68 Days Later

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a college friend’s wedding. Since it was a college friend’s wedding I got to see and hang out with a lot of old college buddies that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was great being back in Michigan, where I grew up, seeing old friends, and attending a beautiful wedding. However, what I did find most interesting was how people responded to my sober year challenge.

I’m increasingly amazed and how much people want to break me from my self-imposed challenge. Here’s how a typical conversation would go at a bar:

Friend: So why aren’t you drinking?
Me: I set a personal goal to not drink for one year.
Friend: Why in the world would you do that?
Me: It’s something I want to see if I can do. A personal challenge to follow through on what I say I will do.
Friend: I think that’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.

And after this type of conversation they will try to peer pressure you into drinking, or even worse sometimes, try tricking you into drinking. (ie, here have this “coke” when in fact there’s Jack Daniel’s in it). Even funnier is the fact that I don’t impose my soberness on them, but actually encourage them to drink. So it’s not like I go around telling people not to drink. Like I told them, this challenge is my personal challenge.

I have found that it helps to stick to your guns…meaning after hanging out with the same friends and them seeing you being true to your words that normally the peer pressure dies down since they see your strength of resolve and sometimes they even start supporting you or even start thinking about undertaking their own sober challenge.

What I’m really wondering about is why people have such a strong opposition to my personal goal of not drinking. If you logically think about it how’s it any different from a personal goal of wanting to lose weight, get a better job, or exercise more often? Mine just happens to be not drinking. Most of the time people are very supportive of those ideas that I just mentioned. However, I’ve found that with alcohol that’s just not the case. I’ve been thinking about this for some time and here’s my brainstorm of why people want me to drink:

  • they like watching people fail
  • by rejecting to drink with them they feel like they are personally being rejected (since drinking is seen as a social activity)
  • they don’t want someone sober to see them behaving drunk
  • they want me to have a good time and think drinking is the only way
  • they don’t like watching someone do something they think they can’t do

I can’t think of anymore ideas of why they want me to fail. Now that I think about it, I really should ask them and find out. However, I do feel whatever reasons they give me for wanting me to drink will not be as good as my reasons for not drinking. But perhaps the problem is how I’ve been presenting it and being put on the “defensive.” A lot of times I’ll talk about the health benefits, how I can save money, improving my memory, etc…When I do this, though, people normally will try to refute these points (ie alcohol is good for you, if alcohol is free then why don’t you drink, how you can’t regain brain cells). After this doesn’t work I normally go into my ultimate motivation which is by staying true to my own words, and not letting myself down, that I’ll be able to accomplish whatever I set my mind on. I really shouldn’t have to explain this to them and I probably shouldn’t in the future, but it is important to me so I do share it with them. However, many people just don’t see the correlation between being true to your words and accomplishing something, which for me, is not the easiest. I think the harder the challenge, the more you can learn from it.

It’s really interesting to see how different this sober challenge is versus the last one I tried and only lasted 45 days. The last time I know in my mind I wasn’t completely resolved to stop drinking. This meant if I went out and I really wanted to drink it was OK if I did it. However, this time around, I don’t even leave that as an option. Every time I go out now I don’t even consider drinking an option. This forces me to find ways to have fun without drinking. How am I able to do this? I don’t want to let myself down. It’s one thing to let others down, but to let yourself down is the worst feeling. You can fool others, but not yourself.

I actually had a conversation relating to that topic this past weekend.

Friend: Why don’t you just make a one day exemption from your drinking challenge? You actually don’t need to tell anyone you drank. I won’t tell…
Me: That would defeat the whole purpose, cause I would know I drank. The point is to not drink for 365 consecutive days.

So 68 days since last drinking. Each time I stay true to my words the more confidence I have that I can do this. The harder and more tempting the situation that I survive the more I believe I can accomplish my goal.

Comments 1

  1. JJ wrote:

    Still staying sober bro?

    Posted 27 Sep 2007 at 8:19 pm

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