Our favorite furry-faced friend, Scott Pinyard – the head coach at This Naked Mind – is BACK to answer some frequently asked coaching questions. Today, Scott unpacks 4 questions that SO many of us can relate to! Ever experienced FOMO? Most of us have. Find out what Scott says about his own FOMO when he quit drinking. Scott answers these 4 FAQ’s with so much knowledge and clarity and gives you tips on how to navigate through the questions of your naked life!
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Fear of Missing Out
Question number one. “I feel like I have a split personality when it comes to alcohol. On one hand, I get excited about the freedom of being alcohol-free. But on the other hand, I get major FOMO,” and that’s fear of missing out, “when I think about never drinking again in certain situations. Did you experience this and does it go away after you’ve gone through enough experiences to realize you don’t need or miss it?”
What a fantastic question. And oh yes did I experience it. And it makes perfect sense. We are in a society that has a lot of alcohol. So at certain events you think of … I’m sure you could write a huge list, right? But the events that I like to list the most are weddings, and parties, and baseball games, and getting together with friends. There are so many of our social events and cultural events that alcohol is connected to. And it’s the message that we’ve been given over and over that when you’re an adult, this is how you have fun. You’re going to go to a concert. Of course, you’re going to buy a few beers. You’re going to go to a ball game. Obviously, you’re going to sit there and drink a couple Coors Lights. That’s the message we’re all given. So what happens is when we consider taking that away, part of us is saying, “Wait a minute. But I’m not really going to experience this. I’m not really going to be part of the group.” That’s where the fear of missing out comes from.
What are you missing out on?
I remember very acutely experiencing this the first time I had to go to a business sort of mixer at a bar when I first quit drinking. I was terrified. Scared about how I was going to do. And I was really scared about the fact that everyone else in this room was going to have a good time and I wasn’t, that I was going to be missing out on some key element. The reality was I went, and I had a great time. Once I was able to get past that fear, once I was able to start experiencing the event without alcohol and realizing, “Oh wait. This really isn’t that bad or, frankly, that much different,” I started to have a much better time. So yes, fear of missing out is very common. It can feel intense at first, and that’s okay. But the reality is that it does go away.
It gets better
Does this go away after you’ve gone through enough experiences to realize you don’t need or miss it? The answer is yes. It’s like anything else. When we expose ourselves to the situation without alcohol, it feels a little strange at first. Then, we have the event, and then we go to another event, again, without alcohol. It feels strange, but not as strange as the first time. And as time goes on, that just becomes the new normal.
Another example I can give you on this is I used to come home every day from work and the first thing I did was I poured a drink, very first thing as soon as I came in the door. The idea of coming home from work and not pouring a drink was scary to me. I had all these questions in my head about how was I going to relax? How was I going to unwind from the day? How is this going to change my routine? But the reality of it is once you expose yourself to it a few times, it just becomes normal. Now, the idea of coming home from work and pouring a drink seems so foreign to me. This can happen fairly quickly. It’s just a matter of how often you’re in that situation that you’re afraid of missing out on.
The last thing I’ll talk about is a concept called cognitive dissonance. That’s part of what you feel when you do this. There’s this idea of, “Wow, I really don’t want to drink,” on one hand and then, “Man, I do want to drink,” or I’m going to be missing out, or there’s reasons to drink on the other hand. This cranks up the stress on us, and it can feel like we have a split personality, like you mentioned. The way to get clarity on that is to go to the event and make one choice or the other. You can’t go to event and not drink and drink at the same time, right? Either you do it or you don’t. It’s really amazing what you discover when you choose not to drink.
One of my favorite exercises for people to do is go and watch others who are drinking. I love this because we very often have this idea that, oh, when people drink, they get happier and they seem to have fun. That’s what a lot of FOMO is about, is I’m going to be missing out on that fun. But if you go to a function and you pay close attention, don’t drink and pay close attention to what happens to people, you’re going to be very surprised, even after the first round. Which if you are drinking as much as I was, I thought, “Ah, that first drink doesn’t even affect me,” right? But you will see people change. You’ll see their posture kind of change. They might be a little more relaxed. Their face is going to change. Their speech starts changing. All of these things start happening and you realize, “Wait a minute. Maybe this isn’t what it was cracked up to be.” Observing people who drink can be a very, very powerful way of figuring out, are you actually missing out on things?
This fear comes from our conditioned social experience. We’re raised in a culture where alcohol is everywhere. It’s supposed to be at birthday parties, and weddings, and funerals, and ballgames, and business events, and the list goes on and on. Very often, this fear is driven by an idea, by a subconscious belief that you need to have alcohol to have fun or you need to have alcohol to enjoy this event. One of the things we do at This Naked Mind is we work on those subconscious beliefs. We give you tools to actually dig into those, locate those, and address them. It’s not necessarily saying that beliefs are right or wrong. The question is, do these beliefs suit me anymore, and is this the way I want to live? So if that is you and you are having FOMO, do not worry. It does not last forever. As time goes on, you’re going to feel better and better being alcohol-free. I hope that helps with your question.
Listen to the complete podcast for more on the fear of missing out, dealing with boredom and more questions!
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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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