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Humility, Gurrrl Power and Sober Badassery
Humility is one of those words associated with the process of getting sober that used to make me determined to never need to stop drinking. Humility is one of the precepts of working the 12 steps in AA that frightened me away. Humility is absolutely not something I ever aspired to. I spend my days sitting in the brass section at the back of a symphony orchestra. I am loud and boastful for a living.
I’m also very tall and like to think of myself as tough and self- reliant. When I was young I took great pride in being able to do “anything a man could do” without losing my feminine touch. I often relate to men better than women. Most of my closest friends have been men. My two roommates in college were men. I work surrounded by men and I’m married to a man.
But drinking like a man was something that I should never have tried to do. It took me 40 years to figure out that holding my liquor would not empower me. Quite the opposite.
One of the things that I have only recently learned is that alcohol affects women differently than men. We become addicted quicker, have more anxiety and depression issues as a result of drinking, and we’re more likely to develop alcohol-related diseases like breast cancer and liver disease. Women are also more likely to be alcorexic which means drinking instead of eating because we don’t want to gain weight. Alcorexia leads quickly to blackouts which are dangerous territory.
Not that men should drink heavily or routinely either. It’s dangerous for them too. But it’s really doubly dangerous for women and, for my entire adult life, the alcohol industry has profited by selling us the idea that drinking is a “girl power” thing.
The last time I walked through Duty Free in the airport there was an entire wall of brightly colored fruit flavored vodkas. Hundreds of crystal clear bottles with an enticing variety of fruit painted on the labels. It looked like a bizarre sort beautiful of candy store.
When I was in college in the 1980’s wine coolers were what was being marketed as a feminine drink. They were often pink or peach colored and they came in pretty bottles. Light, sweet, low alcohol. Now 40 years later forget those low alcohol wine coolers it’s flavored vodka, Rose ALL DAY, pink gin and pink martinis .
The newest sales pitch to women is wine or sake with yoga. I have a sake set that I bought in Japan back in 1993. The cups are the size of large thimbles. But in the 21st century Sake is to be drunk by health-conscious women in goblets. You deserve a supersized serving of numb! Thoughts From Kristi Couter on the Ty Ku Sake/yoga thing.
Those marketing campaigns did affect me and they have effected many of us. The glasses keep getting bigger, the alcohol content keeps getting higher, and the rules about when to drink and how often you should drink are all but lost to the marketing that is selling addictive behavior as cute, cool, funny, sexy, and inconsequential.
When I was 15 I watched a movie with Linda Blair called Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. It pretty much set my ideas of what alcoholism and AA were. I spent the next 35 years trying not to be an alcoholic and suspecting that I was an alcoholic but hoping to never have to walk into an AA meeting ever . When the time came for me, pretty typically at 49, I found a different way to stop drinking.
There is a lot of wisdom in AA. I have benefited from all of the recovery biographies that I read that talk about AA. I encourage anyone who is AA curious to check it out. But I have never walked into the rooms and I don’t think I will.
It’s mostly about my perspective on humility and alcohol I think.
I was only able to finally stop drinking and stay stopped because I finally accepted that I am indeed humbled by alcohol. I cannot “drink like a man” I cannot drink without unraveling the fabric of my life and every relationship I hold dear. I cannot drink and live.
Here is where humility is required
Some people can drink.
I could only stop when I accepted that I was NOT one of them.
But then after I accepted that, the PROUD part of me became important. Figuring out me. Glorying in me. Feeling PRIDE in me. Singing from the roof tops “I’m HERE!!!!! ” ” I AM!” …
Sober for me is empowerment.
Which started with humility.
It is developing my absolute righteous sense of SELF.
Which I do with the help of this community.
Sober is My LIFE DEFINED BY ME
Not what my culture wants to sell me. Not what my culture wants to sell me about how inconsequential daily drinking should be. And not what my culture wants to sell me a out the right way to get sober .
And it started with humility
I will not drink today.
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Serotonin system in women’s brains is damaged more readily by alcohol than that in men’s brains, study finds
Neurotransmitters in alcoholism: A review of neurobiological and genetic studies
” The neurotransmitter serotonin (also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) has been a target of interest for potential pharmacotherapy for alcoholism for a long time because of the well-established link between serotonin depletion, impulsivity and alcohol-drinking behavior in rats and humans. According to pharmacological compounds that target the serotonin system by inhibiting neuronal reuptake of serotonin, thereby prolonging its actions, or by blocking specific serotonin receptor subtypes have been shown to suppress alcohol-reinforced behavior in rats. During alcohol withdrawal, serotonin release in the nucleus accumbens of rats is suppressed and this reduction is partially reversed by self-administration of alcohol during withdrawal.”
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