“Fitting in?” Really not a good place to go.
For a lot of us, the loneliness that results from not “fitting in” is one of the conditions we ease through drinking. Over the years the majority of our clients haven’t “fit” because we are simply too old for our age and our chronologic “peers.”
While we are all familiar with the depressive effects of alcohol, most of us are unaware that alcohol is also has regressive effects. That means, and you will recognize this, that alcohol causes, or allows, us to behave in ways that are much more immature than our usual behaviors.
If we combine the regression with our “old before our time” maturity we can see where alcohol appeals to that missing piece of “fitting in” that plagues us. Therefore, we drink to drop down to the “normal” level of development of those around us, giving the illusion that, for awhile, we do fit in.
One problem with this approach, of course, is that those around us are also drinking, and regressing, and we end up like passengers on parallel descending elevators who never manage to stop at the same floor.
For most of us it’s a frustrating and ineffectual to attempt to relieve loneliness with alcohol – indeed, it will usually just exacerbate the problem while also creating added depression to an already depressing condition.
What can you do?
More on that below.
Relieving loneliness – what works
Most of us are stuck with a degree of loneliness and have discovered that while we can find brief temporary relief through alcohol use, this strategy is counterproductive in the long run.
Realistically, loneliness is always going to be a problem once we are secure enough with regard to life’s day-to-day necessities that we can focus more on our emotional needs. But knowing that doesn’t exactly fix anything.
The problem is also usually made worse by our culturally induced belief that somewhere out there is the one person who will “fix” all of that for us.
If we can, however, quit seeking the “one true love,” or our “great passion,” we can begin to consider what bits and pieces of happiness we can cobble together into a satisfactory life.
Freeing ourselves from the “musts” and “shoulds” – and demanding that others meet our needs and expectations (as well as the ones we impose on ourselves and they on us) – goes a long ways towards gaining a new perspective on how we can begin to organize our lives into a more satisfactory and rewarding whole.
Yes, that’s easier said than done. That’s why we suggest to clients that part of our work with you is giving you permission to be happy.
Then it’s possible to help you figure out what that means to you while also freeing you from the constraints you’ve imposed on yourself.
What does all of that add up to? Mostly to some short term applications of CBT, motivational awareness, assertiveness training, and other considerations that allow you to make changes and choices that will actually work to replace the illusions, delusions and “magic” that alcohol – and AA – promises but never delivers.
We as close as the phone and the exploratory
consultation is free.