Getting Your Sh*t Together

Let's talk about labels in Recovery

March 11, 2021 Cynthia Season 3 Episode 11
Getting Your Sh*t Together
Let's talk about labels in Recovery
Show Notes Transcript


Happy to be back. Had to take an unexpected pause because of mental health and self-care but I am so excited to be back with you all. Also, happy that SPRING is basically here!

In this episode, I'm talking about labels in recovery. Someone asked me who is newly sober-curious if it was okay to use that label for themselves since they're really just exploring and not sure about commitment yet.

I found this thought interesting (well the label aspect) and I took it to the pod! Also, if you're curious about what I told them, it's right at the start of the show.

Let's dive on in, shall we??!!! Also, do you feel labels are helpful or harmful? 

Stay safe out there, friends! Here is the link to some online AA meetings.
If you're looking for a black therapist or resources, check this out!

And as always, thank you for listening to my lovely show. If possible, I would love for you to review me on iTunes, Google, Stitcher -- anywhere, really. 

If you have comments or suggestions feel free to hit me up via the ways below! And sign up for my mailing list. I do like to do giveaways from time to time. 

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Hello, my name is Cynthia, welcome to the latest episode of getting your together a podcast where we discuss what it's like to get it all the way together or at least attempt to one day at a time. Buddy. Welcome to the latest episode, it's been a long damn time. Happy to be back with you all. So what's going on with me, I just had to take a full step back I think you go through one of these phases or periods at least I know that I do when you just need to collect yourself or recollect yourself and pause and just be in your be present in your like day to day life, you know. And I think with this, the quarantine in the pandemic and not really going out like I used to, I think everything kind of just came to a head. And I went into like this really depressive downward spiral for a bit. And I can't say that I'm truly out of it. But I'm definitely much better. And I could focus and things like that. But I really just had to take a mental health break. And I know people will do podcasts are like, Oh, you should batch content, bad content, patch content, which is true. But also like being able to be kind of on the fly with things and have conversations about things that are more current or happen week to week, which you can't really do so much if you're batching content. But truth be told, I have a shit ton of interview. So I will be inundating you guys with all the interviews. So I need to get these out into the world because that is amazing content. But today's episode is just going to be a standalone one. And I'm going to talk about, I'm about to talk about being sober, curious. This is something that was posed to me by someone who listens to the show. And they were like super curious, like, you know, Is that me? They're not currently sober, which is totally fine. It's totally legit. And they were struggling with what to call themselves or how to identify. And sometimes they go through periods of sobriety or recovery. And then other times they're not. And they are they came to me and they asked or posed the question like am I can I consider myself sober, curious. And my answer to them was like, you can consider yourself whatever you want to be. But you have to be honest with where you truly are in your process. And this is something I tapped on in other episodes, like people get so wrapped up and wound up about labels. And, and I think that's a lot of it has to do with the fact that as human beings, whether we want to admit it or not, we are social creatures, we are pack minded creatures, like we want to feel like we belong, we want to feel like we are accepted, and certain aspects in our lives, some more than others, right. But I think when we, if you drill back to it, dive back into it. And like, like, really just look at yourself. There's an element of wanting to be accepted love for who you are seen for who you are, right, and the other people around, you understand what you're about, like, that's just I feel like that's like a foundational thing, whether it's a big need for you or whether it's a small one. I think these label things make it easier for you for people to understand you. But it also I think, in certain aspects make it easy for you to understand yourself at certain aspects or certain avenues within your life. With that being said, I think that we get so hung up on the label that we don't necessarily do the work, right, that comes with saying your this and this comes from just like my POV like this is always my POV and how I look at things and I'm a contrary person by nature. So I know I come with a lot of stuff that I always have to work through and like check myself on when it comes to certain things. And the fact that you know, I grew up queer and all this other type of stuff. I called myself a lesbian for a while myself by I called myself now I'm just saying queer. I like what I like, you know. So it was like a process for me. And I think when it comes to using labels like sober, curious, alcohol free, alcoholic, newly sober all these other terms or all these other adjectives or descriptions you would like to use, use what feels right to you, like use what feels right to you at the time. It shouldn't be dictated by other people, other people, like you shouldn't listen to someone unless you want to, but I really feel like if someone points that to you and say, Hey, hey Jane. Hey Susie. Hey Richard, a chris hayes Xavier, like you know Whatever, whatever your name happens to be, you are an alcoholic. Like you could say, you could take what they say at face value, but then you have to think about, well, what do I think? How do I feel? You know, what do I see? How do I want to refer to myself? Like what will bring what will bring me joy? What will bring me, I think I use joy because sometimes if you're going through periods, like you know, whether you have a problem with alcohol or addiction or not, maybe it's not a joyful feeling, but what will bring you some, some aspect of peace, because when you're emitting something like this to yourself, there's going to be a lot of guilt and shame associated with it. So what will bring you something that's like, okay, okay, like, I own this, or I'm accountable, or this is just where I am right now, you know, what's that word? If you need it? You know, for me, I called myself an alcoholic. And I still do, I don't have a problem with it. But also say I'm in recovery more often than not, you know, I say, I'm in recovery. And someone asked, I said, I'm in recovery from alcohol, I don't drink, you know, but that's also something that came with me over time. And it's also something that changed with me. Over time, you know, I needed the harsh word of like, when people think of alcoholic, they say, Oh, this is a very harsh word, it means something negative in our society. But that is also because a lot, a lot of people allow this, that word to be negative within our society. And we kind of just let that roll. But it's sort of like there's no harm in saying that there's something that you're not really great at managing. And other people's perceptions or projections of the word that's like their shit. And at the time, for me, when I first started, I needed that, that like, this is what it is, like, you know, claim it, and just say, now that I know, now I can figure out what I need in order to grow in, like, learn about myself and fix it. So I didn't really want to come at it from a guilt and shame place. Because we all struggle, we all work through something. So I wasn't trying to come at it, just like there's something infinitely horrible. bad about me now, sober, curious, I feel like if that's something that works for you, by all means, we're if it works for you, I also will say just because it works for you at the onset, or at the beginning, doesn't necessarily mean it has to define you all the way through your journey, we all change and we all grow, as we figure out what works for us and what doesn't like, like I said earlier, I started out with saying I was an alcoholic. And now I say I'm more like I said, I'm in recovery, you know, and I keep moving, or I'm alcohol free. Sometimes like you know, I don't really think about it truthfully, it's whatever word pops into my head when someone asked me the question, or it comes up in a conversation, which isn't that often, honestly. So I just say don't get bogged down and like the word that works for you, that works for you. If it doesn't, it doesn't totally valid, totally fine. What I will say is that whatever you go with, if you're saying I'm sober, curious, I don't know how I see myself or feel about things, I would say you need to put the work in, that's more about putting the work in. And what do I mean by putting in the work, I mean, by looking at yourself, a lot of it is stuff is coming at you, looking at your patterns, looking at what you fall back onto, I always say like, you know, writing things down or notating them in some kind of way, helps you see your patterns and see what is going on and what's in your head and your gears. Because a lot of things we do on autopilot that we don't even know, we're not even aware of unless we start like taking note taking stock of things, right. So it could be writing it down. It could be doing a voice memo, it could be talking to a trusted friend. It could be talking to your therapist, it could be like a myriad of things. find what works for you find what works for your learning style. I'm a big believer in learning styles. Because once I figured out how I learned and I take in information, it changed like how I saw the world when it comes to me just picking up new things and things making more sense to me faster. So I urge you to do something like that. Figure out really think about dive deep look into yourself and see how low alcohol or whatever you're dealing with. How it really impacts your life. And what you're really getting out of it. Do you really enjoy it? Do you? Can you go somewhere and not drink? Can you hang out with people in that drink? Can you be by yourself and not drink? How many drinks Do you have if you do drink? You know stuff like noting that stuff, which I know not fun? When you're in the element in the zone or you're having a shitty day you don't want to do this, but this is like part of the work and I feel like it's so easy to claim a term or word but it's not always. It's not easy to really put the work in to figure like do you want this word to always signify or symbolize who you are or do you want to say like, you know what? This is where I am right now, I can change, you know, I can change, I can learn, I can grow, I can have the type of life or the relationships that I want with myself and with other people. But it's not just know that it's not going to come easy. And in order for that to change, you're gonna have to put the work in. Now, sober curious, that is really more about whether you really want to leave it behind. Or if you if you really just want do you want to dip your toe in? Or do you want to just be sober for a period of time? Personally, for me, whatever works best for you, you know, but I think if even if you claim something like that, put the work in and really assess and really look at how it, how it works for you, or how it's kind of manifesting in your life. Because I think, for you to even throw that up, there's probably an element of us somewhere that is questioning your use of whatever you're imbibing. I'm just going to keep it with alcohol, because that's what I talk about here. But it could be anything. And just owning that owning where you are the good and the bad. And just being like, Okay, this is where I'm at. Now you have to determine if you want to stay there. Or if you want to move forward. But only you can make that choice. And all it because I say that because yeah, other entities can make you do things and force you into things if you're like, if you're causing harm to yourself or others. Yes, yes, yes. I'm not naive in that aspect. But I will say like for you to stick with something, it has to be something you really want to fundamentally fundamentally do. Because no, the rains will loosen up on you one day, somehow, in some kind of way more than likely, and then when it's just you. And it's you at the party, by yourself or with friends, it's you at your home by yourself after a shitty day and you want to unwind, it's you in like it's it comes down to us what we choose and what we don't choose. And that is where I would like people to think when it comes to like, well, this isn't what I want to call myself or this is I don't feel comfortable calling myself this, that and the third, it's not about what you want to really call yourself, you can call yourself something if that makes you feel better. And that makes you feel like okay, I can do I can vibe with these people, I can research these activities, I hear research, these, these stories or these posts or these followers or these people and and I will never say that's not a that's a bad thing. But I think it always will come back to like, well, what are you using that as a like a way to crutch like as a crutch in a way because even with the label, you still have to put the work in, you still have to dig deep, even with something with calling yourself sober, curious, you know, in my opinion, what I don't want anyone to do is to get sidetracked because it's easy to do. It's easy to go down that Wikipedia wormhole it's easy to go down the Instagram or the tick tock or the clubhouse. It's easy to do all this and listen to what other people are thinking what other people advise and what has worked for other people. And that includes myself, you know, like I talk here. But I've talked about what works for me. And I'm never want to say like, like, because it works for me, it's gonna work for you. Everyone's journey is different. Everyone's honesty and willingness and acceptance of where they are and what they want is different. But I will just urge you, if you're going down this path, and you're really curious, and you want to really explore it commit, commit to it, not just commit to the label, but commit to doing the work and just figuring out how this is how alcohol or whatever your device happens to be. But alcohol how alcohol impacts your life? And whether it's something you look back at fondly, or is there a lot of like, ooh, shit, you know, it's kind of a shit show, I was kind of a fuckup, or I don't remember, if you have more of those moments that you really care to acknowledge to yourself. I know for me, I had a lot of those moments that I didn't really want to acknowledge to myself. And when I looked at it as like, yeah, your girl is a good show when it comes to alcohol and I don't have impulse control when it comes to a lot of other things. And alcohol is definitely one of them. Because like I said, quieted my mind, shut a lot of things off. I didn't have to feel so it was very enticing to me and but then when I started really looking at myself realize that I didn't necessarily like myself like me when I was drinking. Yeah, the feeling of being out of control. Did I have not? Did I have good moments? Yes. I'm not one of the people to say like I never had a good moment. I did, you know had some funny times funny ass time. So there was a lot of times and put the times that were bad. They were horrendous and it wasn't like other people that I knew and I didn't feel good about myself after and so my escape from NASA Good at myself, I drink more. So it's like, it was like the cycle. And like, I didn't realize this type of stuff. So I started putting pen to paper. And I was like, Okay, this is how I really feel about myself. This is how alcohol plays in my life. This is how I feel after, you know, the night after the morning after the day after the week after truth be told some of the stuff I was doing even before I stopped drinking, because I was tapering down. So I guess I was having like my sober curious, like playing around and dipping my toe in it. So I started doing some of the stuff before I decided, like, I'm totally going to cut this out of my life, even my firt like going through my sober January where I just kept extending it, because I knew I was gonna go longer than that. I did a lot of that work, and just really saying, like, because part of my mind, my act of mind was like, Well, I'm just gonna go back, but me really doing the work made me realize, okay, well, maybe I need to stay away a little bit longer, maybe I need to stay away a little bit longer. But I wouldn't been able to get to those to that POV or that point of view or that reality until I stopped. And I really assessed it. And I committed and I was honest about me. And what I was really up against. So yeah, I mean, I feel like this, this episode became a story about like labels and how they can be beneficial and how they can be harmful. But it's really, the bottom line is like you have to do what's best for you what feels right to you. But I will always urge you to commit if you want to use that term, if you don't wanna use that term. If you rather just say something else, support I support that. But it's like always about putting in the work and really committing and digging deep and really looking at yourself and not for anyone else's validation but just for you to understand yourself and for you to really see yourself as clearly as possible. I hope this was beneficial for you. I hope I answered your question or anyone's question or gave anyone food for thought. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to always reach out to me email DM me on Instagram, find me on clubhouse, sign up for my newsletter. And if you feel like someone would be would be open to receiving this or would glean something from this please share it out with your networks and things like that. I always love to meet new people and reach out to new people in new and different and meaningful ways. I'm so happy to be back friends. I'm so happy to be sharing this episode with you. I hope you have a great rest of your week. I hope you're praying because I can't believe it's almost spring I guess is shaping up nicely. I can't wait to it's warm so I can be outside more. But until next time, have a lovely one. Take care talk soon. Bye