For someone suffering from alcoholism, it can seem like the entire world is trying to remind them to drink. Every thought already circles around alcohol, and now each action can further draw connections. Well, sadly, this is pretty much true — alcohol is, in fact, just about everywhere around us. Knowing this, though, can at least help to create a bit more of a comfortable environment for deciding how to progress as a recovering alcoholic. Avoiding the commonplace nature of alcohol may help begin the dissociation process with drinking and daily life.
Advertisements, commercials, sponsorships, and even society norms and constructs all draw parallels between certain practices or events and alcohol. These connections bring into view a positive relationship, by design. Yet this design is not geared towards someone recovering from alcohol — the companies typically couldn’t care less. Rather, companies attempt to draw these connections to portray, even if falsely, that alcohol and having a good time go hand in hand. They also often conveniently gloss over all the dangers that drinking brings with it. Be aware that these companies do not have the best intentions at heart, especially when it comes to recovering alcoholics.
In order to begin disassociating alcohol from daily life, first identify where alcohol is taking place. Unfortunately, that’s practically everywhere. It can be impossible to escape commercials involving alcohol. When it comes to the most sought-after ad spots on television, during the annual Super Bowl, Anheuser-Busch typically runs multiple commercials for the audience during the year’s big game. These commercials do not come cheap, and they very rarely depict someone with a hangover, falling down stairs, or tripping over their own feet.
The purpose of this, of course, is to sell more of their beers — but also to begin to draw associations between drinking their product and going to the beach, the park, or hanging out with friends. Sometimes, these commercials include horses, as well. Ultimately, the marketing campaign effectively draws a connection to just about any conceivable activity or farm animal. Drawing these connections begets the ultimate goal: creating an undeniable correlation between consuming alcohol whenever one of these events is taking place.
Despite running multiple ads during the Super Bowl, Bud Light is the official sponsor and partner of the NFL. Bud Light itself is a product of Anheuser-Busch, along with Michelob, Rolling Rock, LandShark, Shock Top, Busch, and a myriad of other products. A person just wanting to watch a sporting event can be blindsided by multiple commercials for various different beers during a commercial break, only to be welcomed back to the scheduled programming by yet another sponsorship of yet another alcoholic beverage. Companies are aggressive, and have been incredibly successful in having sporting events and alcohol go hand in hand. This is not just limited to the NFL either; the NBA is sponsored by Budweiser, NHL by Molson Coors, and even Wimbledon is sponsored by Stella Artois.
So why is knowing all of this important? Well, as mentioned earlier, acknowledging these connections and their malintent is the first step in disassociating drinking these beverages from certain activities and events. While nobody is suggesting that one should cut out all activities that they love, such as sports, going to the beach, and staring lovingly into the eyes of a Clydesdale, knowing that these companies do not have altruistic means at heart is a step in the right direction. Disassociation between these things also holds power in one other category: the ability to say “no.”
Knowing these factors, engaging in even watching a sporting event, and doing so while sober and still enjoying something that is loved and enjoyed is one of the most empowering ways to say “no.” Standing (sitting) in defiance of every message sent to entice one to drink can be a great test in denying the urge to drink. Due to the veritable onslaught of alcohol-driven advertisements on the screen, these situations may be better off avoided until there is a strategy in place to deal with the imagery, and a strength of self to be able to say “no.” Then it transforms from a test of wills, to one of the greatest successes one can experience in the path to recovering from addiction: enjoying life for life and the hobbies therein while of sober mind and body.
No part of the process is easy, and that is intentional according to drugs and alcohol. Some of the most trying times in recovery can also double as trophies of the strongest wills and successes. Looking at the world around and finding these successes can be the boost that one may need to continue their treatment. When it feels like the entire world is shrinking down, and alcohol is always on the mind, take note of that. Not just for the truth that the imagery really can be everywhere, but also because you should count each minute living in a world that is stacked with deceptive imagery as a victory against using. Then, it is victory that becomes hard to ignore.
No part of the recovery process is done alone. Finding a treatment plan that works for each individual is an undertaking that can be long and difficult. For each stage of recovery, The Kimberly Center is there to guide you or your loved one through the process and all the issues that addiction brings with it. To speak to a professional today, contact us at (885) 452-3683. We offer residence programs, outpatient programs, and ongoing care with the goal of a fulfilling life of sobriety.