When I was a budding teenager as we all were at one time, I had an edge to me and also naivety. I thought I knew it all and looking back, in hindsight I might have – at least when it came to sense of self. I use to argue with people about normalcy. This projected idea that I had to be “normal.” This continuous theme permeated my home from my mother and followed me throughout my day. The “normal” category goes deep into the school caste system that has existed throughout the ages in various forms. It will never likely go away, but in my youth we had – jocks, music geeks, metal heads, dead heads/hippies, popular girls, the smart kids (honor kids), burn-outs, etc… I was kind of a mix. I was a music geek, in the popular/smart kid crowd but from an outward appearance I was trendy and had an attitude. I was also insecure, sad and anxious. I remember saying to people “what is normal? When confronted with that dreaded question ‘can’t you just be normal?’ as our parents sometimes like to say, I’d bristle. ‘Define normal’ I would say. I can even SEE myself now full of resentment and irritability with an ounce of hurt.
That little voice inside of me also saying – ‘maybe I am not normal.’ Put this thought on top of anxiety, trauma and insecurity and you have the beginnings of an addict in the making. How else will I calm those fears and doubts? How else would I find my footing enough to be secure?
So at that time my mantra would be “define normal” the pressure of conforming to some ideal by whoever was on projecting side was elusive to me way back in my formative years as a young impressionable person.
Flash forward through 25 years of numbing and progressively ‘normalizing’ into my drinking, I forgot that there was this considerable quotient to being a normal person and that definition blurred itself over the years. It pretty much didn’t exist until I stopped drinking and I heard the term ‘normie.’
Basically, the difference between an alcoholic and non-alcoholics is that we have a different set of triggers and allergies and behaviors that define us. This definition doesn’t change when we quit drinking either. For some of us, our behaviors may get worse as time goes on. Our coping methods get more obscure. They could take the form of anger or other addictive behaviors that manifest. For others in recovery, we might find a spiritual outlet to cope against our insecurities and fears. So, what does the ‘normie’ do? Well, they can handle their alcohol. That we know. They are so annoying. Annoying in the fact they can drink or annoying in the fact that I can’t at all? Yes, as an alcoholic – we can’t drink at all. We can’t take one. The concept of “one and done” takes on a whole other meaning for an alcoholic. The ‘normie’ isn’t immune to inner fears, trauma, insecurities, etc…they also have their demons and challenges. For some reason, they just are able to channel the direction of those feelings in other ways. They may also have the same “sobering” behaviors we do. They might be abusive. They might be negative and miserable. They might have other disorders we don’t see. The only thing we “alcoholics” usually see is, how come they don’t drink like I do?
So it comes down to this. I’d rather be my own definition of self. I don’t look at my behaviors or my outward appearance or my thinking as abnormal or normal. I don’t define it because in reality; the question I asked when I was younger – DEFINE NORMAL.