The biggest problem with alcohol is that we use it as a crutch in social interactions. I am sometimes a victim of this. When I sense this, I stay off alcohol for a while when going for a night out.
Some develop their entire personality and social skills around requiring alcohol. Even though you are sharpening your social skills and becoming comfortable in social interactions, you're constantly drinking throughout the process; you are reliant on it.
People depend on the drink and are scared to meet new people without the buzz. Even some of the most attractive people with chest wall deformities are shy about meeting new people and socializing without drinking.
WHAT IS ALCOHOL
Alcohol is an element found in beverages like beer, wine, or spirits, and it causes the drunkenness effect. The exact chemical that causes the buzzing effect is called ethanol.
To create alcohol, the grains, vegetables, or fruits must ferment. That is when the yeast or bacteria reacts with the sugars in the food. This results in ethanol and carbon dioxide production. For example,
- Wine – made from sugar in grapes
- Vodka – from sugar in potatoes or beets
- Beer – malted barley, which is the brewer's choice grain for making beer
- Cider – produced from the fermented juice of apples
The alcohol percentage in the drink is influenced by how long the food is left to ferment.
The longer the fermentation process is, the more sugar is transformed into alcohol, causing a more increased alcohol percentage.
DRINKING CAN STOP SELF-IMPROVEMENT
Socializing is a path of self-improvement. Learning to socialize and have fun without external substances can be difficult for socially anxious people.
Learning how to have fun and feel good in your body would be best without alcohol.
If you consider yourself awkward around other people, let it be. It is not as bad as you think it is.
Everybody is a little shy and uncomfortable on the inside. To get over this, you don't need to binge drink and intoxicate yourself.
Being in the right mindset and doing a few things mentally will get you over this once and for all. It is not as hard as you may think it is.
HOW SELF-AMUSEMENT HELPED ME
When I was anxious and socially awkward due to pectus excavatum, I relied heavily on alcohol to be social in my high school days.
What helped me tremendously was an idea shared by Owen Cook from Real Social Dynamics on YouTube. It is called self-amusement. Let me explain it in simple terms.
When a person talks with somebody and says something funny, he hopes the other person will laugh, making him feel good.
Self-amusement is when you say something you think is funny and feel good in your body because it is weird. The positive energy is shared with somebody else, and they laugh at being caught up in your world.
When you're drunk, it becomes natural to do this. What you need to do when you're sober is to train yourself to perform this idea.
Let go and stop judging yourself in social interactions. When you're drunk, you naturally do this.
However, you need to train this constantly when you're sober. You can be entertaining and outgoing without alcohol.
MY EXPERIENCE DRINKING WITH PECTUS EXCAVATUM
I was drinking in high school because it was interesting, but at the time, I was into reading many self-help books. Every Friday and Saturday, I got drunk because it was fun and bonding with my friends.
I slowly realized a blur was occurring every time I was hammered. There was nothing new or growth-based that I was experiencing.
I was in my comfort zone because I was anxious and socially awkward when I wasn't drinking.
The need for growth and self-improving was a must for me because I lived nowhere near my potential as a human being.
I have since realized that I avoid using alcohol as a crutch when I feel down in social situations.
Even though I sometimes still drink when going out, I avoid drinking before socializing. I do it after I am entirely comfortable and warmed up socially. I don't feel any guilt because I don't use alcohol as a social confidence booster.
After intense periods of self-improvement and improvement of social skills, I can quickly go out, get in the flow, and pump my mood instantly.
It is like getting the same effect as being drunk, sometimes even better, while keeping my mind and social skills sharp, without having a dumb and numb weird face.
SOCIALIZING WHILE SOBER
What most people with physical and social insecurities don't understand is that being able to socialize while sober is more enjoyable.
I might do it more if being drunk was much more fun than people think. But ever since I learned to have fun being sober, I rarely do it.
You don't need any external reliance to have fun when you self-amuse yourself.
Being sober and dancing to the music I enjoy listening to in the club makes me feel amazing when I go out.
I think that sometimes alcohol kills the vibe. People seeing you have fun makes them have fun too. Positive energy is transferred, and everybody has a better time.
WOMEN WITH PE DRINKING
Most girls with pectus excavatum that I know and that I stumbled upon online think they must drink alcohol to seem attractive when they go out. This doesn't seem right, and the same principles of men also apply to women.
I am always attracted to more elegant and feminine females, not uncontrollably drunk and loud like most hammered girls in the club. I encourage you to stay off the alcohol and improve your social skills, even though it may initially feel uncomfortable.
Have great conversations and come across as a very confident, well-spirited person. I, and also most of my male friends, are impressed when a beautiful girl doesn't drink a lot to have a good time. These girls are scarce, which automatically makes them more desirable.
They are in touch with their confidence and their good spirit. You will stand head and shoulders above most other regular drunk girls because it shows that your body is your temple, and you care about it.
Males are unconsciously attracted to these girls because when you grow a baby with someone, the "soil" is ready for it.
30-DAY PECTUS EXCAVATUM NO ALCOHOL CHALLENGE
I recommend most of my clients with pectus excavatum start a new challenge called the 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge.
Only good things can come out when you do something positive for yourself. I will share four easy practical tips you can use to make this challenge successful and help you become the best version of yourself.
TALK TO EVERYBODY
When you go out, try to talk to everybody as soon as you see them. For example, start talking to the taxi driver that will transport you to the final destination or the passengers in public transport.
This will help you warm up socially, and it will feel more natural and smooth when you talk to the guy or girl you are attracted to. Don't overthink this and keep talking to everybody.
This is my favorite thing to do, and sometimes my friends make fun of me because of the banal conversations with strangers, not realizing that I am having a good time, and practicing my social skills. Never judge yourself.
There is no bad social interaction. I consistently rank every social interaction I have that I wouldn't have the courage to participate in if I wasn't drinking.
GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT
Always remind yourself: Who would have to courage to do this sober? It is scarce for people to approach and have a conversation with a sober person they are attracted to. Always give yourself credit.
Find something funny about the conversation. Self-amusement is extremely important.
If you're at a pool party without a shirt and you're sober, always joke about your sunken chest deformity if somebody asks you about it or looks at you weirdly.
You will be surprised by the positive reactions of other people. You'll seem very charismatic and fun to be around.
If you do this constantly, you will get out of your head and feel anxious. You want to reach a flow-state socializing and overwhelm your thinking mind.
That is actually what alcohol does to you, dominating your thinking mind and letting you go.
EXPECT HIGHS AND LOWS
You will always have highs and lows, but when it clicks, there is no better feeling than being sober, mentally sharp, having all that much fun, and interacting with everybody. People will be surprised when you tell them you don't drink anything.
MY THOUGHTS ON DRINKING
As a health and fitness fanatic, I am primarily concerned about helping people with pectus excavatum deformity improve their physical and emotional well-being; my general recommendation is to stay off alcohol as much as possible.
Also, this is the advice of most other people in the fitness industry. However, you probably stumbled upon articles recommending a glass of wine daily, which is fantastic for your health because it is full of antioxidants, longevity, and heart health.
I've even read an article that a glass of red wine every night promotes as many health benefits for your heart as a one-hour workout. I sometimes question whether the alcohol industry finances these articles.
ALCOHOL AND STRESS
Hunter-gatherers lived in relatively stress-free circumstances, where other than hunting and survival, there was no additional stress.
Comparatively, we live in a time when chronic stress is uncontrolled. Alcohol can effectively kill toxic stress and loneliness, which many people with pectus excavatum suffer from.
I think that alcohol offers plenty of benefits if you consume it moderately. By moderately, I mean 1-2 servings of alcohol per day for adult men and one serving of alcohol for females.
WHY DO I AVOID ALCOHOL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Ethanol, the compound which gives you a buzz, is a neurotoxin. The problem is that studies have shown that even drinking moderately (5-7 servings of alcohol per week) triples the chances of hippocampal atrophy.
That is atrophy of the brain's memory center, caused by loss of neurons and neuronal volume. It is a very vulnerable part of the brain, playing an essential role in hippocampal sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.
Because of this finding, I tend to stay off alcohol as much as possible. I advise all people with pectus excavatum to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Get out of your comfort zone, and force yourself to socialize without the need for alcohol or other substances. You'll grow more as a person and be on your path to becoming the strongest version of yourself.
Nevertheless, suppose you aren't motivated enough to do this and feel incredibly stressed and lonely.
In that case, it is okay to have a drink or two to feel better instantly. Try to drink less and less and get comfortable being uncomfortable.
TWO TIPS FOR SAFE DRINKING
DRINK A CUP OF WATER WITH EACH CUP OF ALCOHOL
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means we have to pee a lot. It stimulates water loss with urine.
You can replace the salt you lose with frequent urinating by sprinkling some salt in a glass of warm water and drinking it before you sleep.
I am a massive fan of eating salted french fries while drinking because it quickly reloads the lost electrolytes. Alcohol puts a lot of stress on the liver, which primarily acts as a recycling system for the body.
DON'T DRINK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
It can damage the epithelial cell layer lining inside the intestine. Make it a habit to eat quality fat food like cheese, nuts, or avocado.
This will slow down the insulin response from alcohol. This is something that Paul Chek preaches, and I am a massive fan of his because after I adopted his teachings on health, my well-being improved a lot.
BEER VS WINE?
My gut is irritated every time I drink beer. After researching beer, I realized that beer is essentially liquid bread. The combination of gluten and alcohol is what causes my stomach irritation.
One of the healthiest alcoholic drinks you can drink is red wine. Many people are huge fans of Pinot Noir, a top-rated red wine made from black-skinned grapes with thin skin. It is considered the best wine for your health by many.
It has high amounts of resveratrol, which helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces bad cholesterol, and may help prevent blood clots.
MY FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK
I'm not too fond of the taste of drinking plain wine. However, it is strange how my favorite alcoholic drink is mulled wine. It is incredibly healthy and easy to make.
All you need is red wine, fresh oranges, lemon, cinnamon, whole cloves, and honey. Here's an excellent recipe for making a classic mulled wine I am a massive fan of.
FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME PECTUS EXCAVATUM
I stumbled upon a post on Reddit published by Blake from Louisiana. He is a person with fetal alcohol syndrome who has no mental issues but a list of physical problems, one of which is pectus excavatum.
He listed his chest wall problem as pectus carinatum, but judging from one of the images of his chest that he shared, you can't see whether his chest is sunken or protruding.
However, after reading the post comments, I noticed that the thing that he dislikes about his chest the most is that the profile looks weird from the profile view like he has something under his shirt the entire time.
A Reddit user commented about his chest looking like pectus excavatum, receiving a lot of upvotes. I thought the same thing until I read Blake's comments.
He stated that he is very uncomfortable about chest deformity, especially when wearing t-shirts.
Some immature people made fun of his deformation, causing self-image and psychological issues.
Suppose you suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome and pectus excavatum or carinatum. In that case, I highly recommend you read Blake's story and how courageous he is in sharing his insecurities with the world.
People with pectus excavatum frequently use alcohol as a social lubricant for smoother social interactions. Even though this is normal in our society, it can sprout from a weak spot in our character.
People hate being uncomfortable around others, especially when trying to attract others.
My problem with drinking is that we try to escape reality and kill anxiety and depression for a few hours using this external substance.
Ever since I limited consuming alcohol, I started feeling comfortable around others. I highly recommend you begin a simple journey of 30 days without alcohol and see how your body and mind will feel.
When I learned to self-amuse and have fun without alcohol, I rarely drank when going out. I mostly use it to wind down from a busy day at night, drinking warm mulled wine packed with antioxidants.
If you have any questions or want to contact me, please do it in the comments below or the contact form I shared on my website. Thanks for reading!