For some drinkers, “enjoy responsibly” is a contradiction in terms

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If you’ve struggled with your drinking, you’ve probably wrestled with the question, “Can I learn to drink in moderation?” Society would have us believe that it’s not only possible but it’s what most respectable people already do. We’re told to “enjoy responsibly,” but it’s an open question as to what that means in practice.

Moderation seems like a reasonable goal. If you want to have your cake and eat it too, just decide to drink one or two and stop before bad things happen. No problemo. …


Or be miserable 90% of the time

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One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I’ve picked up in the last few years boils down to this: For success and happiness, learn to love the doing, not the getting.

This one perspective shift has radically changed the way I work and live my life.

I used to believe true happiness was found in achievement. I deferred any feelings of gratification to that future time when I finally reached a lofty goal.

I’d think things like: I’ll be happy when I get that promotion; Once I’m married my life will be better; I won’t be such a loser once…


For a more fulfilling life, invest in yourself

A group of women doing yoga on a beach
A group of women doing yoga on a beach
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I’m writing this in my insanely soft and comfortable new bed. As far as beds go, this thing is the bee’s knees. After years of putting it off, I finally retired the janky bed and mattress that were already way past their prime when I bought them years ago. No more back pains, weird creaking, and a discolored mattress that dips in the middle. Major upgrade.

But when it came to purchasing my new setup, I struggled with the idea of dropping so much money. It’s not like the old bed was broken — just worn out and sad. And…


How to regain sanity in a screen-obsessed world

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We live in the era of fast-food media. It’s quick, cheap, and easy to overindulge. For a lot of people, a screen is the first and last thing they see each day. Leaving the house without a phone can feel like leaving without pants.

But as amazing as technology has been for our society, it’s brought with it some undesirable consequences. Ironically, despite living in a hyper-connected world, it’s now easier than ever to feel alone. Cases of depression and loneliness are becoming a new pandemic thanks in large part to our media habits. We are constantly bombarded with ads…


The benefits of the lifestyle go well beyond aerobic fitness

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I roll out of bed on a frigid January morning. It’s still dark. I throw on my running gear with extra layers, gloves, and a beanie. There’s frost on the ground. I can see my warm breath as I step outside and get hit by the wall of cold.

This is not an environment I enjoy. My body screams its desire to go back inside and hibernate through winter. But I press on into the dark air, steady my pace and breath, and am soon serene.

Like most runners, I run because it’s good for my physical health. But what…


Sentence simplifying tips that keep readers focused on your message

Woman writing on blank journal page with a black pen
Woman writing on blank journal page with a black pen
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Bad writing is most noticeable at the sentence level. Every clunky phrase and confusing clause rings out like a broken kazoo. The quickest way to repel readers is to write poorly constructed sentences. No matter how good the idea is, the message gets lost if you serve it up in a word salad.

As a teacher, I’ve seen my share of cringy writing from students. But there is no shortage of equally bad writing on the professional level, and it’s rampant online. …


The extent of its financial impact may surprise you

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We all know that heavy alcohol addiction can ruin someone’s health, and that includes financial health. A severe alcoholic will spend their last dime chasing a high that will never be enough. They will neglect bills and rack up debt so they can continue to drink. In some cases the damage is so bad that they end up homeless, begging for change to buy rotgut vodka and stave away withdrawal.

But that’s probably not your situation. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be an alcoholic to suffer from alcohol’s financial impact. Even if you consider yourself a social drinker, someone who…


When you learn to stop escaping life, you will find it is much richer

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We all wish we could mentally check out some days. Sometimes days run together without excitement. The minutiae of everyday life, all the little tasks that must be done to keep ourselves fed, clothed, and safe from the elements are often exhausting. Then there are the major events that cause us additional pain and uncertainty: a broken-down vehicle, sudden unemployment, a nasty breakup. With so many responsibilities, stresses, and disappointments, is it any wonder that humans enjoy the escape that drugs and alcohol can temporarily provide?

Why we like to escape

The human brain is an amazing organ. It has allowed us to do incredible…


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Some alcoholics hit rock bottom at terminal velocity. There’s no question that drinking ruins everything good in their life. They lose jobs, relationships, health, even their sanity. For these drinkers, dire consequences present an ultimatum: get sober or find an early grave.

Many others, however, never hit rock bottom at all. In fact, the drinkers described above represent a small minority of problem drinkers. The real danger of alcohol abuse resides in what I call gray area drinking. Sometimes called high-functioning alcoholics, these drinkers can avoid the most devastating consequences of their addiction. They maintain employment, keep relationships afloat, and…


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“Live life one day at a time” is arguably the most commonly used recovery mantra. You hear it all the time. It’s in the recovery literature. It’s in movies. It’s stitched into decorative throw pillows and slapped on coffee mugs. But what does it actually mean? Perhaps a better question: does living this way help at all, or is it just another platitude devoid of any practical use?

The unending present moment

The concept of living life one day at a time is not new. Alcoholics Anonymous didn’t coin the phrase, though they did popularize it. ODAAT has been taught as a spiritual concept…

Mike Ryan

Freelance writer and teacher based in Lafayette, LA. Learn more at openwellwriting.com and picklewisdom.com

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