How much of yourself do you sacrifice to fit in?
“If you follow the herd, you’ll end up stepping in shit.”
― Wayne W. Dyer, I Can See Clearly Now
Seems like we spend our lives trying to be, younger, skinnier, more beautiful, funnier, smarter, cooler and more likeable.
We have a need evolutionary needs to be accepted by the pack.
But at what cost?
Quitting alcohol gave me many gifts but the best gift of all was that I stopped being a people pleaser.
I learned the subtle art of not giving a fuck without ever reading the book. I got so confident in myself that I no longer needed the approval of others. It's ok to just be me. No bravado, no carry on. Just me.
When I was in my teens, binge drinking became the norm and funnily enough I didn’t really enjoy it all that much. I didn’t like the way it made me feel and I didn’t like the taste of it. There was no fine wine drinking for us we were just trying to get wasted.. It was usually a cask of Riesling or Fruity Lexia, really cheap and really nasty and really revolting. We would block our noses to avoid tasting it. I couldn’t stand it. But I wanted to fit in with my mates, so when they weren’t looking I would quickly tip most of my drink out in to the dirt or down the sink and act like I was tipsy. The taste was bad and I was also scared of not being able to control myself or have my wits about me.
I am not sure when I stopped tipping my drinks out and when I really started my binge drinking career. But I would say by the time I was 20 I was on my way.
Later once the habit was established and if I am honest I started to to buy expensive wines to either show off a bit, to be more liked, to fit in.
We hit our 30’s and 40’s we imagine that we are beyond the teenage need for approval. We think we have forged our own path and we have well and truly earned our acquired taste for alcohol. A few months into my sobriety when some of friends started to realise I was actually going to stick to my pact, subtle and sometimes not so subtle comments about how I was going to be boring, or how one drink wouldn’t hurt started to surface. This for me was a pretty big challenge. All I can say is just stick to your guns. Don’t let them chip away at you and your resolve. Remain steadfast and remember that you are achieving something that serves you and nobody else but you. You’re guaranteed of good results and when these people see how far you’ve come; they may want to start fitting in with you!
We have inspired loads friends to quit alcohol without ever preaching to them. They just saw our lives changing for the better and wanted the same for themselves.
The good news, all you need to do is not drink and your own version of this will unfold. You will see how much of your drinking particularly the binge was a result of going along with the crowd.
I started drinking to fit in with the crowd and when I finally quit I started to realise that behaviour was still in me. That young impressionable girl who traded Fruity Lexia for bottles of Bollinger (no disrespect to Bollinger, it’s a great drop) still had a need to fit in and had a strong need to liked.
It can be a lonely road there for a while particularly if your social groups are built on partying and bingeing. But your good friends will learn to accept the new you and your relationship will pivot. I have now become “day friends” with a lot of my old drinking buddies. We go for walks or have cups of tea at mine. No, I don’t often get invited over to theirs after the sun goes down, but I am ok with that. I have made a lot of wonderful new friends who don’t drink much or at all. Those friendships are so much more meaningful and not based on how much wine I will bring over or how crazy I can act. They are truly beautiful friendships, based on mutual respect, and for me are a source of deep gratitude.
“We're so quick to cut away pieces of ourselves to suit a particular relationship, a job, a circle of friends, incessantly editing who we are until we fit in.”
― Charles de Lint, Happily Ever After