Toxic Masculinity – Phil’s Naked Life
Phil was living a life where toxic masculinity was poisoning him. This Naked Mind was one of the tools that allowed him to embrace healthy masculinity instead.
Toxic Masculinity -> Healthy Masculinity
I love the opening line from Goodfellas, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” I wanted to be a gangster, or a cowboy, or a fireman, soldier, roughneck, rock star, the list goes on. I knew, from absurdly early in my development that I was a MAN. This often ridiculous complex I developed has made my life wonderful, terrible, fun, painful, but never ever boring.
The first drink
I had my first beer at about 12 or 13. I found a Bud Light that my brother had left in a very hot old sun-room that had been converted to storage. 100 degrees easy. As you can imagine it was absolutely disgusting. But I’m a MAN, remember? Men drink beer, fight, curse, and spit tobacco. As a freshman in high school I went to my first house party, this was perhaps my first drink of liquor, but I can’t remember. By my senior year I was well versed in the joys of Taaka and Redbull, Bud Light Lime had just come out, Jager was all the rage. I even remember drinking in school, just sitting in class sipping on a “road soda” of vodka and Dr. Pepper.
One day the really cute girl that sat next to me said “what’s wrong? You were so much more fun yesterday.” I was drunk the day before. And there it is folks. I got two different tattoos over the years directly related to alcohol. “A drop of the pure” is written on my forearm, the joke being if I’m passed out on the bar, head resting on my arm, I’ll still be asking for one more glass of whiskey. I also have a beautiful neo traditional piece on my stomach of an Old Fashioned with the words “Don’t count Daddy’s drinks.” MEN drink, I’m a MAN.
The Ultimate MAN Job
I joined the Army. Kill kill kill. I loved it, it was the world of men. I was a medic in a combat engineer company. For the uninitiated, “Doc” is the greatest job in the Army. If you are a grunt at heart, ready to lay down fire on the line; shoot, move, communicate, and kill with your brothers but also ready to instantly run into the lead to drag one of their sorry asses to cover and plug the holes, they worship you. Doc never pays for a drink. The plunge into toxic masculinity continued for me.
Going down, down
I got out of the Army in 2016, disillusioned with the global war on terror. Reeling from PTSD. I couldn’t work for anyone, I remember working for Lowe’s and just walking away one day. I was drinking between 375 to 750ml of liquor a night. The credit card debt piled up. Depression, Anger, Anxiety. Just keep me dead, keep me not fucking thinking. I very slowly recovered, grew up. I “controlled” my drinking by only buying a 375 at a time. Of course I always drank it all but at least that was all I had on hand. This continued until a few weeks ago when I read a Reddit thread where someone suggested This Naked Mind. I bought the book but didn’t read it right away.
Ending the toxic masculinity
One day I was drinking my normal seven dollar bottle of rum and I had a novel thought “you know what? I don’t even enjoy this.” That prompted me to finally open the book. Holy Shit, She gets it! A non AA approach to quitting? This exists!? You mean I don’t have to spend the rest of my life either dead to the world drunk or telling myself I’m a leper with no control depending on a god I don’t believe in and a sponsor who’s going to 13th step me into an MLM or some eyes wide shut freak fest?
Nothing in the book was new to me. I was a psychology major in college, I did a lot of research on the effects of my favorite drug, I read a lot of neuroscience and psychology news. None of it was new, but all of it was affirming. It’s just so well formulated. So methodical.
Tired of the toxic masculinity yourself? Start reading This Naked Mind for free today and experience the shift!
While losing the desire to drink has been the latest step in my journey to healthy masculinity it’s only one of many. I still have that voice that always reminds me to be a MAN. It has evolved though. I don’t lift weights to get chicks or punch harder now. I do it to calm my mind, protect my family, and maybe just a little is about intimidating the protesters at the abortion clinic where I volunteer. It’s a relief to recover from my PTSD, the VA helped a lot. I built a handyman business where I get to improve the world a little bit every day. Most notably, I earned a teaching certificate and will start teaching high school next semester. My goal is to mentor young men and help them embrace the good parts and avoid the bad parts of their biology.
Share Your Story
I’m now five months without alcohol. I feel strong and determined and more resolute now than ever to create the life I want and deserve. Marcus Aurelius taught me to reflect. And now you Annie, you taught me that drinking isn’t a measure of my manhood. You taught me that I wasn’t conquering an enemy by devouring it with a smile and no hangover. It was conquering me. It fucking owned me, and a MAN cannot be owned, he is no MAN while he is a slave. I am no longer a slave. I am a better MAN than I have ever been thanks to you.
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