Welcome to my The (Not) Drinking Diary Series! I’ll be chatting to people on alcohol and on life; about their sobriety, mindful drinking and/or alcohol free period.
Michael runs the awesome Sober Together movement, a 30 day challenge encouraging people to establish a habit alongside their decision to go alcohol free. There’s lots more to come from him & I found his answers so helpful & insightful. Enjoy!
Name: Michael Gallardo
Age: 31 years old
Location: San Francisco CA
1.What led you to think differently about drinking?
One night, on a weekday, I stayed out drinking until four in the morning. The problem was that I didn’t tell my girlfriend where I was. So, you can imagine how terrified she was when I didn’t come home after work. She ended up calling the local police, hospitals, friends… anyone who might know what happened to me. Meanwhile, I was out getting blacked out drunk. I eventually made it home and when I woke, my mother and girlfriend had an intervention. And when I saw with my eyes and felt with my heart how much my drinking was hurting them, how much pain it was causing them, I made the decision to never drink again. And I’ve never looked back since.
2.How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
A complete 180 after being sober for almost two years. In fact, my life has improved so much that I wouldn’t even drink alcohol if I could. And I mean that with all my heart and soul. Because living sober is one of the most courageous, beautiful and amazing ways you can possible live and experience life. I have so many things I want to do and see and accomplish that alcohol just simply doesn’t play a role in what I want to do.
3. What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your approach to alcohol shifted?
It has to be building self-confidence, believing in myself and living my life without fear. After getting sober I found that I never gave myself a lot of credit and was always looking to please other people. And slowly but surely, with a lot of work and self-love, I have been able to build myself into a very confident, successful and happy person.
4.What lessons have you learnt about life (and yourself) since your relationship with alcohol has changed?
That sobriety is only the beginning. Like one step in a million. It is truly just the start. So the most essential thing you can do once you have some sobriety is start living your life with intention. To decide what’s important, what you want to accomplish, and then start taking consistent action to get there.
5.How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
I’m pretty crazy. And it took me almost two years to get here. But I wake up at 5:30 am every morning, meditate, do some simple physical exercise (like push-ups), and then work on the sobriety community I’m building, until it’s time for work.
6. Do you have any rituals you always make time for?
Meditating, reading and physical exercise. Those three have been game changers for me and have taken my life to levels I once never thought possible.
7.What’s your favourite thing to do (hangover free) at the weekend?
Read a nice self-development book with an even nicer cup of coffee =)
8.When it comes to your own personal development, what is one thing that you’re working on or learning right now?
Essentialism and minimalism. Which is basically the pursuit of less but better. How to determine what is absolutely essential and then focus all your attention and energy in that one area. That way, you’re not going a little bit in a million different ways. You want to be the image on the right as much as possible =)
9.What is the one thing you’re obsessed with at the moment that’s making your life better?
Meditation. Because it really teaches me how to be present and live in the moment. It also teaches me how to slow down and not let my thoughts just run absolutely wild all the time. After about a month of meditating (10 minutes a day) I started noticing subtle improvements in myself and it has only been going up from there.
10. And finally, thinking differently about alcohol can be challenging and isolating, is there any advice you turned to or do you have any words of wisdom for people reading this?
Nothing outside of you will bring you true happiness. Take the time to consistently reflect and think about what’s important to you and how you want to live your life. And embrace the process. Recovery take a lot of time but it’s a beautiful journey the entire way. So let go of anything you think will bring you happiness because you already have everything you need right now to be happy.
Also, set the bar high for yourself and don’t hold back. There is nothing on the other side of fear. So go out, make mistakes and learn. There is no magic bullet for success or happiness. It is something you have to consistently work on and dedicate yourself to every day.
Follow Michael on Instagram & join his next challenge below!