All Posts by Daniel Kelly

Quit drinking alcohol.

How I Quit Drinking Alcohol

 In my early 20s, I regularly drank and booze was a part of my life. I never imagined I would drinking alcohol. 

Drinking was a form of bonding, it enabled me to meet new people and have fun.

It didn’t interfere with my training and I always managed to make the gym after a heavy night. Hangovers were short-lived. I felt pretty invincible despite drinking a lot.

When I reached my mid 20s I began to notice changes; I was no longer able to ride the waves of youth.

My warp speed metabolism had slowed down. A few extra beers at the weekend now meant extra pounds on my stomach.

Hangovers became stronger and lasted for days.

Quit drinking alcohol hangover.

I tried to combat excessive drinking and weight gain by switching to spirits. But I knew deep down alcohol was taking me in the wrong direction.

In one night of drinking I undid a week of careful dieting and training. I was like a dog chasing its own tail.

On closer examination I found my relationship with alcohol was an unequal one. It took away without giving in return.

I asked myself why I drank and didn’t have a good answer. Aside from the fact it was the norm.

The truth was, I was a sheep.

Tipping Point

Eventually at 26 I reached a tipping point. The lows from alcohol were now more frequent than the highs. I could no longer justify spending an entire weekend in vegetative state, unable to move or do anything productive.

Binge drinking had lost its gloss.

I began to reduce my alcohol intake and changed to water when I felt myself approaching my limit.

It was a great idea in theory, but in practice it was very different.

Drinking this way requires discipline and diligence. Alcohol dulls the senses and alters your perception, and there’s a fine line between buzzed and drunk. 

Me drinking alcohol.

On the occasion I went beyond a few drinks I saw them as one-offs. But these one-offs became more frequent and before I knew it, I regressed into old habits.

I was trapped in a vicious circle; go out, drink, feel like shit, rinse and repeat.

Moderation clearly didn’t work for me, so I decided to quit drinking alcohol entirely.

Quitting Alcohol

For anyone trying to quit alcohol, one of the biggest obstacles is peer pressure.

It’s ironic – people get anxious when they discover you’re not drinking. They offer you drinks and to try and tempt you into drinking.

If that doesn’t work, they try to get you by calling you a ‘health freak’. Or they tell you you’re boring for not drinking.

However, later you realise these are last ditch attempts by people who feel insecure about their own decision to drink.

Although I had made the decision to quit drinking alcohol, I wasn’t completely rid of it.

I would go several weeks without drinking then I would get drunk on a night out. And I began to wonder if I made the right choice – perhaps I was being too drastic?

I felt like an outsider at social events because I wasn’t drinking –  I wanted to fit in and be liked.

So I made excuses why I wasn’t drinking – I was ‘taking a break’ or I was hungover, I wasn’t strong in my convictions and was easily swayed by peoples opinions. This led to self-doubt and it’s the reason why I was so inconsistent.

When I became clear about quitting alcohol I began to see results:

I wanted to look better, feel better and be as healthy as possible.

I stopped attending events where the main focus was drinking and I didn’t socialise with heavy drinkers. And I learned drinking was mostly about acceptance from others.

I became leaner and ate better because I no longer ate booze-induced fast food. 

My progress in the gym was excellent. I no longer took time off from hangovers or made half-hearted attempts after a night out.

I slept better because my sleep was not interrupted by alcohol. Instead of wasting away in bed I had more energy to spend on projects and hobbies 

Nonetheless I still wanted to meet people and socialise – so I took up dancing. This way I could go out and enjoy myself, but be around people who didn’t see alcohol as the main event. 

As a bonus, I saved a ton of money – I didn’t realise how much I spent drinking until I quit alcohol.

Final Thoughts

Quitting alcohol in a drinking culture is not easy, it is so ingrained that people can’t imagine life without it.

However, it’s important to be clear about why you want to give up alcohol. Because this will see you through the inevitable tough times.

You need to avoid negative influences when you quit drinking alcohol. You don’t need people to bring you down or constantly question your decision to quit drinking.

The majority of my friends respected my decision. This gave me the courage to see it through.

Originally I was worried about everyone’s opinion. But honestly people are too busy thinking about themselves to worry about you.

Find an inspirational figure to motivate you, maybe you know a successful individual who doesn’t drink. Their example will be a source of energy for you. There are plenty of individuals who are very successful and tee total.

Moreover, alcohol and drugs are oftend treated as distinct entities. In reality they’re two sides of the same coin.

Most know someone whose life has been devastated by alcohol. Yet society gives it a free pass despite its destructive potential.

Quit drinking alcohol.

The truth is it brings death and disease to those who abuse it.

The benefits of quitting alcohol go way beyond physical health. While many use alcohol to relax, I felt calmer and more relaxed without it.

There are benefits of drinking alcohol in moderation – but this requires diligence. If you enjoy drinking then carry on, but if you really want to take your health to the next level, then ditch the booze. 

If you feel like alcohol is holding you back, and you need a plan to get your health back contact me about my coaching.

We’ll come up with strategies centered around diet and lifestyle changes. And once you put them into action, you’ll start to see results quickly.

But I warn you – it’s not for the faint hearted.

Quit smoking.

How I Quit Smoking Cigarettes: My Story

It’s been a while since I quit smoking cigarettes that it’s hard to remember what it’s like to smoke at all.

It’s difficult to know the exact reason I began smoking cigarettes. Up until the age of 19, I had never touched a cigarette.

All I can say is I was young, impressionable and just wanted to fit in.

I originally smoked just to try it. Then I ‘tried’ it several more times until I unwittingly made it a habit.

I would wake up following an evening of smoking feeling my throat had been clamped in a vice all night. This vicious cycle continued on for some time.

Eventually I realised smoking was only taking away and giving nothing back. For some this realisation comes too late. Fortunately, I had the realisation early on and chose to address it.

Rationalising Smoking

Millions of people smoke every day and understand the health risks associated with it.

Today tobacco companies are compelled by law to state these risks explicitly on cigarette packets: ‘Smoking kills’ or ‘Smoking lowers fertility.’ They even have pictures of lungs ravaged by smoke. Yet most people ignore the warnings.

We do this because as human beings we have our self-deception mechanism – rationalisation.

We can rationalise just about anything as long as it fits our narrative of the world. And I used to rationalise everything about smoking.

I told myself I was a ‘social smoker’:

I didn’t smoke that much – only when I drank alcohol.  The problem was I drank pretty often. And it was usually accompanied by a cigarette.

I liked the rush.

Our ego driven society wants instant gratification and resorts to the external to change the way we feel, instead of looking within.

How I quit smoking.

When your mind is controlled by the ego it’s easy to tell rationalise almost anything. Even ones perpetuating a self-destructive habit like smoking.

One day I had a rare moment of clarity. And I could see myself for who I really was and I didn’t like it.

I was a hypocrite: I had a clean diet, I lifted weights and otherwise looked after my body. So why the fuck was I smoking?

Finally, I could no longer lie to myself, look people in the eye and tell them I cared about my health.

It was time to quit smoking.

Quitting Cigarettes

I recognised smoking was simply a habit I developed. And like any habit it can be broken and replaced with a new one.

So I began my attempt(s) to quit smoking.

I’d go weeks without smoking and then have an ‘innocent’ drink. But a small amount of alcohol set the wheels in motion. It gave me cravings to smoke and before I knew it, I had a cigarette in my mouth.

The next day I’d feel terrible. Not just from smoking , but because I broke a promise to myself to quit smoking. Double whammy!

Cigarette ash tray.

I kept sabotaging my own attempts to quit smoking. Again and again. I carried on this way for months on end.

However, I did have one positive realisation after failing several times. I hated failing and feeling like a hypocrite.

In order to make dramatic changes in your life, you have to reach breaking point.

Eventually my desire to quit became so deep, I was willing to do whatever it took to succeed.

A New Strategy

This time I decided on a new strategy; I saw people using nicotine patches and wanted to try. Although, I ended up doing something very different.

I went to see a doctor and asked him to prescribe nicotine patches. I said I found it difficult to resist cravings, especially when I drank alcohol.

The doctor gave me some advice I’ll never forget. He told me I didn’t need nicotine patches. If alcohol gave me cravings then I should stop drinking temporarily. And that I would learn a lot about myself in the process.

The following evening was a Saturday night, so I decided to test out the doctor’s theory. I abstained from booze and cigarettes.

It was strange to find myself in a bar not drinking any alcohol. The cravings for cigarettes didn’t disappear, but they were greatly diminished.

Finally, I could see a way out.

I now understood habits usually have other enabling habits behind them. Like a domino effect, if you break an enabling habit you kill another habit.

My brain clearly associated alcohol with smoking. Therefore, once I quit alcohol things became easier.

My intention was to quit alcohol only temporarily. But on the journey I discovered I didn’t need alcohol in my life. Because it didn’t contribute anything positive.

I also knew being around cigarette smoke set off my cravings. So I stopped going out and hanging around with other smokers.

It was already hard enough to resist temptation. And will power only lasts so long.

It took several weeks of this before I could honestly say I didn’t want a cigarette.

It was at this point I felt I could call myself a former smoker and at the age of 26 I finally quit.

I had released myself from smoking’s death grip.

What Happened When I Quit Smoking

I exercised throughout my time smoking and thought I was in good shape. But I was just deceiving myself. Despite training hard, I still got out of breath easily.

But within a few months of quitting smoking my performance in the gym went through the roof.

Now I found I could push myself harder and longer.  Smoking severely restricts circulation.  Improved circulation = greater pump.

My skin had a scaly texture to it when I was smoking. Once I quit, my skin gradually became clearer and smoother.

My teeth were no longer stained from smoke.  My breath was fresher and my clothes didn’t stink!

Around the same time I quit smoking, I began to meditate regularly. Mediation gave me a long-lasting feeling of calm and relaxation.

This was in contrast to the transient hit of smoking, which left as soon as the nicotine rush wore off.

My anxiety levels were lower because I wasn’t trying to recover from nicotine highs.

I believing quitting smoking also release some pain and guilt. You’d feel pain and guilt if you killed another human being. And when you smoke you’re kill yourself.

Final Thoughts

In hindsight it was such a simple fix: Stop drinking alcohol to eliminate cravings for cigarettes.

Some things in life things are right in front of your face, but often you’re blind to them. It was a great lesson and made me wonder where else I had blindspots.

There was no logic in my decision to smoke. Especially when information telling me how terrible it was for my health.

However, rarely does logic enter into the equation. We rationalise away poor decisions.

I told myself I was just a social smoker to convince myself it was OK.

But as a friend of mine put it, ‘Social or full-time smoker – the lungs don’t know the difference.’

I didn’t want to play the cancer lottery.

Today I feel blessed to say I’m in incredible health. Smoking taught me the human body is an amazing and resilient organism. Although, there is a limit to how much abuse it will take.

Quitting smoking also taught me health is a full-time investment. It’s not something you do half-heartedly

Most smokers tell themselves they’ll quit one day.

Are you going to kick smoking before it kicks you?

 

Smoking death face.