Alcohol is often synonymous with a busy life and as someone who started my first business at the age of 24 in the 1990s, in the heavily male dominated insurance industry, I am familiar with this lifestyle. Caught up in the pressure of trying to close deals and build the business while keeping up with my male peers at alcohol networking events and industry conferences, alcohol has naturally permeated my day-to-day.
But times are changing and wet or dry movements like One Year No Beer and Sober Sisters are starting to gain traction as more and more people reevaluate their relationship with alcohol and question the impact it has on their health and relationships in the future. their personal life and at work.
I’ve battled unhealthy weight gain and anxiety throughout my career as an entrepreneur, which hasn’t been helped by being surrounded by alcohol. And as a 48-year-old female, health is at the forefront of my change, with studies showing that women are more prone to alcohol-related health problems even when consuming small amounts.
After thinking a bit about why I drink, I concluded that it wasn’t necessary in my life. So after going in and out of being sober a few times, in October 2022 I finally made the decision to cut alcohol out of my life. Here are the benefits of being a sober CEO.
Boosted brain power (and sleep!)
Without alcohol, my sleep and mental clarity are much better. I can think clearly and make quicker decisions. In the past, even if I only drank on weekends, I wouldn’t fully recharge until mid-week, which isn’t ideal when you need to be in top shape all the time when driving different activities.
Since choosing to be sober, I feel great and know that every decision made in business and life is made with clarity of mind.
Better stress management
Inevitably, stress can permeate business (and life). And while alcohol can often be used as a crutch or coping mechanism to get over it, I’ve found that stress is much easier to deal with sober.
You can often feel anxious when you drink, and worrying too much about something can amplify the problem, making it seem bigger than it really is. I often spent Sunday evenings overwhelmed and stressed by the prospect of next weeks meetings, but that feeling has faded since I stopped drinking alcohol. Now I support myself much more and have confidence in my decisions because my head is clear and my mind is sharp.
Properties and purposes
Be confident in your decision to make the switch rather than apologizing and try to change your vocabulary. Instead of saying “I can’t drink,” admit it and say “I don’t drink.” If you feel bad about not drinking, everyone else will feel bad about you.
One of the best things I did was commit to the One Year No Beer challenge. Participation helped positively reinforce my decision to go dry and also held me accountable. It’s also a great opportunity to use your sobriety to raise money for charity.
I think companies are the slowest to move in terms of wet or dry lifestyles, due to the association between alcohol and forged relationships. But not everyone can or wants to drink.
As a workplace leader, encourage people to be open about their choices not to drink, and consider adding more activities outside of drinking for work social and team bonding sessions. We’ve moved on to walking or hiking meetings if we want to bond or solve a work challenge. Escape rooms can be fun too. Work drinks still exist, of course, but more people have come forward with alternative options.
I definitely struggled a bit at first to adjust from being the “funniest” one in the room to being comfortable saying no and showing my peers that I can enjoy my alcohol-free time. If anything, I walk away with better conversations and am able to build stronger relationships as a result.
Remember it is a process
If you find yourself falling off the bandwagon, don’t view it as a failure. Instead, think of it as the process of laying the groundwork for when you’re ready to commit 100% to the dry lifestyle. Change doesn’t happen overnight and for many industries, alcohol will always play a huge role in work social, particularly in the business world. But you will never regret getting sober, give it a try and watch your business thrive!
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