Why is everything that’s supposed to be bad,
Make me feel so good?
Man, I told you not to, I tried the best I could but,
You make me smile.
– Kanye (actually, from “Addiction” from the album Late Registration)
If you wish, you can grab the N.W.A. Newsletter Playlist on Spotify here, all of the songs that have been featured in the newsletter are on the playlist.
Happy Friday, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness – and welcome to the latest edition of The N.W.A. Newsletter.
Today, I want to give you some reflections from a personal journey of mine.
Last week marked 6 months without any alcohol; that’s the longest streak in my adult life.
I want to tell you of all the positive changes this has brought about in my life; I’ve had a number of friends, colleagues, and clients decide to give sobriety a shot as well, and they’re noticed the same benefits.
If you’ve ever wondered what going 100% alcohol free would be like, this issue is for you.
Without any further ado… let’s get started, shall we?
N.W.A. Reflections on 6 Months Of Sobriety
For a few years, I’ve been what I call “sober curious”.
I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic or anything.
The definition of an alcoholic, as stated by the Mayo Clinic is as such:
A development of physical dependence, difficulty managing one’s level of alcohol intake, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when ending alcohol consumption, and a preoccupation with alcohol.
None of those statements applied to me.
I wasn’t physically dependent on alcohol; I only had drinks on the weekend, never on Monday through Thursday.
I didn’t have difficulty managing my intake. I never drank to the point of getting “blasted” (I did, however, usually drink to the point of feeling a bit of a buzz).
I never experienced withdrawal symptoms after stopping, or had a “preoccupation” with it.
But I knew it wasn’t a good habit to have… and I had a nagging feeling I wasn’t the “best me” I could be when I was regularly drinking it.
The habit of alcohol consumption on my weekend evenings began in college, as it does for many people.
In university, we would head to the bars or house parties from Thursday through Sunday, and we’d have drinks each night.
Typical “college kid” stuff.
Post college, I dropped the Thursday and Sunday habit – I began my career as a middle school teacher.
Having a hangover while trying to teach kids math isn’t something I would recommend – 0/10.
But still, on Fridays after dinner, I would crack a beer or pour a few fingers of whisky to celebrate the end of a work week.
And on Saturdays, I would have a few drinks at dinner, and I would come home and have a few more to “unwind”.
After I quit teaching, and I started working for myself, I started having drinks on Sunday as well.
This was a “treat” for myself; I had worked hard to get to the point where I didn’t have a boss, and I had personal freedom.
No more kiddos to teach on Monday mornings! Woo hoo!
Might as well have a “Sunday Funday”, ya know?
By Monday, though, I could feel the effects of having drinks on 3 straight days/nights.
I was often in a bad mood; my heart rate was elevated, my anxiety was high, and I wasn’t motivated to begin my week.
My workouts always suffered for the first few days of the week.
It wasn’t until Wednesday or Thursday that I would feel close to 100%.
But then of course, Friday night rolled around, and it was “Cheers to the weekend!” and the cycle would continue.
I would often see personal stories from other “creators” online who preached the benefits of 100% sobriety.
To be successful at my career, you must be self motivated.
Content creation is a big part of the game; if you’re not regularly connecting with your audience, you cannot grow your business.
I have read and watched lots of stories from online entrepreneurs who said their productivity, creativity, and as a result – revenue – skyrocketed after getting 100% sober.
I’ve always been someone who wanted to have “no ragrets” in life, and because of this, I had a nagging suspicion alcohol was holding me back.
The “push” I needed to give sobriety a chance came earlier this year.
My best friend passed away from alcoholism, and that threw me for a loop.
That event, in and of itself didn’t make me quit – at least not right away.
But after my friend’s passing, I noticed something when I consumed alcohol.
It was no longer fun.
When Friday hit, I would have drinks, but it didn’t have the same light, “hell yes, it’s the end of the week” feel to it.
Instead, I would feel guilty.
Sometimes, I would feel ashamed.
It just made me think of my friend and how much I missed him, and I would get introspective, and depressed.
I realized a few things.
First, I was still grieving.
Mentally, I was struggling with my friend’s passing.
Alcohol and mental health issues don’t mix – I knew if I wanted to process the tragedy properly, and get past it more quickly, being sober was my best option.
Second, I was no longer using alcohol to “celebrate” the end of the work week.
I was using alcohol to cope with the loss I had experienced.
That’s no good.
Alcohol can be a good thing to reduce stress and unwind, but only when it’s used in the right way (and in moderation).
And third, as I stated earlier, I had been “sober curious” for a few years.
Maybe this was my sign.
F*ck it, let’s give it a shot.
Only good things can come of this, I thought to myself.
So, on March 9th, I had my last drink, and on March 10th, I began my new journey towards sobriety.
The first weekend was interesting.
I realized how used to having drinks on Friday night I was.
When Friday evening rolled around… I didn’t know what to do with myself.
If I could give you one negative to going sober, that’s what it would be.
If you’re used to habitually drinking on the weekends to unwind, you may find yourself a bit “bored” at first.
Drinking is an escape.
The alcohol gives you a dopamine rush and you feel relaxed from the first sip, even if the alcohol hasn’t yet entered into your bloodstream.
It’s a way to “tune out” and unplug from your week.
I’m always plugged into the “matrix” given my career; this was my way of closing the laptop, getting off the cell phone, and forgetting about it for a few hours each week.
I had to find other things to do.
But the main thing I had to do was deal with some boredom.
Boredom is difficult, especially in 2023.
We are used to non-stop, constant stimulation.
Sitting quietly without a phone or a screen can be tough, since we’ve trained ourselves to be barraged by stimuli at all times.
If you’ve ever checked your phone at a red light instead of simply waiting for 30 seconds and doing nothing, you know exactly what I mean…
It took some time to get used to not having drinks, and being a bit bored at times, but as I said – that was the only negative I’ve noticed so far.
The rest has been overwhelmingly positive:
My digestion has improved tremendously.
I won’t get into details, but let’s just say you could set a clock to it (TMI?).
I’ve never slept this well in my life.
I’ve always considered myself a “light sleeper” who had trouble falling asleep at night, and would wake up frequently.
Within weeks, I began falling asleep the second my head hit the pillow, and sleeping 7-9 hours every night, usually without waking.
Lots of REM sleep, lots of deep sleep; the change has been remarkable.
I stopped biting my fingernails.
I’ve bitten my fingernails since I was 10 years old; it’s a nasty habit.
A few weeks after I quit drinking, I looked down at my hands and realized I needed to cut my nails.
That threw me for a loop!
I hadn’t even tried to stop!
It just kind of “happened”.
That’s probably related to the next item…
My anxiety and stress levels have plummeted.
I used to feel stressed out and anxious on a regular basis.
I would worry non-stop about the biz, my clients, the coaches on my team, etc.
Within a few weeks of being sober, that vanished.
I rarely felt anxious any longer, and I became much more calm.
Which lead to better decision making, in both my personal and professional lives.
My workouts improved tenfold.
On Monday, I would be itching to go into the gym after taking the weekend off.
Instead of slogging through the motions after 3 days of booze, I would be strong and refreshed after 3 nights of sleeping great, and eating healthy food.
Monday workouts became something I looked forward to, instead of something I did begrudgingly.
My physique exploded; I built lots of muscle and lost lots of fat (while eating more than ever before).
Check this comparison out:
The picture on the left was taken on March 14th.
The picture on the right was taken on September 8th.
I’m 2 pounds heavier in the picture on the right…
When you drink alcohol, ALL of your metabolic processes stop on a dime.
Alcohol is a poison to your body; your body stops building muscle AND burning fat in order to clear out the ethanol from your system.
With these metabolic processes humming 24/7, the physical changes have been startling.
Combine that with a huge increase in restorative, restful sleep, and this is what you get.
This should have been a given (and obvious), but even I was surprised by how drastic the changes were.
My (ahem) testosterone shot through the roof.
I won’t get into details on that one.
Let’s just say my wife is smiling more than ever before these days.
My disposition shifted and I became more relaxed, calm, and peaceful.
Don’t get me wrong; I was never mean or abusive or anything.
But I was often broody and in a poor mood.
I would get agitated and frustrated at small things.
It pains me to say it, but at times, my mindset was negative when I was habitually consuming alcohol.
Once I cut it out, I became level headed and relaxed.
I rarely became frustrated, and I was able to handle issues with my children better.
I became a better Dad, and a better Husband.
That’s the part that I’m the most proud of.
I feel like I’m finally operating at 100%, and being the best person I can be to those who deserve it the most.
Going sober is a personal choice for all of us.
Alcohol is a strange bird – it’s the one drug where people think there’s something wrong with you if you don’t consume it.
It’s engrained into every fabric of our society.
Every party, every barbecue, every holiday, every sporting event, every concert, every… everything revolves around alcohol.
I promise I’m not going to become one of those preachy “don’t drink booze” coaches – that would be hypocritical of me, big time.
But I will say this…
If you’ve ever wondered if your relationship with alcohol was “healthy”…
If you’ve ever wondered if your life would improve if you eliminated it…
If you’ve ever wondered how you would feel and operate fully sober…
Consider this your sign!
Do it; give it a shot!
Come board the “sober train” with me!
I’m gonna go for at least another 6 months; I want to do one, full year of sobriety before I think about drinking alcohol again.
And who knows… after a year, there’s a chance I might just say “why stop now” and make this a permanent thing.
Cheers to the weekend!
With a non-alcoholic beer, of course…
One of the best ways to get the dopamine fix that booze provides is to exercise with intensity.
Our coaching program boasts 17 professionally designed strength training programs, custom nutrition, 24/7 coach support, and much more.
The average client loses 3″ off their waist in the first month.
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
In 1970, you ate 3 meals per day, you didn’t snack, and it was normal to be hungry by your next meal.
In 2023, the mere thought of hunger is anxiety-inducing to most people.
We resist even the smallest bit of discomfort and seek constant gratification no matter the source.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
This was practically a self-fulfilling prophecy for Ye… (NSFW – lyrics)