Let’s talk about beliefs. There is a difference between a belief and a fact. But sometimes we get caught up in believing our belief system as fact. It is so ingrained into who we are that if we go against it we feel shame and guilt. But where do these beliefs come from? And why do we choose to believe them? A belief is an opinion or conviction. It may be something we feel strongly about, but others may not. It can be a personal belief, or one society has created. Either way, we can find ourselves living a life according to what society tells us to believe, even when some beliefs don’t sit right with our soul.
I used to believe that alcohol made me more outgoing and fun
Where did this belief come from? It started with how I was raised. I watched the adults in my life drink. Alcohol was at every party, wedding, holiday, and vacation. I never viewed it as bad. My parents weren’t alcoholics or abusive. I can say I never saw the negative effects alcohol can have on any adult in my life growing up. It actually seemed to be what made those times more fun. Naturally when I was 14 and started High School I turned to alcohol to be more fun and outgoing. I wanted nothing more than to fit in with the popular kids. As you would guess, it worked. So, that belief became a fact for me. Alcohol makes me more likable.
I used to believe alcohol calmed my stress and anxiety
How did alcohol go from making me more likable, to the thing I needed to ease my stress and anxiety? In my mid twenties my parents got divorced. It was a very stressful time in my life. Not only were my parents going through a divorce, but my husband and I were building a house. When I say we, I mean my husband is a carpenter and he did 80% of the work himself. I was also trying to get pregnant and I was working at a job that I absolutely hated. We met neighbors in our new neighborhood and they would have drinks every night after work. This was new for me, I always did my binge drinking on the weekends. My husband and I started to have drinks after work with the neighbors as a way to relieve the stress from all we had going at the time. We would vent about our day and as the beers went down so did my anxiety and stress. Belief confirmed.
I used to believe that the amount of alcohol I consumed was normal
Why did I believe binge drinking was normal? Well, because I surrounded myself with people who drank just as much if not more than me. I created a world that supported my belief. I watched T.V. shows and movies that glamorized binge drinking. My husband and I loved entertaining and most of these binge sessions took place at our home. I knew nothing else. And because we all got up and went to work the next day, I believed it was fine.
The truth is, I never needed alcohol
It never made me more likable, it only helped me pretend to be someone I wasn’t. In the end I didn’t like myself. The real me was silenced and she was suffering. Alcohol ended up giving me horrible anxiety. In my blog “Which Came First Anxiety or Alcohol?” I share how I suffered with this for 17 years. The amount of alcohol I was regularly consuming was effecting my health. Because society had me believing it was normal to binge drink, I never addressed the drinking with my doctor and kept it to myself.
Feeling guilt and shame is an indicator that the belief isn’t in alignment with who you are
Since getting sober I find myself questioning a lot of beliefs that don’t sit well with me. The ones that have my inner voice asking “why?” or “says who?” I now dive into where the belief came from. And ask is it true for me? Do I really feel this way? Because a belief can change. We all have free will, and minds of our own. If the belief brings guilt, shame, or doesn’t make sense then I know it isn’t in alignment with who I am.
Sobriety has me questioning everything. If I once believed a poison was actually making my life better, what else did society get wrong?
There are many other beliefs that I am digging into now that I am sober. One that I am working on is vanity. I have always believed that my looks will make or break the way someone feels about me. If someone doesn’t find me attractive then they won’t like me. I put so much value in my looks. This is a false belief for me because when I ask myself why, I know that I don’t put that type of judgement on others. I don’t like people solely on their appearance. So therefor it isn’t a belief of mine. Society has somehow programmed that belief in me through years of advertising and messaging around beauty giving you power. I am working on releasing this way of thinking, although it’s in there pretty deep. I feel empowered to know that I can release these things that are holding me back from becoming my true authentic self.
Yours Truly Sober,