I think my first emotional experiences growing up were ones of disconnect, I always felt slightly weird and strange. I filled that uncomfortable feeling with many things – performance, isolation, promiscuity, obsessively getting great grades, binge eating, restrictive eating, purging, rebellion, and then eventually alcohol. I was desperate for connection, but terrified and largely incapable of it. So I dealt with the surface and obliterated the inside, the complicated stuff.
Alcohol told me that I could make friends and be a desirable person if I participated in it, and I believed it. With this inbuilt feeling of disconnect, and a catalyst to fulfil my need for oblivion, I didn’t have to be myself. Presenting this false self was another way I kept my world small and safe. It was self-sabotage, it was avoidant, and it felt safe. Afterall, who could like ME? Why wouldn’t they love an effervescent, fun, drunk who knew how to have a good time, they’d much rather have that than an angst-ridden bag of neurosis.
The thought of navigating social situations carrying this weight of fear seems exhausting to me now. The fear of being myself and experiencing potential rejection will never totally vanish, I am human after all, but I realised some core truths:
1) Not everyone will like me and that’s ok.
2) My friendships are more profound when we connect, rather than me engineering a persona that is more likely to be accepted.
3) Not everyone is hostile and has an agenda to harm me (no matter what my trauma may tell me)
4) People who love me love me for who I am, not what alcohol makes me. People who solely accept me for what alcohol makes me do not love me.
Have you ever felt disconnected from the world? How did it impact you making friends? Where did alcohol come into that?
Two tiny things:
- Sit for a half hour with yourself. You can be drawing, dancing, listening to music, reading, anything. Just be with yourself.
- Plan on something social, a call, a meet up, an intense voice note session. Plan for it with the intention of being as honest as you can be. What would happen if you listened intently, and responded earnestly with your conversations this week?