Re-frame the image

Member @Zentient wrote this in the members feed a couple of days ago…  “Trigger! And I don’t mean Roy Rogers’ horse. TV scenes with drinking, especially this: A woman sitting at her computer, enraptured by the screen and looking so relaxed while she cradles a glass of wine. Also, the scenes where the ensemble cast is at a local bar celebrating finding the serial killer, or celebrating whatever they set out to do in the story. I have been noting that there seem to be few shows that don’t have drinking in them. What’s with that? More stuff to contend with in sobriety, but, why?”

They got instant responses from a bunch of members including this reply: “Yeah it’s crazy eh! I hadn’t really noticed when I was drinking. Constant messages about how cool alcohol is etc etc. Terrible brainwashing.”

A brave sober warrior in Canada who writes a fab blog called ‘Granny Gets Sober’ (she’s just getting over a relapse) wrote about this recently. Check it out.

We’re always bombarded with these images. TV shows full of happy people drinking alcohol, adverts showing happy flawless people drinking alcohol, billboards displaying ginormous airbrushed happy people drinking alcohol. Even just driving or walking past a bar or restaurant what do we see…? A bunch of happy, real, ordinary people drinking alcohol. They get to be happy and free drinking alcohol (my brain sometimes cries).. Why not me???!!!!!

Sob sob.

It sucks sometimes, especially early on in sobriety when I felt like I was the only boring, sober loser in the world and everyone else was having a great, happy, party time drinking alcohol without me.

Me = the boring sad sober loser. Everyone else = drinking alcohol and happy.

Of course that’s not the truth. Not only are there THOUSANDS of people who struggle to control alcohol but there are THOUSANDS of people who remove it from their lives and live happily in recovery. But those images we don’t see.

Or do we?

Re-frame the image. Re-frame the fucking image to reflect the truth that we all know. Take the myth that alcohol is a wondrous, happiness-inducing, harmless substance for everyone and flip it on it’s head. Re-frame the image.

Next time you see a bunch of happy people laughing together at a bar pick one in the crowd and imagine that their wine glass is actually full of lime & soda and they’ve been sober for 2 years and are never happier.

Next time you pass a billboard showing a swarthy man holding a glass of amber liquid imagine that he’s dying inside because his emotions have been numbed for years.

Next time you see a beautiful lady on the TV drinking red wine with her handsome lover imagine that it’s blackberry juice she’s drinking because she’s an actor with 10 years of blissful sobriety.

Next time you see a group sitting at a fancy restaurant laughing raucously pick one in the crowd and imagine that they’re hitting it way too hard and everyone else at the table is secretly worried about their drinking.

Next time you pass a well-put together housewife at the supermarket putting a bottle of red in her trolly don’t envy her … she’s wrestling with herself about whether to get one bottle or two, and is deep down hating herself for not being able to have the alcohol-free night she promised herself at 9am (when she woke up hungover and miserable). She’s me 3+ years ago.

We have the power to control what we see. We can open our eyes to the truth. We don’t have to get hit by a sad pang every time we see these images… see it for what it really is. Complex and complicated.

And us? We’re the lucky ones who are opening our eyes and getting free of the booze trap. We’re not the boring sober losers. We’re the brave ones swimming against the tide.

Love, Mrs D xxx

  1. Persevering 9 years ago

    Great post. Really good to break down those images of ‘fun drinking’ into their individual parts and question our perceptions. It feels refreshing doing that, for some reason.

  2. Glowing 9 years ago

    Thanks, @Switchedon. We all need one another.

  3. Katerina 9 years ago

    It really is brainwashing, isn’t it! I’m feeling so grateful because it’s like a light has gone on in my head – I see alcohol for what it really is – fucking noxious fucking hateful fucking poison! I’m even feeling sorry for people who drink and have the ability to moderate – I feel like they got sucked into the lie too! Poor bastards!!! You hit the nail on the head Mrs D – we are the lucky ones!

    • SueK 9 years ago

      I’m with you @Katerina… I feel sorry for people who drink. Never thought that would happen, but it has. I just want to go up to them and say “Hey, you know what, you could stop pouring that poison crap down your throat and give your body something nourishing and healthy instead — you really deserve better than this!” But I don’t say that… I guess if someone had said that to me when I was drinking I’d think they were a total nutter!

  4. jo14 9 years ago

    This is just what I have been doing this time and so far it is truly working. Hosted my first sober Halloween party and the temptation to drink never crossed my mind…too busy enjoying the party and enjoying all the yummy food people brought. It was a great night…those images of have to be drinking to really have fun are such a lie…I bought into them for years…and why is everyone so dang attractive in those ads???

  5. Tryingagain2505 9 years ago

    Sorry my post seems to cut off above! Still getting used to the site!

    I too worry about missing out on the “fun” with friends but the reality is I struggle with moderation – def all or nothing and that doesn’t leave me such a glamour-puss at the end of the night

    • Lily 9 years ago

      I don’t even want to moderate. The whole booze thing is vile. Just come home from a big family milestone birthday party at the weekend. Actually, I enjoyed the party much more than I thought I would. Up dancing all night, I mean really going for it, like I could never have danced like that before without a load of booze inside me! Then at the end all the hardened boozers head for the bar, lol. Drinking & twittering crap until the wee small hours, definitely would have been me!! The next day feeling terrible, so hungover I’d want to die. Instead, I made my leave @12 ish, off to my room, make up off, brush teeth!!! Lovely sleep, to wake up @7 feeling great. Everyone suffering their terrible hangovers and all looking sheepish and bloated. As they said the night before “na, il feel fine in the morning, glug, glug” . I must admit I did secretly feel a bit smug, but more than that just so, so happy I didn’t feel like them xx

  6. Switchedon 9 years ago

    Great post Mrs D! I too have major FOMO (Fear of missing out) @aprilaries at times but when you really analyse it the boring ones are the ones slurring words, falling down drunk, etc. I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing out when there was a drunken male vs female argument on the street outside my window at 1am the other night. The young girl could hardly get her words out…” Hiiivee given hhuuuuuu heveeeerethin hand huuu do vis to meeeeeee!” was her gutteral cry. I gather it was translated as “I’ve given you everything and you’ve done this to me!” Wonder if they even remembered it in the morning?? Alcohol is fun!? Maybe on the billboards. 🙂

    • Tryingagain2505 9 years ago

      I agree with this @MrsD and @Switchedon , I am back on Day One today (30 days in July has been my best achievement to date

  7. aprilaries 9 years ago

    Oh thankyou for sharing that and how appropriate that I should read it right at a time where I’m starting to feel like can I really do this forever?? Like, FOREVEEEEEEEEER?? So I shall now re-train my brain to think of others differently and get over my little Fear Of Missing Out that pops in every now and then.

    • Squizzi 9 years ago

      Yes you can yes you can yes you can!!! Besides just don’t think about it – it drives me a bit insane with that thought too so put my head in the sand and just say I am doing this for now. Knowing full well that I am doing this forever but can’t quite say it out loud yet. Who cares. I am doing this really well right now. Did I mention yes you can!

      You are a Hamilton girl eh? Must meet up for a coffee. Try and get others there too but need to make a time so SpecialK can come cos she works in the café SUnday mornings.

    • Nebraska 9 years ago

      I’m right there with you sista! Not even a week into it, but having a booze-free weekend is huge. Time to retrain the brain is right!

  8. Glowing 9 years ago

    Great post, and so very true. Last night I met up with some people I worked with thirty years ago (yes, thirty! I was fifty in August but that still sounds crazy)’, and it was the first time they’ve seen me since I quit. They were saying things like, ‘What about at celebrations, holidays and stuff?’ I’ve had three holidays and my son’s wedding during my 201 days sober and I’ve enjoyed them just as much, and remembered every minute too. Bonus! Mind you, I would have thought exactly the same in the past and used to wonder ‘what was wrong’ with anyone who didn’t drink. Funny how things turn out……..

    • Switchedon 9 years ago

      Just have to say @Glowing – you really are an inspiration to those of us trying to clock up the sober miles! Thanks for being here. x

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