I found my own freedom from the “do more, be more” mindset and the alcohol that seems to make the hustle easier, and now I’m here to share words of encouragement with you.
Cozy up with some tea for my reflections on finally, blessedly, living and loving life by simply figuring out the next right thing.
reformed people-pleaser, former gray-area drinker, and Senior Certified This Naked Mind Coach.
This is isn’t the typical post in the alcohol-free space calling BS on the ‘alcoholism’ narrative. I say narrative because that’s exactly what it is. A narrative. From dictionary.com a narrative is: a spoken or written account of connected events; a story. To which people would argue—and are likely arguing with this post now—No it’s not, it’s a disease! Yep, a disease narrative. People leave off the narrative part which significantly impacts the meaning, no? But that’s not what this post is about. This time. I will happily debate the disease vs. behavioral topic another time. With plenty of research and science to support how it is in fact a narrative not a disease.
If you’re fired up over my claim that alcoholism is not a disease it’s a narrative, I invite you to ask a few questions and come to your own conclusions, do your own research! Or just skip to the next paragraph to see what this post really is about. 1) Why isn’t any other addiction considered a disease? 2) Why aren’t people who are hooked on cigarettes, heroin, social media, porn, sugar etc called cigaretteaholics? Heroinaholics? Sugaraholics? Pornaholics? For real, what’s the difference?
Today, I’m not interested in debating the facts. Today, I want to know how you feel. What I mean is how do you feel when you read I’m not an alcoholic and neither are you? Intrigued? Excited? Cautious? Lighter? What exactly do you feel in response to reading those words? Is it a better feeling than the one you experience when you consider the opposite statement? If you say to yourself right now, go ahead do it right now, say: I am an alcoholic. What do you feel in response to that? Is it the same feeling or a different feeling as the previous? Which statement do you prefer strictly based on how you feel? Does it feel better to say to yourself “I am not an alcoholic?”
If that answer is yes it feels better to say I am not an alcoholic then I have great news for you! You are, in fact, not an alcoholic! Congratulations! You no longer have to spend precious time and energy wondering if it’s true or not because quite simply, it’s not. Just like that.
I know, I know. I hear you now saying that’s too easy. It can’t be true. We can just say I’m not an alcoholic and not be one and that’s the truth?! Yep, that’s the truth. The science does support this but that’s not where I’m going here. The truth here comes from the fact that words are powerful. Our beliefs are powerful. The stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves are powerful. What we put behind I am… when we are talking to ourselves about ourselves is what we power ourselves to become.
For example, when I was noticing the tension and conflict I felt related to my wine habit before finding freedom from alcohol in 2019 and I painfully saw my inability to just not-do-the-thing-I-didn’t-want-to-do I assumed it must mean I have a problem with my drinking. And people who have problems with drinking are alcoholics. So I very naturally concluded that I too must be an alcoholic.
This made me feel weak and broken and miserable. This caused massive discomfort and massive shame and was amplified as I considered what life as an out alcoholic would look like. Every single day for the rest of my life trying not to drink. I couldn’t even make it 30 days for a Dry January or a weight loss cleanse how the heck would I make it my whole life? And if, nope when I drink, it will be even more pain and more shame. I will be in recovery for the rest of my life fighting against this thing that has total power over me. Being an alcoholic sounded like a death sentence. A life of misery to be sure.
And guess what else it did? It made it doubly-hard to not do the thing I didn’t want to do. Drink! If I wasn’t already an alcoholic I was certainly going to become one by simple fact that I was drinking more, not less alcohol!
I was already miserable with my current situation and I hadn’t even started the ‘recovery process.’ The way I saw it is I had two options. Continue drinking miserably. Or admit I was an alcoholic, go to rehab, join AA, and then try every day for the rest of my life not to drink. Also miserable.
The good news is there’s always a third way. It might take a little while to find it but there’s always a third or fourth or fifth way! And that third way through the science and compassion of the This Naked Mind approach to finding freedom from alcohol changed everything for me. It’s where I learned that my ‘problem’ was not with my drinking. My problem was with my thinking. I wasn’t addicted to drinking, I was addicted to my thinking. What we think, what we believe, what we say to ourselves about ourselves determine everything we feel do, act, desire and experience. It effects how we show up in this world.
It’s no different than when I used to say that I am an anxious person. How did that statement make me feel? Not good and like there was something wrong with me. How did it make me show up in the world? As an anxious person who felt bad about herself. Or for example when I said to myself, I am a procrastinator. How did that make me feel? Weak and flawed. Do you think feeling weak and flawed as a procrastinator helped me to get things done or contributed to further procrastination?
Do you see the pattern? What we believe about ourselves is what we become because of how it makes us feel. Where we believed we didn’t have power, driven by an I am powerless statement, now means we have found empowerment. Empowered feels better than powerless which allows for forward movement and actionability. Believing we are powerless only strengthens powerlessness and more stuck and inaction.
Empowerment came through first bringing awareness to the thoughts and beliefs I carried about myself, about others about alcohol. Exploring those thoughts and beliefs by identifying the stories I tell myself about myself allowed me to see how I was living into every one of those declarations I was making because of how they made me feel. This is a discovery journey not a recovery program. It led me to finding total freedom from alcohol. It led me to creating a life by design not default.
Not because I can’t drink but because I have zero temptation to drink. Zero temptation comes from changing the desire to drink. No desire means no temptation and no temptation means effortless, blissful, joyful alcohol-free living. Perhaps there’s no greater example of the power of how what we think and what we believe influences everything else in life than there is with the freedom from alcohol journey.
So remember you are not an alcoholic. You are not an anxious person. You are not a procrastinator, a people-pleaser, a lazy person, a failure and the list goes on. Unless you want to be. By all means if that’s what you choose by placing any of those words behind I am and that leads to the results you want, I am not here to get in your way. But if it’s not working for you why not try differently, instead of trying harder, by trying on the power of thought and belief for yourself. Experiment with the different statements and see which feels right to you. What results do you get in your life when you feel even just a little better than miserable?
The power to create desired results in our lives ends and begins with our thinking. It’s that simple. Not easy. But simple.
Don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself and let me know what you find. There are no right or wrong answers. You get to choose. You get to decide. And I am here to cheer you on either way!
As a freedom coach, writer, educator, and speaker, I empower others to find freedom from the alcohol habit that’s keeping them stuck so they can discover who they are, reconnect to their true self, and create a life of their choosing.
certified freedom coach