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???!!!!!
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