Alcohol. It’s been around in one form or another for 10,000 years, and has remained inextricably intertwined with almost every major culture that the world has produced. The appeal doesn’t even seem to be limited to humans amongst primates – monkeys love it too. People who declare themselves “teetotal” are often regarded with some suspicion, as if they’ve just sprouted an extra head. There is clearly some deep-seated itch lurking in the nether region of our hindbrains that alcohol just seems to scratch.
For me, and I may be projecting here based on my own experience, it strikes me that the main appeal of this ubiquitous substance is in its socially disinhibitory (fuck you spellcheck, that’s a word if I say it is) qualities. By suppressing activity in the frontal lobe, our reason and inhibitions are lowered, resulting in increased sociability, confidence, and drunken hookups. After all, who doesn’t want to be a chattier, more daring version of themselves, bowling into large groups of people and effortlessly being the centre of attention? It is an introvert’s wet dream, tapping into a deep seam of extroversion that had previously been denied, only observable in those possessed of its enviable properties from afar with covetous gaze.
There is a “golden zone” of inebriation, when inhibitions are lowered, yet one is still sufficiently in control to be making conscious decisions directing ones actions. In my own case, amazing feats of social bravado and braggadocio were performed whilst in this zone. Totally unconcerned, I could saunter into the middle of a group of 5 girls, and dominate the conversation, effortless holding court whilst meting out generous portions of jocularity to all concerned. I could stalk the fringes of the dance floor in a predatory fashion, before swooping in on my intended prey, proffered hand engaged with their willing grip, a flawless twirl bestowed upon them, before lips locked in a passionate clinch, all in less time than it took to even conceive of the deed.
However, this golden zone more often than not proved elusive. Sometimes, so eager was I to find it, that I would consume alcohol at such a rate that I would completely overshoot, reducing myself to mute insensibility, unable to even string a coherent sentence together, yet still in possession of just enough awareness to realise the state I was in, and crippled with the resultant self-consciousness. For some reason, whenever I found myself in this condition, the only possible solution that occurred to me was: “I know what will fix this problem. I must drink myself out of my drunkenness.” Logic at its finest, Aristotle would have been proud. This thought was usually swiftly followed by an attempt to rid the shelves of the bar of all of their contents in the shortest time possible, and before I knew it, I would have consumed the equivalent of a litre of whiskey and spent £300, with the resultant 3 day hangover and depression. Not to mention potentially waking up with a 5 in my bed who thought all her Christmasses had come at once. Indeed, despite giving me the ability and disinhibition to effortless pull 7s and 7.5s, the very act of doing so when reflected upon the following day would erode my inner game, as I knew that I had shot way beneath my own level, and let myself down.
I tried on any number of occasions to have “a few drinks” – it never worked. If I’ve learned anything about myself in my 31 years on this earth, it is that I am an “all or nothing” character.
And so, wearied of the physical, mental and financial costs of my uncontrollable drunkenings, I arrived at the decision to give up drinking about 6 weeks ago. In the weeks following this decision, rather than feeling better, I found myself actually regressing in terms of self-confidence. Without realising it, since the age of 16 when I first started drinking, I had been relying on my weekly binges to provide an opportunity to truly “be myself”, to take the brakes off my self-restraint and allow myself to really cut loose. The person who I was Monday to Friday was but a pale imitation, a shadow or spectre of the glorious individual that I knew I had the capability to be if I could but find the “golden zone” at the weekend. I did not push myself in social interactions, didn’t take opportunities to speak to girls, held myself in check without even realising, simply because I knew that I could blast it all away come Saturday night.
Suddenly, robbed of this mental safety net, I became disquieted and out of sorts. There was nowhere left to hide any more. I, and I alone, the sober version of myself with all of my self-doubt, was responsible from this point onwards for the success or failure of all of my social interactions with women. There was no easy way out. The identity that I had formed over the years, that was intermeshed with alcohol, was denied to me, and initially I quailed in the face of the situation. What if I couldn’t do it? What if this marked the end of my development, and I’d reached my optimal level?
As I’ve learned to do in my latter years however, I suppressed the urge to panic. I tried, as best as I could, to put these thoughts to the back of my mind, and continue to do the positive self-developmental activities with which I fill my time these days. I lifted weights, worked on my projects, studied and indulged my hobbies. Indeed, I actually found myself with a lot more time on my hands to partake of these activities now that I was no longer losing half of each week to the deleterious effects of booze.
And the world did not end. I did not retreat several years in my self-development back to a more beta version of myself. After a few weeks, I found that I was developing the courage to push social interactions further than I had ever done before. I was opening complete strangers everywhere and radiating confidence and value. The meeting with Steve Jabba came at exactly the right moment, and now that I know what is possible with sheer, naked confidence and self-belief, has provided the catalyst I needed to spur me on to the next level.
The best part of it all is that I am now able to give myself full credit for the actions I take. It is me, not the effects of some ingested substance, that is achieving this new found social success. A positive feedback loop has been created, whereby each new reference point attained serves as a base for pushing myself on to the next. Without even having to consciously make an effort to do so, I’ve started complimenting pretty girls to their face, without even a hint of self-consciousness. To some, it may not sound like much, but who out of anyone you know has the confidence to see a girl they find attractive and tell her to her face, without any attempt to conceal their true intentions in case they receive a negative response?
Having made the decision to only pursue girls who literally blow me away with their attractiveness and act in a purely authentic fashion, I’ve still not yet found the courage to march up to a 9.5 in broad daylight and make my best attempt at hitting on her – indeed, I don’t even think I’ve seen a 9.5 in the last week they’re so few and far between! But for the first time in my life, I know in my bones that it’s only just around the corner. I’ve got a date with a girl who I consider to be an 8.5 lined up for next week, but upon showing her picture to several of my friends, they were absolutely blown away, saying she was easily a 9 or 9.5. Of course it’s only my own opinion that matters, but I haven’t even felt the slightest flicker of apprehension about the prospect of meeting up with such a high quality girl, sober, and having to push the interaction and sexually escalate – I know now that I am capable of it.
When there was nowhere left to hide, I came through with flying colours, despite all my misgivings. And there’s no reason to think that you wouldn’t too if you gave yourself the chance. Take away the alcohol crutches. See what you, and only you, are capable of, if only you permit yourself.