On the 23rd of February 2020, I went to a party — my last real party before the virus hit.
I got drunk with vodka since I could not drink beer on a keto diet.
It was a bad idea.
I had not eaten anything, so my stomach was empty.
The next day was hell.
The alcohol had destroyed my gut flora and gave me huge digestion problems for the next 9 months.
The hangover was so awful that in that moment of pain, I saw salvation in a strict alcohol-free lifestyle.
I stopped drinking on the 24th of February 2020.
I knew I wasn’t going to go out for a while anyway due to the virus. I had also wanted to stop drinking to try out a carnivore diet.
So I cast beer out of my life.
The Next Months
The next months were a breeze.
There were no parties, hence no social pressure. I saved a lot of money and didn’t have to explain to anyone my dietary choices.
My sobriety became part of my identity.
When lockdowns began to ease out, I struggled to decide whether I wanted to go out or not.
Without alcohol, these parties weren’t events I wanted to attend.
The lockdown had given me time and space to work on my own stuff and I enjoyed it.
“Fun” in a social context was the last thing I was looking for. When I did go out, I had to force myself to.
The truth is that the lack of social relationships had transformed me into a workaholic.
I stopped socializing to chill, and started to socialize to learn.
I was obsessed with learning new stuff and reaching my goals.
Let’s be honest: I wasn’t fun for others and I wasn’t fun of myself.
The days after the party were spent in existential crisis mode trying to find out why no one had invited me to the after-party; why I didn’t enjoy my life as much as I used to despite doing what I wanted to do; and why others seemed to have much more fun than I did.
But the negative consequences tied to my exclusive relationship with water weren’t restrained to my social life.
My dating life also suffered.
And that was much more serious.
Back to when I was actively dating, alcohol was my best ally.
It made the conversation flow better and relaxed me. I was funnier.
I could not imagine dates without beer.
Now, the story had changed.
I can’t remember what was the first alcohol-free date I went to, but I had to come to terms with my own alcohol-free policy: dates were no fun.
I didn’t like them and I am not sure girls were having much fun either.
In the past, my date and I became intimate pretty quickly. It’s difficult to avoid building a connection when you get drunk with somebody.
Without beer, relationship-building suddenly took much longer.
I also had to meet many more girls before I could find one that liked me as much as I liked her.
Dates became a chore, a source of stress, and required a considerable amount of mental preparation.
I had to let loose, chill, and switch my brain from “serious, intellectual mode” to “emotional, fun mode”.
What a pain.
But it was the decision I had made, hadn’t I?
Back to Beer
In September 2021, I moved to Estonia.
I wasn’t happy with my life.
I knew I was working too much and it drained me. The numerous lockdowns had made me asocial and life was just not fun.
As I was finishing my daily 12-hour workday, I often looked back to when life felt nicer.
“What was I doing then?” I wondered.
For the most part, I was out chilling with people.
Now, my social life was almost non-existent. It wasn’t healthy.
As loneliness crept in, I knew I had to go back to some sort of social life if I hoped to make it out of the year alive.
I craved social contacts but somehow did not give myself permission to have them.
In January 2022, I decided to go back to the keto diet.
I reintroduced eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mushrooms. It went fine.
And I would lie if I said I didn’t feel better.
Then I had a date with a girl and things went well. Too well. I really liked her and became nervous.
She felt it and told me she wasn’t interested in seeing me again after our third date.
I was saddened. I felt a connection with her, but deep down, I knew she was right.
I was just too f*cking boring.
Incapable to shake off the work vibe and let loose, I wasn’t a guy I’d recommend girls to date — not in this mental state at least.
I needed to chill out, and could not afford to wait the traditional 48-hour period to let loose.
After weighing the pros and cons, I decided this health crisis was over.
I wanted my life back and overall, I wanted myself back.
So for my next date, I decided I’d have a beer.
I ordered a lagger and took a sip. It tasted nice and halfway through my glass, I was drunk.
The date was fun, conversation was flowing, and the girl and I were making out after two hours.
I was much more relaxed, much happier, and had many more fun things to talk about than if I had been completely sober.
That lone experience helped me to find myself back.
The next day, I was much more social, interested, and happier than I had been the night before.
One beer had apparently been enough to “unlock” myself back to a social mental state.
It had been the push that enabled me to let loose and have fun again.
The art now, will be to avoid using this hack too much and too often.
Hopefully, the hangover will always be there to remind me of my excesses.
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