I actually can’t believe I’m writing this post. I can’t believe I’m finally in a position to write this post. Today I’m going to share something that is extremely personal to me…a bit too personal for my usual comfort zone, in fact.
I’m writing this as a follow-up to my vlog from yesterday: Why are you DRINKING that?! As promised, I want to share how I came to this awareness after years of using alcohol as a social outlet and relaxation tool. I’ll also share some of the major ah-ha moments that led me to finally realize how I was allowing a glass of liquid to keep me stuck BELOW my ultimate potential.
Over the past twenty years, I’ve been on an intensely evolving journey of personal and professional development. What started out as a desperate search to escape Corporate America became an addiction to learning and an obsession for growth. This quest led me on a path that completely changed the trajectory of my entire life. Then over the past couple of years, my searching took a major shift: I moved from wanting to know how to do or achieve certain things to a deep hunger for understanding the infinite capacity of what it means to be human. What potential do we really have? Do we even know what we’re truly capable of? What would it look like to actually step into our ultimate potential? My passion became learning how to maximize our God-given gifts of the human body, mind, and soul. How can we fully tap into the human experience? I started to entertain a crazy idea: what if we ALL have the capability of being superhuman? (After everything I’ve learned, there is absolutely no doubt that being human, is in fact, SUPER!)
So, with these questions as fuel, I started experimenting with different variables and exploring what self-imposed limitations I might have blindly been accepting on my own life. With this new lens on my decision-making process, I realized the need to change some of my priorities. For the purpose of this discussion, I’ll keep my focus to only physical health for now. I’m a high achiever by nature, I have massively large goals, dreams, missions, and visions, and I’ll need at least three lifetimes to experience them all. So, if I really had a hope of making a good dent in my list, then I needed to shift to a health priority of longevity.
I started looking at my daily life choices. It’s widely known that our life is simply the sum total of what we consume, think, say, and do. Thus, I began to examine each of these areas under my new microscope of longevity. My first major physical change was giving up coffee six years ago, followed by several other major changes after that one, and ending up with my most recent break-up: alcohol.
I’ll spare you the details and juicy stories unless you really want to know, but suffice to say that I lived out my life role of rebel preacher’s daughter in technicolor. But instead of growing out of it after college, I carried it with me into adulthood. It became a mainstay of my identity due to social conditioning and deep-rooted insecurities. I was never an alcoholic, but I was definitely living with it as an invisible lid on my life. I had absolutely no clue the amount of self-sabotage that was happening – for half my life.
In the book, Her Best Kept Secret, author Gabrielle Glasser explains the history of alcohol in America, how alcohol came to take such a prominent place in today’s society, and why women have recently surpassed men as the Western World’s biggest drinkers. The answer? Very strategic and aggressive marketing. Y’all. When I first woke up to this realization, I was so mad I could spit. It was such a massive eye opener for me that it honestly took my breath away as the impact of it sank in.
I had spent years proactively unplugging myself from the matrix of Big Food and Big Pharma, and this was no small feat. The social conditioning of what, when, and how to eat in our culture is so strong that it’s become more of a staple than the air we breathe – or at least you would think so based on how people protect their habits. And the funny thing is how my food choices make other people so uncomfortable. I’m not a food fanatic that tries to shove my agenda onto others. If you ask me what I eat and why, I’ll tell you. But I don’t wave a vegan flag or publicly attack/judge/criticize anyone else for what they do. However, the reality is that when anyone leaves the proverbial “pack” of any subculture, it forces everyone else in the pack to evaluate why they left, so it’s much easier to squelch the outlier than to look inward and search for truth. I’ve personally experienced this social “filtering” many times in my life: in business, religious beliefs, personal development, and physical health.
But back to alcohol. Why did it make me so mad that I had once again been duped by good marketing? I have nothing against good marketing. In fact, I love it. I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and I’ve always been fascinated by the best way to position a message and deliver maximum impact with the story one wants to communicate. But what chaps my hide is the manipulation of a message to the ultimate harm of the other party. You wanna craft a good story? Great. Write a catchy jingle? Fantastic. All well and good as long as the jingle is true. (Do you remember “The incredible edible egg”? The song we all sang along to as kids due to the amazing marketing of the poultry industry. Would you be interested to know that the advertising campaign was forced to settle for “incredible edible” because all of the other words they were trying to use for the egg (aka “healthy or safe”) were shot down by the USDA based on medical science and the actual proof of what an egg does to a human body)? But again, I digress.
You wanna know the top three industries globally? One: firearms and weaponry. Two: pharmaceuticals. Three: alcohol. (This is not a post on the pill-popping death of our society, so I’ll save my rant on that for another day.) But, don’t you find it interesting that the TOP THREE industries on the planet are all KILLING US? And here’s the sad truth: no one is “doing this to us”. We are doing it to ourselves. We created these monsters, and the only thing we can do about it is change where we put our money. Yep, money talks, y’all. Cash is King.
About seven decades ago, American marketers realized that women were a hugely untapped market in regard to alcohol. So, they began a targeted campaign (with Lucille Ball as their original spokesperson) that hasn’t stopped until today, convincing us that we need alcohol to:
- Have fun
- Fit in with the cool crowd
- Look beautiful/sexy/attractive/normal
- Compete in a man’s world
- Survive a date
- Survive a job
- Survive a marriage
- Survive parenthood
- Survive anything and everything
But here is the most important point: the alcohol industry isn’t to blame. It’s not the “marketers” fault. It’s our fault for being gullible consumers. It’s our fault for being blind followers. It’s our fault for allowing anyone else to do our thinking for us. Yes, it’s often challenging to find the truth. Yes, it’s extremely time consuming. Yes, it’s easier to follow the crowd. And yes, we “should” be able to trust our government and our healthcare professionals. But that world is a bygone era – it’s not the world we currently live in. And until we wake up to this cold, hard reality, we are going to continue to line up as sheep to the slaughterhouse at the hand of modern-day marketing, lining their bank accounts as we go.
We have become brainless robots in almost every area of life that actually matters:
- what we put into our bodies (food, drink, medicines)
- how we spend our time (glued to the TV watching other people achieve their dreams, instead of actually pursuing our own)
- how we educate the next generation (the world’s current education system is the only industry that has still survived, mostly unchanged for over 200 years)
Groupthink mentality has become an epidemic of staggering proportions. But I’m no longer naïve enough to think I can change the world with one blog post, and pointing out everything we’ve done wrong in the past century isn’t going to help either. So, where do we go from here?
In my opinion, we’ve gotta eat this big fat life elephant one bite at a time. And it starts with taking ownership for where we are, where we want to be, and how we plan to get there. It starts with individual awakening, individual responsibility, and individual action. It starts with doing some real soul searching. We must dig deep and uncover the real reasons for WHY we do what we do, in every area of life.
If you’re willing to unplug from the matrix, but not sure how to get started, here is a sample list of questions you can ask yourself. Take the time and see what you might uncover after some real reflection:
- Where have I become so deeply conditioned by society and programmed across past generations that I don’t know WHY I’m doing what I’m doing? In what areas of my life am I on autopilot? Why do I believe what I believe? Why do I eat what I eat, do what I do, drink what I drink? Is it really good for me? Am I using it to numb or self-medicate in any way? Am I emotionally attached to any substance outside myself? Can I relax without a glass of wine, beer, tonic? Can I have a great morning without a cup of coffee? Do I feel like I can’t be my best self without any specific outside substance?
- Do other people’s life choices and behaviors trigger me? If so, why? What beliefs or thought patterns am I resistant to? What am I afraid of? What do I feel the need to defend? (FYI, real truth doesn’t need defending!)
- Am I making conscious choices with what I eat, drink, think, say, and do? Or am I doing any of these things compulsively and unconsciously?
And last but not least, we must take ownership for the legacy we are leaving to the ones we love most.
Is an alcohol-dependent culture really one we want to gift? Is this the belief system that we really want to pass on to our children? The next generation should inherit a world where they think they can only succeed, relax, manage their emotions by numbing, self-medicating, or being dependent on an outside substance of any form? They can only survive or thrive if drinks are involved?
I know it sounds ridiculous when we put it in writing. But this is the world we have created. Look at every ad, movie, and music video for the past 20+ years. You can’t escape it. The funniest memes on social media are connected to drinking. Liquid courage and l’chaims are a part of kid culture today – what they expect to do as they grow up.
Check out this particular ad I found recently in Forbes:
It’s a beautiful ad with brilliant copywriting, and I honestly want to commend the marketing team at Hornitos. Again, they are not the bad guys, and I have no personal agenda against them. I just wish that juicing and clean eating were more appealing to the masses, so we could upgrade and replace the content!
Do I really need to drink tequila to be an awesome, courageous, cool, innovating, brilliant, trailblazing entrepreneur and pioneer? Of course not. But you have NO IDEA the power of social conditioning and subliminal messaging. It is a more powerful force than gravity, people. No joke.
So, in closing, I’d like to share with you my own slightly modified version of this ad:
Oh, if I could only harness the power of this brilliant marketing campaign to share a slightly different message:
If you REALLY wanna be an awesome, cool, innovative, brilliant, courageous, trailblazing pioneer, do the following:
- Dare to buck the crowd
- Invest in REAL health (emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically)
- Get some awesome mentors
- Learn what it means to really BE HAPPY & FULFILLED
- Strive to always do & be your best – never stop learning & growing
- Embrace the philosophy that true leadership means genuine service
- Never underestimate the power of good ol’ fashioned elbow grease
- Work HARD, but work smart
- Think outside the box
- Focus on solutions instead of problems and excuses
- Understand that kindness and compassion really are enough to change YOU – and change the world
Like I said in yesterday’s vlog, I have zero judgement for where you stand morally or religiously with this topic. What matters to me is WHY we’re doing what we’re doing. Especially for my like-minded, high achieving friends around the world: if we really want to experience our ultimate potential, is it helping us to continuously ingest mind- and body-numbing substances?
I do NOT wanna go down in a pile of potential. I want to lick up every last drop of life that this world has to offer. I want to leave no lesson unlearned, no experience unlived, no person unloved, and no day unfulfilled.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to never touch another drop of alcohol or coffee or anything else. Just check yourself as you do it: is it a conscious choice, or a compulsive one?
From one high-achieving, soul-searching, hot mess to another…we got this!
All my love,
PS: If this topic is of interest to you, let me know by replying or commenting. If you’d like to Dig Deeper into this concept, I can share tons from my own personal experience of how I was introduced to the world of alcohol, how long I was ensnared by the trap, and how I finally was able to break free. (I’ll just pray that my Mom won’t read that article…it would probably give her a heart attack. 🙂 )
PSS: I’m now the founder of a brand new school system and a religious school. Shouldn’t I keep my mouth shut and play the part of perfect, quiet, well-behaved educator? Just the opposite! I believe it’s my duty to use my life experiences to share genuine life lessons with the next generation. Everyone has a past. Only a few are brave enough to confront it and channel it into their next level of life. I’m trying my best to become one of them.