By Jimmy Warden
A consumption problem
According to a 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health in the United States, 58.7 percent of people reported using alcohol, tobacco, or other illicit drugs to relieve stress.
According to the CDC, approximately 80% of people consume caffeine every day.
The 2020 population was reported at 329.5 million.
That means almost 198 million people were using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs to relieve stress. It also means almost 264 million people were using caffeine on the regular.
That’s a massive amount of people.
The problem with all that consumption is dependence. The body relies on caffeine for the early morning wakeup and task completion throughout the day. After all, it does enhance focus!
The body also becomes dependent on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other substances to release stress.
Not only does the body become dependent on all those substances.
So does the mind.
The mind starts talking to you. It tells you you need caffeine to keep going. It tells you you need a drink or smoke to calm down.
The more that feedback loop is fed, it becomes a habit. Relying on those habits tricks the body and mind into dependency.
Once you’re dependent, you’re hooked.
When you’re hooked, you can end up in a hole. At that point, it’s difficult to claw your way out.
Both body and mind are entrenched in the trap of dependency.
If this sounds like you, keep reading. There’s more for you.
Enter Sober October
Sober October is a challenge of sobriety for the entire month of October. It’s a challenge I heard about in 2018 on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Joe and his friends engage in the challenge to push their bodies and minds to the absolute limit.
That challenge enticed me, so I gave it a try.
The month was brutal. It was a battle of two voices in my head every day.
C’mon man, have one small cup of coffee. You need it.
No, I don’t. I just think I do. This headache blows, but I’ll push through.
Have a beer, dude. You deserve it.
No, you don’t. It’s Tuesday.
Man, today sucked. I’ll take a puff of pot.
Don’t do that, man. You’ve already come this far.
That war waged itself in my mind for 31 days.
But I did it.
I completed the challenge. Twice since I first heard about it.
The craziest part, I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world.
4 Ways Sober October Unlocks Personal Growth
1.) Your self-awareness increases
The main reason why people indulge in bad habits is they’re on autopilot.
What was once a conscious decision became an unconscious decision. Every time the choice got made to indulge, it casted a vote to become the type of person who engages in that habit.
Participating in Sober October opened my mind to who I was and what type of decisions I made.
I realized I was on autopilot more than I thought. Thoughts popped up each time I wanted a strong cup of coffee, a cold craft beer, or a hit of herbs. But this time…
I was aware of it.
I was aware of it because I set out on the conscious choice not to partake. To go against my personal grain and do something different.
I understood myself at a higher level as a result.
I understood that I reached for coffee because I believed I needed it to be my best. I understood that I reached for a beer on a Friday night because it would be a great way to unwind after a long week. I understood that I reached for a hit of weed to relieve momentary, daily stress.
2.) Your grit increases
Because I wasn’t partaking in the normal habits I had developed, I had to make drastic changes. These modifications let my grit muscles flex.
Grit is what it sounds like.
Clenching your teeth, digging your feet in, and fighting tooth and nail for your goals.
The entire month, I was gritty when the war of words appeared in my mind. I was gritty when my body was physically fatigued, and I pushed through without caffeine.
Exercising grit every day made me mentally and physically tougher. I had evidence that I could do difficult things. I had evidence that I was more capable than I gave myself credit for.
I had established a new sense of who I was.
3.) Your mindset changes
My mindset changed because I flexed my grit.
Doing difficult things helped me change my outlook on who I was and what I could do.
I learned I could take on challenges I put my mind to. I learned I didn’t need anything to be my best.
I just needed me.
People have self-limiting beliefs because they haven’t been willing to push themselves past their current limits. Those beliefs diminish the more you engage in challenges.
4.) Your confidence grows
My confidence growth was the sum of all the other areas of personal growth. My self-awareness increase, grit strengthening, and mindset change all led to a growth in confidence.
People lack confidence because they don’t take on challenges. People don’t tell themselves how great they are because they feel like they don’t deserve it.
That can change with Sober October.
How you can unlock your personal growth
Take on Sober October. Plain and simple!
It doesn’t have to be full-fledged, cold turkey off of everything.
Make it work for you.
If you do, I promise you’ll grow as a person.
Links to References