What’s the fastest way to become a better version of yourself, both personally and professionally? @Adamlamb33, author of Better Than the Binge, believes it’s as easy as eliminating alcohol from your life.
Adam quit drinking a year ago and he’s never been happier, healthier, or more successful.
So, what would happen if you didn’t feel the pressure to drink? How can you quit alcohol without feeling like a social outcast?
If you’ve ever felt obligated to drink at parties, sports events, or after work gatherings, then this episode is for you.
Listen in to Adam to learn:
- The benefits of putting down that glass of wine
- Why even casual drinkers find it so difficult to give up alcohol
- How to determine your relationship to alcohol and test your willpower at the same time
What role has alcohol played in your life?
My father always had a drinking problem. I grew up in a household with alcohol which led to the divorce of my parents. Eventually, my father entered a rehab facility. He was there for 30 days, but in the end, they realized that he was past the point of rehabilitation.
He actually drank so much that it destroyed the frontal lobe of his brain. His comprehension was off, it didn’t really exist anymore. It was almost like he was permanently intoxicated.
It wasn’t so much how much he drank, but that he would drink every single day. He would go through a case of beer a day. He would hang out in the garage and not do anything. He wasn’t challenging his brain. Eventually, my stepmother gave up and just accepted him for what he was after so long.
Anyway, after my dad came back from rehab I realized for the first time that alcohol could really permanently wreck you. It really hit home and made me think about my own alcohol habits.
My dad is only 60 years old. He’s got a potentially long life ahead of him. I plan to live a long time, 60 years old should not be the end.
For myself, alcohol has always been a part of my social atmosphere, so I thought, “Maybe I should quit drinking, but how do I just say ‘Hey, I don’t drink anymore’?”
At the time, the only people I knew that had quit drinking were people that had killed someone in a car accident or they had three DUIs.
That wasn’t me, but I didn’t want that to be me either.
I spent a lot of time trying to think of what the benefits of alcohol were to me, but there weren’t any.
Despite that, it took me a year to quit alcohol after my dad died.
Why did it take you so long to swear off alcohol?
Quitting alcohol is hard to do without creating a lot of discomfort for yourself and those around you, and that’s what my book really addresses.
If you and I are friends and we’re hanging out having a couple of beers while we watch a game or with dinner, that creates a dynamic. If the next time we hang out I decide to order a DIet Coke while you’ve ordered a pint, the first thing you’re going to say to me is, “What happened? Why aren’t you drinking?”
I might then say, “I quit because it just doesn’t serve me.”
“The most common reaction I get is one of suspicion. It doesn’t make sense to the other person, and in many cases it even makes them feel a bit uncomfortable.”
I’ve noticed a similar dynamic with people who choose to be vegetarians or vegans.
If I’m sitting with my vegan friend and we’re at a restaurant, I’m not going to order a steak. I’d feel guilty, and people often felt the same way around me, unsure of whether they should drink in front of me or not. So, I made it my goal to create an atmosphere, or a level of comfort, that says, “Hey, it’s okay to order a drink. Do what fits in with your lifestyle, not mine.”
In fact, I still schedule meetings with people at bars because I know they enjoy drinking, and I’m happy to just be there to spend time with them, but it can be tricky to create an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable being themselves around alcohol, and that’s at the core of my book.
How much alcohol were you consuming each week before you gave it up?
A lot of what I did was centered around drinking. I’d go to tailgate parties, concerts, and spring break vacations where it would not be unusual to pound beers all day long.
I was a daily drinker so I would have a vodka or two almost every night. Right before I decided to quit drinking I remember thinking, “When was the last time I made it through the day without having a drink?” I couldn’t remember.
I definitely wasn’t getting hammered every weekend or blackout drunk, but I was drinking every day.
That’s when I thought to myself, “This might be an issue.” I’m pretty busy in the evenings when I do a lot of my work so I finally came to the conclusion that those evening drinks may be hindering my business’s growth.
What were your first 30 days without alcohol like?
I decided to quit in August of last year, right before Labor Day.
It was interesting because typically on the long weekend we’d invite a lot of family up to visit us by the lake. Aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone would come up and we’d all drink beers on the water. So that was certainly tough because I didn’t want to be a buzz kill. I knew everyone would be looking forward to that weekend.
I had also planned a trip to Las Vegas for work, so my first 30 days were actually full of social events.
It was hard, but I went back to the passing of my father and the anniversary of his death which happened to occur during those first 30 days.
Of course, when I was hanging out at a party I didn’t want people to ask, “Why aren’t you drinking?” and then have to respond, “Well, my dad died a year ago from alcohol.”
Nobody wants that, right? That would just kill the whole mood.
So instead I would say, “Hey, just doing my post-summer detox.” And everybody kind of got that.
I’ve always been into health and fitness and alcohol certainly doesn’t help you stay in shape, so people understood when I told them I was taking a bit of a break.
What’s the #1 takeaway from your new book?
“I want people to understand that is that it’s okay to drink or not to drink in any social context and that if you do decide to give up drinking, you don’t have to feel like an outcast or that you’re missing out on things. You don’t have to feel guilty, you don’t have to feel strange, you don’t have to feel weird.”
Be confident with that decision, but don’t make a big deal about it either.
The book gets really granular with that topic specifically. At a high level, it’s primarily about being present in the situation regardless of whether you’re at dinner with your wife or at a tailgate party with your best friends.
I don’t go around telling people I don’t drink, and that’s part of my strategy for avoiding those uncomfortable moments when I’m out in a social setting and people are drinking.
What are some of the benefits you experienced from giving up alcohol?
There are two main benefits that I’ve found, one is to do with myself and the other is to do with my relationships with others.
I’ve found I became sharper at solving problems and I had much more energy throughout the day. There was always a kind of a fog before I gave up alcohol and I never really understood it. It’s not something that you can really to about with other people in a regular conversation.
I’ve met others who decided to remove alcohol from their lives and the increased clarity that we all felt after giving up drinking was something we discussed.
The increased energy was another side of it. I get up and go to the gym every morning anyway, but now when I go I’m fired up, my performance is through the roof.
Then there’s the social side, or the relationship side, to not drinking.
Going to business meetings or meeting people that I really look up to where alcohol is involved, I know I’m not going to do or say anything inappropriate or stupid. Sometimes alcohol can lead to people acting goofy, silly, or inappropriate.
But without alcohol, I know that I’m ready to go and I’m confident that I can handle anything.
“A lot of people make the mistake of drinking to increase their confidence, but that’s totally the wrong approach. If you’re feeling a bit of nervous anxiety going into a social setting, drinking may temporarily dull that sensation, but it doesn’t raise your confidence or your self-esteem because you’re not performing at your best. Even worse, you’re more prone to making poor decisions.”
Once the alcohol wears off, that feeling comes right back even stronger; it’s a vicious cycle.
Who is Better Than the Binge for?
This book is for anyone who consumes alcohol on a somewhat regular basis to get a bit of an edge.
Whether it’s young folks who are in college or someone who is moving up in their career, there are too many people that just take life for granted. They come home from work every day, sit down on the couch and have a couple beers. They aren’t challenging themselves by watching TV.
But take away that alcohol and it might just make you less likely to sit on that couch, less likely to eat the crap you’re eating, less likely to feel lazy, and it might even inspire a major change in your life. I’ve seen it happen first hand.
But this book is also for anyone who has someone in their life that may benefit from giving up alcohol.
Maybe you’ve stopped drinking years ago but know someone that drinks regularly. Well, knowing their thought processes and what they’re going through can help you to become more empathetic. You can potentially become an outlet for that person to stop drinking in a safe space.
Can you share some of the negative aspects of giving up alcohol?
It’s interesting because although the final outcome is always positive, people tend to go through some negative, uncomfortable situations at the start. For example, often when people stop drinking, they find that some of their previous relationships fall apart. Their friends stop calling them.
Well, guess what? Those weren’t healthy relationships.
“Once you eliminate alcohol, you give yourself the opportunity to create healthier, happier relationships with people in your life, but if those people aren’t ready for that, it’s time to move on.”
There is also a bit of an awkward stage when you first decide to stop drinking and aren’t all that confident in your decision. You might find yourself at a social event, maybe a wedding, and you’ll be the only person there apart from the 17-year-old kid who’s toasting the bride and groom with a Diet Coke.
That can definitely feel uncomfortable, but over time you’ll become more confident in your decision to stop drinking, especially as the benefits start to kick in.
So despite some initial negative consequences, it’s really a sign that you’re changing, you’re becoming a different, but better version of yourself.
What would Adam Lamb’s challenge be to anyone listening who’s on the fence about giving up alcohol?
That’s a great question. I have friends or people who reach out to me and say, “You know, I don’t have a drinking problem. Alcohol is not a big deal.” So I respond, “Cool, try 30 days without alcohol and let me know how it goes.” It’s amazing the amount of awareness that comes from that exercise. Most people come back to me a month later and say, “Dude that was hard.”
The reason it’s so hard for these people isn’t usually because they’re addicted, it’s simply because they find themselves in a social setting where they would usually have a drink in their hand. That’s typically the hardest part.
That’s why my book is subtitled “Overcoming The Social Obligation of Alcohol.”
So for anyone listening, try going 30 days without alcohol, and realize that not drinking a beer when you get home from work is the easiest part. It’s the social gatherings that will really test your self-control.
After 30 days, send me an email and tell me what you noticed about yourself. Tell me if you were in an uncomfortable situation and how you overcame it. Or maybe you got into a comfortable situation and you fell victim to it and you ended up having a drink, that’s totally fine too. Just let me know how it went.
Email me and tell me your story, and if you want to learn more, get yourself a copy of the book.