If you lie to others, why wouldn’t you also lie to yourself?
“The WORST thing you can do is to slip in ‘little’ white lies just to save yourself from confrontations & emotional conversations.”
― Sijdah Hussain
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There are different camps on this idea, and I want to firmly set myself in the camp that is against this practice.
When I am saying “lie,” I’m referring to the practice of telling people that you are not drinking at a party or engagement for any other reason than you’ve decided to stop drinking.
Some people use early morning exercise, some type of medication they are on, or the party not having the drink of their choice as their reason.
I’ve heard a number of different reasons why individuals decide to go this route and almost all of them seem to fall more on the side of fear and convenience than the strength and bravery it actually takes to quit and stick with it despite negative peer pressure.
Some of the reasons sound all very short-sighted or just the easy way out:
Lie because it’s no one’s business why you’re not drinking. So you make up a lie to show that you REALLY DO CARE what others think about your decision. In what world, do you lie to someone when it DOESN’T matter?
Lie so you don’t have to keep answering the same question about why you decided to stop drinking. So instead, you KEEP LYING about why you’re not drinking all night?
Lie because you don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable that you’re not drinking. When did it become YOUR responsibility to make others feel comfortable by your decision to live a healthier life?
Lie because someone might challenge your thinking and berate you for not drinking. Simply put, f*ck this person, and it would be better to recognize this type of person in your midst now, so you can avoid them in the future whenever possible because they’re just a jerk.
On the flip side, the reasons I encourage others to be honest about their decision to pursue alcohol-consciousness will not only prevent them from feeling the sheepiness of telling little white lies all night, but it will also aid in the endeavor to maintain their sobriety in the long run.
You’ll reinforce your decision to yourself by sharing it with others
As shared in How Talking to OTHERS About Your Sobriety Will Help Your Journey, talking to others about your alcohol-conscious decision helps in a number of ways.
One of these ways is to help reinforce the reason that you made the decision in the first place.
When you say something out loud, there is something called a “feedback hypothesis” that reinforces this information in your mind. It is one of the techniques athletes use to mentally prepare for games and was used in a study that help people find images faster.
As you share all the positive things you have experienced since making the decision to become alcohol-conscious, it will subconsciously reinforce this decision in your brain and decrease the chances of negative self-talk that can creep into the brain when you’re by yourself.
Oftentimes, you’ll be surprised at how much knowledge you actually have regarding the reasoning behind your decision, and it can act as a motivating factor that you have come a long way from when you first started your AC journey.
One of the fastest ways to learn something is by teaching it to others, and by sharing this information when prompted, you’ll find yourself becoming more and more ingrained in the AC lifestyle and more committed to your decision going forward.
You’ll have people in your corner who can help you along your journey
While there is the fear that by telling someone, you might have someone who will openly mock you and attempt to get you to drink to be “funny,” but the reality is that, unless you’re hanging with college-age kids in a university greek fraternity or sorority, this probably shouldn’t be the case.
One of the interesting phenomenons about deciding to quit drinking is that probably about 99% of people will initially assume that you made this decision because you were an alcoholic.
While this can be a bit annoying when you first stop drinking, as people will ask you all types of questions about how “bad” it got and what was your “rock bottom,” the benefit of this is that most people will take your decision to stop drinking seriously.
While they may not agree with your decision or even think it is something they would be able to do, a lot of people will either find this admirable or scary and will not want to be the reason that you were not able to stay committed to your decision.
Therefore, instead of having to try to white knuckle every offer for a drink, you’ll have a few other people in your corner who will either say no for you and share your reasoning or not try to cajole you to drink themselves because they understand your decision is about much more than just “working out in the morning.”
This should make it a tad easier for you at social gatherings and increase the chances that your true friends are going to suggest something other than getting together at a bar to connect because they’re mindful and respectful of the journey you’re making.
You can now use societal pressure to work in your favor
It’s funny because peer pressure is often not seen as a good thing and is actually probably one of the reasons that many of us begin drinking in the first place.
I remember being at a college fraternity party in Wellons Suite at the University of Pembroke at 19-years-old and feeling immense pressure as the only person there who wasn’t drinking a beer and therefore decided to give it a try.
When we tell others about our decision to stop drinking and our commitment to alcohol-consciousness, we sort of turn societal pressure around to use as a motivating factor to keep us from going back on our commitment.
As sad as it is, we live in a world in which people enjoy seeing people rise to the top and then get pulled back down again for whatever reason.
Whenever a celebrity publicly admits to a decision to stop drinking or doing drugs, the tabloids are always ready to report if there is a relapse.
This was one of the things that Brad Pitt had to contend with, as he recently journeyed into the alcohol-conscious lifestyle.
For this reason, there are going to be people who will be monitoring you closely to see if you are able to keep your commitment.
Some of these will do so for the aforementioned reason above that people like to see others fail, but there will be others who would like to see if you are actually able to do it.
They will want to see if you can still live an enjoyable life and abstain from alcohol because if you can do it, then perhaps there’s a chance that they can as well.
Therefore, you’ll have the pressure to stay committed to prove to others that you can be successful in this endeavor (one of the reasons researchers have debated that sharing your goals helps you achieve them) coupled with the fact that there will be some people actually looking up to you and hoping you succeed to make them feel they have a chance as well.
By sharing this with others, you’ll become an unofficial poster child for sobriety and can use this in your favor to know that you would not only be letting yourself down by drinking again but a bunch of other people that probably looked to you for inspiration.
The decision to become alcohol-conscious is not an easy one and is something that individuals should be proud of when asked about it.
When someone lies about something, it can be interpreted as a subtle indicator that they are ashamed of it.
I can’t think of any reason that someone should be ashamed of making the decision to create a better version of themselves for the future.
Therefore, the next time you find yourself tempted to tell a little “white lie” about why you’re not drinking, my suggestion is to fight against it and share your truth of deciding that your future is brighter without it.