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There is an old saying that “A lie has no legs.”
A lie has no truth, support, or foundation to stand on. Some lies are easy to see and decipher, while others, not so much.
Alcohol’s lies are more deceptive, and because of that I allowed these lies to dictate my relationship with it. Seeking the truth helped me to realize alcohol for what it is.
Here are six lies that I was able to uncover through reading Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind, during my sobriety journey. I’m sure that as I travel along this journey I will uncover more, but realizing these lies were huge for me! I hope uncovering these lies helps you as it has helped me.
- I Wasn’t Good Enough
Growing up, I sort of felt out of place. While playing basketball and other activities gave me a sense of identity and a core group of friends with whom I bonded, I always felt a little out of place outside of these environments. While I was approved of in school because I was the “good basketball player” I always felt like I just did not always quite fit in and felt awkward.
Once I started drinking alcohol, I felt like I opened a new door of “coolness” and acceptance that I had been missing out on. I could now go to that party and feel comfortable because I knew I could fit in with a drink in hand. Surely I had hit a new level of acceptance with really popular kids. Once I went to college, drinking became a whole new monster, but I was already seasoned from high school and ready for the challenge.
Alcohol gave me the fake impression that I wasn’t good enough, and all this time, I wish I could go back and tell myself that I was good enough. I didn’t need alcohol to prove to me or anyone else otherwise. I am good enough.
2. I Was More Fun and Interesting When I Drank
Sure, we all have those fun drinking stories, the one that seems to stick with us over the years and we can never live down. One of my funniest stories actually sent me to the drunk tank for the night! Jail, 0/10 DO NOT RECOMMEND!
I was NOT in fact more fun and interesting when I drank. I engaged in risky behavior that could have potentially injured me or put my life and possibly my friends’ lives in danger. Alcohol’s supposed power to give you the courage to do and try things you wouldn’t normally do sober is just the lowering of inhibitions, that innate ability to self preserve and keep us from harming ourselves. I can think of a couple of alcohol related incidents that would have changed my life for the worst had the worst possible outcomes materialized. Looking back, it is terrifying and I am thankful to be where I am today.
3. Alcohol Makes Fun Occasions Even Better
As an introvert, alcohol was a crutch I used to loosen up and connect with people. I also drank because I told myself that I was allowed to relax and enjoy the moment, and how can you truly relax and enjoy it? With alcohol of course!
I found this could not be further from the truth. While social occasions can be a source of stress for introverts like myself, I found that focusing on truly immersing myself in the moment, whether through conversation with a loved one or close friend, or simply sitting back and enjoying the moments and memories being created. Rather than focusing on how drunk and disconnected I can get, I turn to others. I watch my children as they experience things for the first time, such as watching breathtaking Fourth of July fireworks or catching their first firefly. I love creating memories around those major holidays, such as making cookies for Santa and helping to create a wonderful holiday dinner with my family. Alcohol is not needed!
4. Drinking Alcohol is Normal and Everyone Does It
It might feel like it, especially in certain environments. In high school, it seemed like the “in kids” drank and partied, with a few even dabbling in hard drugs. (Yikes.) In college, I felt like that ratio increased and most kids drank alcohol…but thinking back, there were a few who did not, but they seemed to be few and far between.
After college, my early adult working life was filled with happy hours and club hopping. Making and keeping friends seemed to revolve around a tamed down version of college shenanigans, with a sense of responsibility due to having to “get up for work in the morning.”
Although it seemed like everyone was drinking, obviously not everyone was. I find that now that I am open and honest about my sobriety, I run into others who also do not drink or never drank….and there are way more people than I originally realized!
…Some no longer drink, whether they outgrew it or had a problem with alcohol and decided to stop.
Some don’t like the taste of alcohol.
Some were never interested in drinking. (I wish this was me!)
Some were cautioned about alcohol and the warning stuck with them.
Some never drank because of religious or personal convictions…the list goes on, but the biggest takeaway is more people do not drink than we realize!
5. Drinking Alcohol is a Rite of Passage
There are many rites of passage we go through in life. Learning to drive and getting your driver’s license….graduating high school, then possibly college, and getting your first job. For some of us, getting married and becoming parents is also a rite of passage.
Alcohol, however does not need to be one of them. What purpose does alcohol truly serve? Why is it so important to know how many shots you can take while keeping your cool? What bragging rights do you gain from being able to “handle your liquor” and what the heck does that really mean anyway? Think about it! Do you really need to be proud of how well you can handle poisoning yourself with a toxin and carcinogen?
All rites of passages are big experiences and turning points in life that push you into a new way of experiencing it. With earning your driver’s license, you realize you have a new freedom that comes with a huge responsbility. Earning a degree opens new possibilities for following your dreams and goals as well as your career. Becoming a parent brings a new human being into your life and with that comes a huge responsibility. How does alcohol fit into any of this in terms of important life milestones?
6. You Can Stop When You Want
This is the biggest lie of my life, especially considering that I was predisposed to having alcohol dependencies based on family history! Yes, some people think nothing of occasionally enjoying a glass of wine with dinner or after work. I however found it so hard to simply stop drinking, especially once I started. Enjoying a rum and coke turned into throwing back 5 or 6 drinks, with a few extra shots snuck in on a nightly basis. I found it hard to stop when I wanted to. I felt chained to alcohol.
This lie, that I can stop when I want, empowers me everyday now. Instead of stopping, I remind myself everyday, for the past 3 plus years, that I choose not to drink. I am not allowing alcohol to enter my life today, so there is no reason to have to stop, because I did not start.
What lies did you uncover about alcohol? Share with us below!