This is an edited extract of The Social Rebellion by Maz Compton. Available now.
There will always be humans wherever you go on this planet. So best you figure out how to handle them well. Some are kind-hearted creatures, and others are not. Here is a list of common reactions people will have when you are alcohol free and my advice on how to manage your thoughts and respond well. Remember - life is 10% what jerks will say to you and 90% how you kick ass with your response.
Q: Did something happen?
Thought: Yes, something amazing happened, I rewired my brain and realised I don’t want to drink and I feel alive and free and happy and sorry for you because you’re stuck in the trap.
What you say: Nothing happened, I am just having a break/I want to lose a bit of weight/I’m trying it out/My friend dared me.
Q: Did you have a problem?
Thought: Yes, I had a brain problem where I didn’t realise I had made subconscious choices to endanger my life and now I have awakened to this new sense of being and it’s so awesome.
What you say: No problem, I just want to have a break. Do you have a problem?
Q: When will you start again?
Thought: Well, I can’t think for you, but my thought would be - I doubt I will drink again.
What you say: I’m not sure, but you’ll be the first to know when I feel like having a drink. For now, I am doing 31 Days alcohol free.
Q: Why don’t you just have one?
Thought: I don’t want any, so why would I bother putting one glass of poison into my body?
What you say: I challenged myself to do zero drinks for 31 days and I want to achieve that, so none is good, thanks.
Q: But it’s my .... insert selfish celebration here ...
Thought: Why is this all about you, you’re a selfish human.
What you say: I’m here celebrating with you, let’s dance/start a conga train/do the limbo/anything but shots. I am here to have a good time and I can do that without drinking.
Q: Why won’t you just have one?
Thought: We have already covered this but you must be too drunk to remember the question you just asked me a minute ago- sigh.
What you say: I could do it if I wanted to, but I don’t want to, my promise to myself is too important.
Q: Oh, so you’re too good for us now?
What you say: Not at all, I have decided to go alcohol free, not stop being friends with you. Our relationship is stronger than our drinking habits, surely? Why don’t catch up and go for a run/gym session/brunch/trampoline park excursion next week and do a quality catch up.
Q: Does this mean I can’t drink around you?
Thought: I wish you would stop too. I wish you knew what I knew.
What you say: If I feel uncomfortable, then I’ll go home, but you carry on as you are. I’m not asking you to stop, I’m just asking you to respect my decision.
Q: You’re so boring you know?
Thought: I’m sure we are in the same place right at this moment in time, so if I’m your mirror, you’re boring.
What you say: I’m sorry you feel that way. I haven’t changed as a person, just made one simple choice to go alcohol free. And I’d like to believe that I am much more than the sum total of drinks I’ve consumed. What would be great as my friend, would be if you could support my decision.
Q: What are you going to do every weekend?
Thought: Not be hungover, not make bad decisions, not damage my brain and my body. I’ll get up earlier, be healthier, experience life through a new lens, treat myself with care, grow, learn, evolve, be enriched… shall I go on?!
What you say: I’ll probably get up heaps earlier and make the most of the day. I have made solid plans for the weekend coming up, in fact, I’m busy doing new things so I am excited to see how that plays out.
Q: Did you join a cult?
Thought: Did I?
What you say: No, I’m not a Scientologist.(Unless you are a Scientologist, and if you are well, ok).
Q: What’s wrong, why aren’t you drinking?
Thought: Ok well first, nothing is wrong if I’m not drinking, wecan probably start with what is wrong in your life that you feel the need to highlight my personal choices. But you can’t really say that, can you? Or can you. I didn’t.
What you say: Look, all I’ve said is, ‘I’m just having a month off’ …Oh hey, love your shoes, where did you get them?People love talking about themselves, I love asking questions. Deflect the conversation to another topic.
Q: Are you pregnant?
What you say: Nope/ No, I’m not pregnant, I’m just not drinking.
Thought: Yep (if you are - Congratulations!).
What you say: Yep/ Nope.
You could say that you’re not pregnant, but you’re doing the‘Pregnancy Diet’ (I’m not sure how well this will work for a bloke).
The Pregnancy Diet is something I have often thought about conceiving (couldn’t help myself) with all that spare time I have. I’m kidding, I’m writing a book for goodness sake. But I did come up with this gem.
The Pregnancy Diet
A lot of my friends have been pregnant, it’s just a thing that happens when you turn 30 or so – or, if you grow up in church, sometimes way sooner. During pregnancy, you are advised by doctors and health practitioners to steer clear of certain foods and drinks - such as alcohol,caffeine and deli meats - for the optimum care of the super cute human you are growing in your guts. Of course, I shouldn’t need to point it out, but just to clear, drugs are obviously a massive no-no also. Anyhow, I wondered what it would look like if we treated our bodies like this all the time. Why is it, that growing a human inside of you, is enough to stop you from causing damage to your body, yet you - beautiful, unique, complex you - aren’t a good enough reason?
Finding a reason bigger than you, as we learnt earlier, is a fundamental key to success inhabit changing. Making your future self that reason, is a worthy bigger reason. So, what if we treated ourselves with the same self-care we use for our unborn child, what would that look like? The Pregnancy Diet, might be a wellness trend soon; and if it is, you read it here first!