Sober since April 6, 2006


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Is it really a good idea to fake it?

We had a discussion in a women's AA meeting yesterday about how important it is to simply "fake it" sometimes. Suit up and show up. Smile when it hurts. Do the next right thing, no matter how you feel.

Why? They say that your emotions follow your behavior. If you feel like you want to isolate, behave as if you didn't want to isolate: go to a meeting and call other alcoholics.

If you want to be happy, act happy. "Fake it until you make it!" That makes sense ...

BUT ...

It seems that over the past year, the tight-knit local AA community here has lost many people to relapse and suicide. And of these people, none of them showed any sign that they were having problems. They were so busy "faking it".

So I wonder if it's really the best advice to toss out there in a discussion meeting with newcomers? Or maybe I've just been thinking about it too much.

Today, I'm grateful for ...

  • being 87 days sober
  • the program of AA
  • AA friends, online and off
  • the uber cool people who read my blog
  • my awesome boyfriend
  • my wonderful and loving family
  • my sweet puppydog
  • being loved
  • God, who never runs out of things for me to learn


BigSkymAAck said...

One day at a time and 2 more makes 90. A real milestone

Anonymous said...

Hummmmmm :-)

Shannon said...

really good question to pounder
I have been sober a few 24hrs and have been poundering this a lot lately
I think the fake it till you make has its ups and downs.. and to complicated to explain
I was told a lot act (as in taking action) your way into right thinking and that works best I think
LIKE I feel bummed out and NORMALLY I would isolate, but I would go (action) to a meeting, or read, or pray, or call my sponsor or someone
BUT I AGREE this pretending all is well is not safe (I dont think so anyways) from personal expierence.
I am glad you ahve 88 days sober when you posted this... right on
and good topic

new_eyes said...

This bothers me, too, and we've also had a couple of suicides in the last year. It's an idea as old as generations "smile and the world smiles with you", and it's new too, based in Rational Recovery, which insists that feelings aren't 'real'.

Any blanket statement is going to be false, but we're dealing with a slogan. The idea, for me, is to be patient and "fake" in the sense you attend meetings, read the book whether you're sold on it or not yet, and of course get a sponsor. You may not want to go to meetings, you may have the 'wrong motive' for going to meetings: that doesn't matter, so long as you go.

But "faking" in the sense of hiding your feelings, or never expressing your doubts, is not what they mean.

Our suicides were perhaps 'faking' in the sense that they weren't sharing just how deeply hopeless they were. And with both of them it was after a simple relapse, for which they felt entirely too much shame. Though they admitted to the groups that they'd relapsed, they displayed a sort of attitude like, "it's ok , I'm back now, going to meetings".

(At one year, I still have basic questions like yours. For instance with a relapser, isn't it to be expected that they'll have to hit bottom again, or at least that they're in great danger of hitting bottom again? Now after these tragedies (which shocked the hell out of us, and the feeling of shock seemed to GROW rather than lessen over time) I always wish the person would have themselves committed, or even arrested, to start at step one again.

Because after all , don't we know that the liklihood is that one drink will lead to a spree and possible death?)

Thanks for your post, and also for your visit the other day! Keep makin' it, the promises do come true.


Happy July 4th!
I see you,

dAAve said...

I've faked it many times. For that to work, one must take action as well, or it's meaningless.

tkdjunkie said...

Yup, knowing when to fake it and when NOT to fake it is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Thank you for sharing your ideas, everyone :)

SCoUt said...

I was taught this---another way to think of fake it til you make it is to "act as if". And I learned that mainly applies to the 2nd step. I was to act as if I DID believe that, if there was a G-d, that G-d would restore me to sanity just like others in the program.
In general, I was taught that it applies as someone else said above, that we are acting our way into a new way of thinking, and not the other way around.
But faking our feelings, faking our true identities, etc. is a form of the very dishonestly that is at the core of some our self-centeredness. Honesty is the antidote. Faking or acting is not gonna do us much good in most areas.
Just what one woman learned from another.......