Last week I received a DM on Instagram from someone I’d never communicated with before. This person said: 

I was perplexed, confused, and angry by this message. So, I replied. 

Check out this week’s minisode to hear what I said in response, what I think we can all learn from this person’s DM to me, and why this message rubbed me the wrong way. 

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Recovery Series

Book recommendations:
You know how I love a good personal development book, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!  

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Andrea  00:00
You're listening to Make Some Noise minisode number 483.

Andrea  00:11
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcastt, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of podcast, another minisode. I'm so glad that you're here. I'm just grateful that you're here. I will try to make this short and sweet. And I really went back and forth with making this a minisode. But I'm like, why not? I like to be as transparent as possible but then other times I'm like Andrea was not appropriate to tell your podcast audience? The other thing is that I like to talk to you about ways that I'm making some noise in my life and also how to set boundaries. So this is sort of the sort of encompasses all three of those things.

All right. So before I jump in, if you work in a company that has trainings and events and conferences and things like that, and you're looking for a speaker, I might be your lady. I have some keynotes on confidence. I have a new keynote, actually, it's lessons I learned from roller derby. It's about mental health, it's about confidence, and it's about resilience. And yeah, connect with me on LinkedIn. I am over there. I think it's like HeyAndreaOwen, if you type that in, and you can find me and we can connect, and we can message each other. And it'll be fantastic.

All right, on with the show. I got a message on Instagram, someone slid into my DMs. And you know, if you're familiar with Instagram, you know how you can you have like your regular inbox, and I don't know if it's like this in all accounts, or if it's because I'm like a business account, but there's the primary account and there's general account and then there's like, the filtered messages where when people message you it's kind of like the other folder on Facebook, it goes into this other folder, and you have to click on it. I am not explaining it very well. But you know, it's the people that you don't follow. Okay, I guess that's how it works. I don't go in there that often, partly because most of the time it's bots, or it's people cold pitching me, they want to sell me something and 95% of the time, it's something that I don't even want or need. So I don't look in there. And every once in a while, or if it's someone shared my book on their stories, like of course I'll open those. But every once in a while I get a message that's weird. Not necessarily unkind, but just odd. And I got one of those about a week ago. So I opened it up, and this person follows me, but we had never messaged before, and she doesn't have her name in her profile. The profile name, I'm not going to say it, but it has something to do with wine. That's all I'm gonna say. And she says, ‘Hi, Andrea. I listened to a podcast where you described dreaming about having a drink, but you quit years ago. I used to drink every day. Now I drink occasionally. It's fine. However, I quit eating meat in 2012. And frankly, I will never go back. My comment is, life should be about discipline, not deprivation. And if you want to have a glass of wine once in a blue moon, who cares? I don't dream about eating a steak or a pork chop, so don't beat yourself up for a single serving of wine, etc.’ And she didn't sign it, her name or anything.

So my first reaction was okay, literally my first reaction was what the actual fuck? And then my second thought was why did I open this message? And then my third thought was that I'm really fucking pissed off. Then my fourth that was Andrea do not respond, do not respond. Or if you're going to respond, wait a day. And so did I tell you guys that I hadn't had a period for like 78 days? So that day sort of a period. So guess what I did? Okay, here's the multiple choice A) Do you think I just deleted it? B) Do you think that I thought about it and got the advice of a couple of friends and then decided what to do or C) Do you think I knee jerk reaction immediately replied. If you guessed the letter C, you are correct.

Okay, I'm not going to make this minisode super long. Here's what I said. And I want to say this when it comes to responding to strange messages. And this goes, this is my advice, whether you have a platform, a social media platform or not. In other words, like, you know, if you're well known in your industry or not, I think this is this is stellar advice. I've always thought to myself, okay, if I respond to someone, and they take screenshots of it and share it, would I be mortified with the fact that they shared it and what I said, or what I stand behind what I typed out to them? That's always what I think about. Okay, so I said, ‘Thanks?’ with the question mark. Like, do I? Am I gonna say thank you? I said, ‘I'm a legitimate alcoholic. So I cannot ever have a single serving of wine. You say, if you want to have a glass of wine once in a blue moon, who cares? Well, I do very, very much, and so does my family. I'm sure your intention was good with your message, and to be honest, I usually don't reply. But I felt compelled because flippant messages like yours to people in recovery, like me, are dismissive and hurtful. Take care.’

Okay, am I super proud of that response? No, I'm not. Was I mean, no, v=but it could have been better. And I probably shouldn't have replied right away. And I want to say a couple of things. First, I want to say, I don't recommend replying right away, I shouldn't have. But I felt compelled to because it sounds like this person legitimately does not understand the difference between what they struggle with and what I struggle with. And one of the things that I've learned over the last handful of years, maybe over the last decade, is that, and I've been this way before, this is why I'm sharing. Like I've been guilty of this. Sometimes when we don't experience something, like if we don't experience…if a man doesn't experience sexism, or if we don't experience ableism, or racism, or any of these things that that are challenging for some people, sometimes we feel like it doesn't exist. You know, it's like, if we can't see it, we don't experience it. We don't ever think about it. So this is many times, I think, why people don't believe other people's stories and experiences. And that's what I feel like was happening with this person because she allegedly I have no idea, doesn't experience the same kind of addiction that I do, then to her doesn't make any sense.

And one of the main reasons I wanted to share this is because I think that this is fairly common. And I have been sober for 11 years and still I get people that say…that are confused, like, can't you just have one drink? Here's what I want to say to that. My longer explanation is this. I absolutely can have one drink. I sure as shit can. And I would be miserable. I would have the one drink just to prove to you and to myself, that I can do it. And I mean, that day, I might be totally fine, but I would be thinking about having more. And then by having that one drink, I would be like, okay, see, I can just have one drink. And then the next day, I might be like, I can have a drink. And then I'm gonna have two because if I can have one, I can have two. It's not that big of a deal. It's about discipline, not to probation, right? As my, my happy DMer said. And then if I'm like at a social gathering, or even just having a one-on-one conversation with someone, and I decide, like, I'm just going to have the one drink because I can have just one drink like a normal drinker, like a normal, responsible drinker, I'm gonna have the one drink, and then I'm gonna be constantly thinking about having another drink. I'm not going to be engaged or present in the conversation with this person or people if I'm at a gathering. I'm going to be obsessing on their drink. I'm going to be obsessing on Should I have another one and if I have another one, should I get a bigger glass so I can fill it up more?

This is this is mindset of someone who struggles with addiction, and I think one of the most eye opening things for me. When I was researching, like, do I have a problem with alcohol? It's not the quantity because that's what we want the answer to be. It's like well, I only have x number of drinks per week. And according to the CDC, actually, why number is the problem. It's not me, it's, it's not it's not really the quantity, it's the mental, just the mindfuck, that happens, the mental gymnastics that we have to do, in order to justify our are drinking. It is the life that begins to revolve around the drinking or whatever the addiction is. And for me, it was taking a mental inventory, or an actual inventory of the amount of alcohol that I had in the house. And then deciding, like, tonight, I'm only going to have, you know, I'm only gonna have this much, and then I would only have that much. And then it would be like, well, and then you kind of tip over the edge into like being pretty buzzed and you're like, well, I think it's fine. If I just have like, I'm just gonna have one more, I'm gonna have one more and then like, the one more is like, you fill up the entire wine glass. And then you're like, well, there's only like an inch left in the bottle. So let me just like throw that back, we're not even gonna bother to put it in the glass. And then by that time, like, you're pretty buzzed and then maybe your partner wants to have a drink with you, or everybody goes to bed, and you're like, I'm just gonna have one more because everybody's in bed nuts where you know, then that's when I used to start DM’ing people, and then it was just bad news bears.

But at any rate, like that's kind of like one of the points that I wanted to make of, no, we can't it's not about discipline. If it was about discipline, we would all be okay. What didn't we? And it just like, it's appalling to me to that somebody would message me and compare my addiction to their preference to not eat meat. Like what? I mean, that tells me that this person doesn't have any understanding of what addiction is whether they purposely don't want to have any understanding of it or if they do understand, I don't know, doesn't matter. And I feel somewhat guilty about using this as an example. But I just kept thinking about it and kept thinking about it and I'm like, no, I do think that there are some people listening who, who might learn something from it.

And also, another point that I wanted to make was, I think we all need to pause before we insert ourselves, in other people's experiences. And Lord knows, I have done this so many times, and especially when it comes to race, I have centered myself an embarrassingly amount of times. And in this case, this person inserted herself in something that was not an adequate comparison to. And it and it was hurtful to me. It just it felt dismissive and it was just…it was hard for me to believe that somebody would compare their preference to not eat meat, to my legitimate addiction.

And an additional reason I wanted to bring this to minisode is because I think that whether it's directly or indirectly, it's beliefs like that, that create even more shame and stigma for people who are struggling in their addiction, or even people who are in recovery, because it can point to it being a moral failing, or, you know, you just need more discipline, can't just be more disciplined, and just have one. I mean, I just don't eat meat anymore. Like it's just not I don't dream about eating meat. I don't dream about eating a pork chop or a steak.

Anyway, it's not a moral failing. I have had some moral failings in my life. I have made some bad choices and I have been irresponsible. I've been irresponsible with money, I've been irresponsible with people's hearts, I've been irresponsible in my choices in my relationships, I've been even irresponsible as a parent. But when you have an active addiction, it is so much more than that to anyway, I don't know if I'm doing an adequate job of explaining this or making my point. I hope that I am. And if nothing else, I was hoping to have some camaraderie for those of you who are in long term recovery or even are thinking about quitting alcohol or whatever it is. And also for anyone who is still kind of struggling to understand what addiction looks like and feels like.

I think also my last point is that we probably can all do a better job of listening to other people's experiences and just believing them for what they are. And if we might think that we have a comparison that we have an adequate comparison, maybe not DM people about it, maybe either keep it to ourselves or… And I think that sometimes it's worth having a conversation, if you know that person, like if this was my friend, and they were like, helped me understand this because I quit eating meat in 2012 and it feels like is it? Do you think it might be the same? Do you think it might be different? Like, I am happy to have a conversation with someone, if they approach it in that way, instead of making statements like this person did?

Anyway, moral of the story is maybe don't reply to interesting messages the day you start your period after you've skipped some periods. That's my advice. You're welcome. And also, yeah, we're going to have another recovery theme coming up here. Let's see, I think at the very end of this year, or maybe the beginning of 2023, and I'm gonna have, I'm gonna try to get on all different kinds of people in recovery from different things, and also some experts on it and, and things like that. And so if you want to hear my recovery series that I did, I don't think I've done it since 2016. It's been a minute. If you go to AndreaOwen.com/recovery, all of the episodes are there. You can probably just listen from there and figure out like which ones they are. And thank you for listening. Thank you for putting up with me while I kind of break this down and, and sort of think out loud and sort of process it. Process it with you my beloved podience, as they're called. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate that you choose to spend it with me. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans, whether that's in recovery or not, and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.

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