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The First Draft of '31 Days of Sobriety' is Done
You'll see the journey play out before your eyes.
Today I (mostly) completed one of the goals I’d set for myself in the Men of March challenge; I finished the first draft of my latest 31-Day program, 31 Days of Sobriety.
If you’re like me, you want to get the most from life, which means you must add healthier habits to get you experiencing better “feedback” from life. Oftentimes, removing the toxic behaviors which prevent you from attaining and maintaining, yourself at the next level.
Fighting Against Accepted Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a chronic disease affecting the brain and one’s behavior.
Addictive vices are a serious problem that can negatively impact a person’s:
Relationships with friends, family, and loved ones
As well as bringing down the overall quality of their life experience
Vices such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs can be highly addictive and difficult to break free from, but it is important that we do everything we can to overcome these addictions and remove them from our lives. It doesn’t take a DUI, domestic issues, or a public intoxication arrest for you to course correct, and if we’re being honest, even if you got one of those consequences slapped on you, there are still people who will question why you quit.
Sobriety is not a popular choice, as addiction runs rampant and sober living is a mirror to those still caught in the supported cycle.
“Addiction is about pain, not pleasure.” - Tim Reigle
Nobody will help you break the chains to your vice; at least not until your addiction gets in the way of their day-to-day life experience; the problem is most of us can keep our shit together, as addiction is more than drinking liquor from a brown paper bag at 913 in the morning.
I led a successful Naval career, a strong professional government career, started up a successful blog, podcast, and YouTube channel while coaching my son to winning multiple Championships, on top of being an involved father and husband, all while binge drinking damn near nightly.
For many of us, we hit rock bottom while leading objectively successful lives; so why is there this notion that we need to break before we fix our relationship with these substances?
I say we make our “rock bottom”, today and keep ourselves from causing more damage or running the risk of losing connections, money, and reputation forever.
There are many reasons why it is important to remove addictive vices from our lives, with none being so important as it is the first step required to address the source of their pain, that which is causing the reliance upon whatever substance was chosen to get through each day.
Using myself as an example, I could not have found the source of the pain I was numbing with alcohol until I removed the alcohol, felt that pain within, and instead of running - faced it head-on and dealt with it once and for all.
It wasn’t easy, but once it was done, the weight was off my soul for good; looking back, that grind was 100% worth it.
I’m writing this piece 2 years, 8 months, and 3 days alcohol-free; after binge drinking and making alcohol a major part of my identity for over 20 years…
OPPORTUNITY TIME: While I’m in the editing process, my sober mentor Ed Latimore is not; you can read a free chapter from Sober Letters to My Drunken Self here: >GRAB YOUR FREE CHAPTER<
Consuming “Sober Content” helped me immensely in the beginning stages of my journey; because of that, I cannot recommend anything else to you aside from immersing your mind in the minds of those who are where you’re looking to go.
Addiction Will Destroy You
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that mass acceptance does not equate to “good”. Over 90,000 people die due to alcohol-related issues each year; that’s just booze, we’re not even touching on smoking, pills, weed, etc. These “accepted vices” can be extremely harmful to our health; so the question must be asked, why are we voluntarily continuing to run the risk and increase the odds of suffering preventable consequences week after week?
Smoking, for example, is a leading cause of lung cancer, while excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage, increase the risk for all cancers, and a host of other health problems. Drug use can lead to severe addiction (watch Intervention for real-world examples), which negatively impacts a person’s physical, mental, and overall spiritual well-being.
No matter the vice, addiction is destructive as overconsumption goes against the homeostasis needed for everyone’s health to be optimized. The only things a person should desire daily are water, food, and shelter; beyond that, daily requirements should be selective and healthy, not destructive and obsessive.
This is what drove me to create 31 Days of Sobriety; I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact 31 Days of Masculinity has had on men, and I wanted to offer my next 31-day installment to men and women, struggling with this issue I had to take head-on as well. For 31 consecutive days, I’ll be helping you keep your mind forward-focused and less “stuck" in the current rut of try to get better-fail-repeat the cycle.
At some point, aren’t you going to admit that you’re tired of being tired?
The negative impact of addictive vices go beyond our health.
People who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or other vices often find themselves withdrawing from relationships and social situations, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. You think the world is out to get you, and yet you are the one pushing everything and everyone away.
Furthermore, these vices can become a financial burden, costing money that could be better spent on other things such as education, travel, and experiences with loved ones.
One of the most frightening aspects of addiction is how easy it is to become addicted.
Smoking is a great example to prove this point, as this vice can create addiction after just one or two cigarettes. Once addicted, breaking free can be incredibly difficult, often requiring significant support and assistance.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; if you’ve had the hooks of addiction latched to your soul, don’t give up hope just yet as the good news is it’s possible to overcome addiction and break free from each of these vices. Whether it’s booze or sugar, it takes time, effort, and often professional assistance, but it is possible.
Whether through counseling, support groups, or other forms of treatment, there are resources available to help people overcome their addictions and remove these vices from their lives.
In addition to accessing resources to help overcome addiction, there are many other things we can do to reduce our risk of becoming addicted or to help avoid falling back into addiction once we've broken free. This may include developing a strong support network of friends (For Men: Fraternity of Excellence has an excellent track record) and loved ones, staying physically active and mentally stimulated, and seeking out healthy forms of stress relief such as meditation or exercise.
Finally, it is important to remember that it's never too late to change.
Whether you're currently struggling with addiction or looking to avoid its negative impacts, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and improve your quality of life. By removing addictive vices from our lives, we can improve our health, our relationships, and our overall well-being - which leads to living a happier, more fulfilling life as a result.
To give a “big picture” overview of how deep into society this issue runs, in the United States alone, the economic cost of drug abuse was estimated to be over $740 billion in 2020. In addition, according to the American Heart Association, smoking is estimated to cause more than 480,000 deaths annually in the United States alone.
The bottom line is that addictive vices can have serious and lasting impacts on our health, relationships, and overall quality of life. However, with the right support, resources, and mindset, it is possible to overcome these addictions and remove these vices from our lives.
- Zachary Small
PS: All Daily Draft paying subscribers will receive a free download of the electronic copy of 31 Days of Sobriety when it is published.