Day 24 of The Alcohol Experiment: dumping the “addictive personality” and changing your thinking.
I have never considered myself an addict. Yet I’ll be the first to admit that I have never really been able to exercise delayed gratification, opting for instantaneous instead; and, once gratified, I always seem to have trouble putting down something I love. A bottle of wine, a jar of Nutella, an issue of “Us Weekly,” a good puzzle or Lego set… I can’t resist a taste of something good, and one taste is never enough.
Yet I would never have called myself an addict. Which is why I profoundly accept and appreciate Annie’s view that we need to drop the idea of labeling people as “addicts” and instead put alcohol on the hook as the problem. We are not the problem. Alcohol is the problem. And it affects us all – every single person who takes a drink.
Further, Annie says that the very same personality traits that made us drink more than we wanted to can help us backtrack from where we were and start following a better path. She asks us to accept who we are and to channel aspects of our personalities – the good and the bad – to help us in our journey.
Hmm. Interesting. Ok, I’ll play.
Here are what I believe to be my top three positive personality traits:
And here are my top three negative personality traits:
- Lack of self-confidence
- Emotionally dependent on food and alcohol
Ok now. How did these traits lead me to an uncomfortable point with my drinking?
I am passionate. I like to feel big feelings. And I thought alcohol helped amplify the good stuff (and was willing to accept that it also amplified the bad).
Because I am nurturing, sometimes I give too much of myself and I used alcohol as a “treat” when I wanted to do something for me.
And as a rule-follower, if friends were taking shots at a bar or a bottle of wine was being passed around the dinner table at a holiday gathering, I would partake because that was what was expected of me.
And of course I used alcohol to numb all three of my negative traits. That’s easy.
Next: how can these traits lead me out of my drinking cycle?
I am passionate. I now know that alcohol numbs all the feels, and I want to feel them!
I am nurturing. And I now have a better sense of just how deeply my alcohol use can impact my children. I never want them to have to do #TAE because I never want them to struggle with alcohol in the first place. I want to set a better example for them and give them the confidence to not succumb to the peer pressure they will inevitably face as they get older.
And I am a rule-follower who is starting to listen to the voice in the back of my head that’s saying, “I don’t drink.” Is that me? Is that my subconscious or my conscious? Is that someone I want to be? Am I sure? Thought process in progress here, folks. But whenever I decide on what my “rule” with alcohol will be, I know I will follow it, as long as I have no cognitive dissonance and am at peace with my decision.
As for my negative traits helping me break my drinking cycle – it gets a little murky for me here. I do hope that as I continue this journey, my negative traits will start to change. I don’t want to be so hard on myself. I want to be more confident. And I don’t want to be emotionally dependent on junk food and booze. Acknowledging these negative traits is motivating me to stay alcohol-free, because the farther I go on this path the farther behind they will fall.
And that’s (zero-point) food for thought on this beautiful Friday!
[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of #ThisNakedMind. For more information: www.alcoholexperiment.com.]