If you are hoping an extended period of sobriety will restore your ability to drink like a normal person, it’s only a matter of time before you pick up where you left off. Because you’re operating under a false narrative: that you (and the way you drink) are the problem. Which is why not-drinking feels like not-participating. Punishment. Restriction.
Nobody puts Baby in a corner. For long.
Group Think Sobriety
Sobriety is an industry. A religion. A culture of one-size-fits-all philosophies and clichéd advice. We’re told it takes a lot of experience and education and training and effort. To not drink alcohol. To do what we were able to do as kids. All day. Every day. Without trying.
Sobriety has been branded as hard and complicated. We must surrender. Not just to a Higher Power. But also to the People Who Know Better. We must agree to be powerless. Again. Still. It’s just a new and different way to submit.
The alternative is to know for ourselves. Or worse. To be okay not knowing.
But we don’t do well with uncertainty. Not when it comes to our identity.
It feels safer to hide in other people’s opinions. If other people say we’re okay, then we must be okay. Right? Am I right?
The group-think mindset got us into this mess. Literally. It’s the mothership of all the problems. Defining yourself by what other people think requires you to pretend to be whoever they think you are.
And that my friend, is why drinking provides relief. That’s also why you feel lonely. Because pretending is exhausting. Plus, you don’t feel like anyone really sees you. Understands you. How could they? You’re not showing them.
Because you fear that showing your true self means your life will implode or explode. If you drop the mask, you’ll be either too awful or too awesome to handle. Maybe both.
Group Think Sobriety vs. Individual Autonomy
Here’s the weird news. This is a perception problem. The reality is you already are who you are all day every day. You can’t really pretend to be someone you’re not for long (unless you steal their identity). If you’re a high functioning individual, the weak and pathetic version of you is mostly a figment of your imagination. Long term alcohol use destroys mental health (alcohol is a depressant). Your neurochemistry is off; your nervous system is fried. Your stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts fueled by painful emotions—carefully disguised under a people-pleasing smile.
The good news is your mind will heal once you stop drinking AND start taking care of yourself—which requires being honest about what you need and want. Yes, it’s hard work. But it’s easier than what you’re doing now.
Whether you’re still drinking or trying to find a new normal without alcohol, hiding in other people’s opinions will only keep you stuck. Here are 5 behaviors to watch out for:
- Valuing other people’s advice more than your own intuition.
- Following someone else’s rules.
- Not allowing yourself to think for yourself.
- Discrediting your own opinion.
- Believing that you can’t trust yourself.
Don’t judge yourself if these default mindsets seem all too familiar. We’re hard-wired to seek safety in numbers. Since we were born, we’ve been told who we are and how to behave. For our own good. For our protection. To make sure we’re lovable. Acceptable. Respected. The first step towards freedom is owning that social acceptance is as basic a human need as food and shelter. No matter how independent we tell ourselves we are, we do need community.
But you don’t have to surrender your soul.
What’s Wrong with Group-Think Sobriety?
The problem is group-think is hierarchal. A few people make decisions for everyone. Authorities tame the masses with elitist, misogynistic and racially biased beliefs. Your shame is a product of internalized oppression. And if you stop drinking the Kool-Aid (both literally and figuratively), you’ll no longer be controllable. That’s bad for Big Business.
And also really terrifying.
The answer is to take full responsibility for yourself, and for everything you think, feel and do. Especially your fear.
You see, 99.9% of the time, fear is just a sensation that happens in response to your thoughts–not the situation. Your experience isn’t happening out there. It’s happening inside. Your thoughts about what they’ll think and what this means are wreaking havoc in your nervous system. Taking responsibility requires you to learn the difference between a fact and an opinion—a neutral circumstance vs. a limiting belief. And to realize that fear and shame are just the shadows of your own thoughts.
You can surrender control of your emotions to group-think ideals in exchange for pats on the back (or stabs–both will happen). May the odds be ever in your favor.
OR. You can give yourself permission to think for yourself.
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What is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Do you wish you drank less but find it difficult to stop once you start? Are the legal experts in your head constantly debating the problem—and what you should do? That's alcohol use disorder.
You’re not alone. Many of us have been duped into using alcohol as a consolation prize for neglecting our needs--and then criticized for becoming dependent on it. I was able to quit drinking after 30 years without AA, rehab or willpower. My energy, vitality and joy have returned. I help high-functioning drinkers experience sobriety as a superpower, not a disease.
Uncertainty is torture.
Coaching gives you the clarity and confidence to move forward.
We will determine where you are, where you want to be and what you'll need to get there.