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Alcohol: To Drink or Not to Drink - My Personal Story

I recently decided not to drink alcohol anymore. Why? Read on to find out more but in short, I feel - and am -  SO MUCH better without it!  No I didn’t have a drinking problem that I needed to address. I am simply a better human without alcohol, better looking, and much quicker when I’m not drinking. This is my disclaimer, if I feel like having a drink, I absolutely will and I also don’t feel like it. Anyways, hopefully you’re confused, let’s unpack all of this a little more…

pouring red wine into a wine glass


  - The Internet

Before I start, it's crucial to establish that I won't impose my choices regarding alcohol on anyone else. My aim is to share my own personal insights that might make you also stop and ask yourself about the pro’s and cons of drinking alcohol. 

When I started my journey as a personal trainer, I was simultaneously bartending to make ends meet – shaking Martinis, stirring Manhattans, and pouring pools full of liquor until the punters dove in. The effects of alcohol were there, right in front of me and they came back in droves for more! It looked like fun… and it was! 

Roughly 10 years ago I read “Brain Food” by Dr. Lisa Mosconi. She recommended half a glass of wine for women and a glass and half of wine for men everyday for brain health. Sounded good to me! I kept it to half a glass a day at dinner for about 6 months in order to be fair to my wife. This was the first time I really organized my alcohol consumption and let me tell you based on what I know now, not drinking at all is much easier than half a glass an evening. Still, half glass life was nice and great on a cognitive as well as physical level. “Brain Food” was phenomenal, possibly worth a re-read, it is the food bible for the brain in my opinion. 

It is unclear to me whether or not that was the beginning of a new found awareness towards drinking, but as I type this, it sure feels that way. Although let me say, in the time between reading that book until January 1st, 2024,  I had my big nights out! I have definitely slipped and fallen captive to alcohol  -oh my, have I slipped -from hilarious to embarrassing moments. Life happens and we all fall occasionally, what’s important is that you get back up again. Cliche I know, but it’s true.

Another big shift in my drinking, came in 2020 when the world shut down for COVID-19. Every bar in Manhattan was closed and my side hustle as a bar tender with its supplemental income was gone. That part was fine, I had been extremely busy as a personal trainer for a couple of years at that point and the pandemic was the perfect shove out of the bar. 

One thing the pandemic was for a lot of us was boring, but if you know me, I refuse to be bored, a great woman I know always told me, “If you’re bored you’re boring.” Words to live by. Anyhow I decided to get busy! I started a book club, online group zoom workouts and my personal favorite, I decided I was going to break The Guinness Book of World Records 24 Hour Pull-up Record which at that time stood at just over 7,600 pull-ups. In my head that meant no drinking, a healthy diet and intense workouts to say the least. 

As I trained and noticed how clear my mind became and how well my body performed I was convinced I would never drink again. I slept better, I had more energy, I retained information quicker and easier as I read, but my favorite part was how clear the dreams were. My dreams were so close to real life I had to question whether they really happened or not. I was able to wake up, usually around 2:30am when a thought came to my head and work. Easily able to fall back asleep or go and workout if I felt the urge. 

I did that for entire year and made it up to about 5,000 pull-ups before my shoulder started to bother me and I needed to slow my training down. Slower training also meant a slower mind and less efficient body, which then became less discipline and a, “I can drink here and there while my shoulder heels.” That went on for a couple of months before I was attacked in a bar at a golf course,  after what had been a pleased day of golf.  A drunk racist man who must have thought I picked up his ball or something came at me. In the act of defending myself I put him in a headlock whilst I waited for security, and tore my f*cking bicep. Excuse my language, but that one was tough for me. From 5,000 pull-ups in a day to zero. 

Now what ? I can’t push, I can’t pull, I can’t even carry groceries with my right arm. I am lucky it was only a slight tear and no surgery was necessary. The only obstacle was time. Even though the incident was not my fault ( even got free golf on Sunday’s for a year) I could not help but wonder whether the Guinness Beers I’d had on the course that day hindered my judgement and or performance. I closed out at the bar and it was time to start making all of the right decisions. I stopped drinking and started running. I had no upper body workout capacity, but my legs were fine and I always wanted to run a marathon, so it was the birth of my marathon running chapter.

Fast forwarding to now, I have been running for just over a year with 3 marathons under my belt; two New York City Marathons and one Big Sur, California Marathon. My bicep is stronger than ever and you can count the amount of drinks I’ve had in that period of time on two hands.

This most recent holiday season absorbs the majority of my alcohol consumption in 2023. December 8, 2023 - January 1, 2024 I felt as if I had an excuse to indulge. Although looking back on it now, I disagree with my rational. I do not have a drinking problem, but I know what having a problem looks like and I know that it is 1,000,000% possible for me to be that person if I am not careful because it’s there inside me, calling my name. However I choose to beat that monster down with commitment to the plan.

Alcoholism runs deep in my family and it was a rough holiday season for the Norton team. I will not go into any more detail than that. Just know, for the sake of my friends and my family I have very little interest in alcohol these days. Those of you following my 2024 transformation have seen how I let my guard down over the 2023 holiday season and I have the photos to prove it. The side by side comparisons are night and day and I have no desire to meet that other guy again. I am currently transforming into a new version of myself, on a new planet in an alternate universe. There can be only one and I am burning every previous version of myself alive. Sorry if that sounds dark. I promise you it isn’t. Think of The Phoenix. 

before and after of a black personal trainer with muscles

In closing; I’ve had the insight in to a great comparison of what it feels like to drink or not to drink. I choose not to drink. Your choice is yours alone. 

The life I have chosen to lead is just better when I do not drink. It is a series of choices nothing more. I want to have a glass of wine, but I know I will not sleep as well. I would love a beer, though I know I will wake up puffy and inflamed the next morning, I like looking my best. I would love a tequila shot, yet you can bet my brain is not going to fire as quickly as it would have had I not. I want a Martini but that’s a short lived tini-tiny pleasure compared to the amazing dreams I am going to have and live. 

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”

- G.K. Chesterton 

Kato 🦅

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21 Feb
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As someone who comes from a family where alcoholism runs deep as well, I admire your choice. I have also made the conscious decision to break the cycle and I find that to be my motivation so that my kids don't need to experience what I have. Good luck to you on your journey and continue to let your light shine.


20 Feb
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Always inspiring us 💪🏾

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