Confession #4: I think I have alcoholic tendencies…or maybe just good coping skills

Confession #4: I think I have alcoholic tendencies…or maybe just good coping skills

So yeah, I haven’t quite decided which it is yet. ((and I’m open to the possibility of lots-o judging on this one. I think I’ve come to accept this given how much I’ve been putting myself out there, out here, as of late. Go for it. I’m cool with it.)

So last night, my cycling instructor said something that I can’t shake. We were talking (while cycling) and she was saying something about envisioning what it was we were working toward as we pushed ourselves toward that metaphoric hill. Some people chose dessert. Others, a beverage of the alcoholic variety. And others, shopping for new clothes. We then talked (while still cycling…it’s a thing; you should try it) about the idea of addictive personalities and people with food issues, or drinking issues, or shopping issues. She then said:

“it’s really all about the personality and it’s just a matter of what you do with it. This is my addiction and I thank the lord for that.”

…yeeeah, let’s let that simmer a bit.

…done simmering? Okay, well I kinda haven’t been done since she said that. It made me reflect on my vicious cycle. on my all-or-nothing tendencies…which in reality aren’t all or nothing, merely a substitution of one extreme for another, (one addiction for another?…another insight, too early to actually let it sink in).

I was told once that I can never just do things, that I have to go to the extremes with everything. (side note: this was done in what felt like a douchey you-should-spend-more-time-with-me-and-not-work-hard-toward-whatever-your-passion-may-be sorta way. He provided examples of me riding for 3 hours instead of going for a leisurely ride one morning. Really sir?! Can you not be supportive this once?? So what if I am passionate about a million things; that’s on me, no?!…sorry, folks. That was obviously not intended for you.) buuut I think maybe he had a point. (not the one he was trying to make nor one done in a tactful manner but an insightful reflection nonetheless).

I guess my reflection is how do you know when drinking or exercising or shopping (or fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-can-be-done-in-excess-and-for-the-wrong-reasons) isn’t merely a negative coping tool used for avoidance? I mean, I like drinking. Beer mostly. Don’t judge. It’s tasty. Breweries are awesome. A couple of cold ones with friends and family and loves is a good thing. But where is that line?

[Minute personal disclosure for purposes of providing context and not to provoke judgment: I come from a family of umm shall we say functional alcoholics? I don’t know if this is in a diagnostic sense or if it’s a cultural thing or if me saying it’s a cultural thing is simply an excuse to avoid further judgment. But that is how I’ve always seen it. And I don’t like it. I decided early on (during my teenage years when I was old enough to understand the implications of my surroundings and potential issues guiding the actions of those around me) that I didn’t want that kind of life for the family I would one day have (God-willing). I knew that I wanted to redefine use of alcohol to be for use in social ((happy)) situations and not daily drowning-my-sorrows-avoiding-the-pain-this-is-how-I-cope type of use. I’ve seen that. I grew up with that. I don’t want that.

Admittedly, I have fallen into the latter of these on certain occasions (specifically during major life transitions like first semester year away at college, an experience of unrequited love, an identity crisis of a 20-something year old female and, of course, the heartbreak; maybe i’ll write about it, these…later). But that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Society says it’s okay, so it must be. Shopping: retail therapy. Drinking: happy hour, getting fucked up, or drowning your sorrows. Working out: being eXtreme and pushing yourself, hard, further, not far enough. All these things are accepted, hell, they’re even encouraged. No wonder people use these as means to feel better. Only thing is is that these things are temporary reliefs if they are the only coping tools you use. Sure, the late nights and full (or empty) glasses served their purpose during the above mentioned times. They got me through it.

what I learned from this confession: I’m not sure where I’m going with this. or if I’m closer to an answer to whether. Mostly, I have a lot more thoughts on this topic but time and headspace may be better served focusing on work…at least for a bit. I guess I’m thinking maybe I do have an addictive personality (whatever that means). But maybe instead of focusing on what to call it or the reason this is the way it is, I should focus on learning and doing whatever is healthiest for me (physically, mentally, spiritually), whatever brings me the most happy. maybe in moderation. maybe not. maybe learning balance. but mostly, allowing myself to be led by what i love, what i’m drawn to, which truthfully just happens to be increasing my happy and that of others.

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