never as a crutch.
I not only quit alcohol for health reasons, but I wanted to really work on my self-development and expand my awareness which alcohol definitely does not help you achieve!
It was weird at first, going out without drinking. But now I much prefer it. The level of awareness you have is incredible! You're able to speak more concisely and strategically. And not to mention you feel a hell of a lot better without that nasty hangover.
Alcohol in Australia is not cheap either, so not only was I able to save a lot more money on the things that I love, but I was much more productive with my time.
It's funny how I used to live for the weekend and getting drunk, now I cannot STAND being around drunk people. The stench of beer that goes out of a mumbling drunk persons mouth is not pleasant, along with their loud, incoherant, irrational words that get jumbled out of a low consciousness state. I challenge you to go to a night club or a bar stone cold sober. You will quickly see how 95% of people there are just acting like idiots, trying to escape their mundane everyday reality. Another thing I noticed when going out is that when people get drunk, everybody acts like they're best friends, yet they never hang out outside social circles. And this is a vicious cycle that seems to go on for an extraordinary long time!
It's not a good environment to be in. Especially if you are after personal growth.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever go out with your mates to have the odd drink here and there. Nor am I telling you to stay away from alcohol altogether.
Do what ever the fuck you want.
I'm just sharing my experience and observations about people that get drunk in clubs/bars, and how it is not any way shape or form beneficial for your health or personal growth. Everybody is different, and may not have self-development as their highest priority. Some people just like to get fucked up and temporarily forget their everyday problems, which is fine.
I do get frustrated on the hypocrisy behind alcohol though. How so many people claim they "don't do drugs" while drinking one of the most harmful drugs we call alcohol. How it's perfectly okay to go out on a Saturday night and get hammered, but you get looked at weird for meditating or using entheogens for exploring your own consciousness. It's absolutely insane that it's perfectly okay to have enough alcohol to kill you in your cabinet, but having a small amount of weed isn't.
The thing that I've noticed the most about staying away from alcohol, is how much more confident I feel. My mind is much more clear which alows me to think quicker and more effectively. I also have much more free time to do more productive things instead of doing all-nighters drinking. And most importantly, I am much more present in the moment, not relying on a substance to make me feel good.
I can wake up on a Sunday morning feeling awesome and refreshed instead of sluggish, groggy & depressed. Just the idea of going out does not interest me in the slightest. Especially because of how aware I am on how I could be doing something better with my time. I would much rather have deep conversations with close friends than temporarily tell a stranger on how we're best friends and then never see him again.
I feel much more energized and clean. Not just on a physical level, but on a mental and spiritual level.
What I've also noticed is my desire to go out to bars has exponentially decreased since I stopped drinking alcohol. Most people might think of me as "boring" or "lame" for not wanting to go out and get drunk, which of course is extremely ironic. I much prefer to go out and connect with nature, spend quality time with friends, go out on an adventure and having new experiences! You know? Like actually live life?
People say that alcohol brings out your true self which is absolute fucking bullshit. This is just a rationalization to help people feel better about their decision to drink. Alcohol might help you open up but a lot of the time, drunk people also speak A LOT of bullshit.
Like I said earlier, I am not telling you guys that you shouldn't drink, I'm just sharing my insights and experiences with this drug. I would however, challenge you to go a significant amount of time without touching alcohol. Especially if you rely on it as a crutch for your social anxiety. See how you feel and challenge yourself to go on social gatherings completely sober it'll feel weird at first, but you'll get so much out of it with your personal growth.
I of all people understand what it's truly like to constantly want to escape from yourself. Facing myself had to be the single most challenging thing I've ever done in my life, but man oh man was it the most rewarding. You may think you can run forever, but this is Disney land thinking. Alcohol along with other hard drugs such as meth, cocaine & heroin can be extremely damaging when overused. They just numb you and lower your state of consciousness while simultaneously stacking up all the things your hiding from in your unconscious mind until you eventually implode.
And I know, not only from direct experience, but by observing countless people. This used to be my world remember? :P
Again, absolutely no judgement here. I'm just saying it how I see it. If I've offended you, then I invite you to look at that part of yourself that's getting offended and question it.
Being offended is subjective after all, right? :p
Don't get me wrong, I do not regret ANY of my life decisions. At the end of the day it's what has got me here. There are many drunk stories that are hilariously funny to think about, and I do like to reminisce from time to time of old drunk Tom. But would I ever go back there?
Different lifetime, different person. That being said, my shadow self has been my greatest teacher, so I'm actually super grateful to have experienced the other side of the spectrum because now I can truly enjoy where I am now.
Hope you guys enjoyed this article. If you have any requests, feel free to let me know. :)
Your Mate Tom.