The Other Side of ‘Fake it ‘Til You Make it’… and Other Nonsense That Contributed to My Alcoholism and Anxiety.

 

I got into the sales side of car business when I was eighteen years old, I was a porter (washed cars) before that. At first, I was nervous when I was talking to customers, so I thought that sales might not be for me. I thought I was a pretty confident kid, but I was learning very quickly that I wasn’t. I really liked the car business because these guys were always laughing, joking, and playing around. I was good at that! The thought of not being successful in sales made me feel horrible about myself because I wouldn’t get to be a part of that camaraderie if I was fired. I was sitting at a bar with another salesman, he knew the place, so my age didn’t matter, and I asked him how he was able to be so successful selling cars. I didn’t have ANY idea what success was. None. He started telling me story after story about how fun it was going out after work, getting shitfaced, and coming back the next day to do it all over again. Sound crazy? To me, it was normal because that’s how I grew up. I hated alcohol and the thought of drinking when I was a kid because of what I saw it did to my parents, but he made it sound appealing. I asked him how he could do that day in and day out and he just said, “fake it ‘til you make it kid.”

He explained what it meant, and my eyes grew wider as I really began to pay attention. I believed that I was just enlightened about the way you’re supposed to drink and just figured my parents were doing it wrong all those years. “Act as if” was another big saying that everyone used. Act as if you already have everything you want, like the big house, cars, clothes, watches, jewelry, boats, money, and more. So that’s what I tried to do, I acted like I was the top salesperson in front of customers and it started to work. A lot of salespeople came and went, but they were all saying the same thing, “fake it ‘til you make it.” For many years I used this method because I thought it gave me the confidence I needed to talk to customers and close deals. After a while, I didn’t know what I was faking anymore, and I definitely didn’t know what I was making or if I had made it yet. I wasn’t a bad person but my actions, my goals, my hopes and dreams, were all in a loop of pure bullshit. I was faking not being hung over from the last night and I usually didn’t have any money left so I was faking having that too. I was literally faking myself out to the point that I didn’t know what I was even supposed to fake anymore. There was just too much going on to decipher what the hell was happening.

I 100% did NOT believe this was true at the time when I was doing it. That’s very important to understand, because that’s what made it so hard to recognize what the hell I was doing. The other reason it’s important is because you may be doing the same thing and not even realize it’s happening. You don’t have to be like me, going through detox multiple times and having seizures from withdrawal, to be in serious trouble with alcohol. Acting like I didn’t have a problem made me hide my alcoholism. Any time someone would say something about me drinking, I would dismiss it and tell myself that they had no clue what they were talking about. These people were close to me, usually girlfriends, or family members, but the guys I hung out with were more impressed by how much damage we could do to ourselves so that’s the direction I took. It felt good to impress people, but what who was I impressing and what was I impressing them with? We consistently told stories of how we don’t remember getting home, or how bad we felt the next morning and we were proud of it. It sounds like insanity and I believe now that it is.

This behavior led me to always want to be someone else. For example, when I watch the Sopranos, I wanted to be Tony Soprano. He was a strong confident guy that had weaknesses but kept overcoming them to run the family. The problem is that it was a TV show and I must’ve been out of my mind. I did that with a lot of things I saw. I would try and emulate characters I watched and never really looked in the mirror to see who I really was. This stemmed from having very little confidence in my own life, and as I found out, it started much earlier than when I got into the car business. I grew up with fear of not having some of the basic necessities, and parents that were alcoholics. The mortgage company, utility companies, and bill collectors were always calling the house and we weren’t allowed to answer the phone for that reason. I realized that my mom and dad were just as scared as adults, as I was as a kid. I wanted to be every other kid that had what I thought was a good home life. It’s not healthy to be a child and so uncomfortable in your own skin. I believed that there was no hope because it was just the hand I was dealt. That’s why I faked it. I seemed to be doing okay faking it for a while, but there was no purpose to what I was doing. I had to ask myself what my end game was and couldn’t come up with any answers, only nonsense.

My experiences are not much different than anyone else’s you see these days. Everyone is worried about their haters and how people perceive them. Do you really have haters, or did you just make them up in your head because it feels good to prove people wrong? Who would your haters be anyway? Would it matter if you knew that 99.9999999% of people on this planet don’t give two shits about what you’re doing with your life or who you’re trying to prove wrong? Because that’s the truth of it all. We try to step over people ‘get ours’ and lose real relationships with real people in the process.

The reason all of this has to do with alcoholism is because excessive drinking is just another way to cover up who we really are, or who we really strive to be. This was happening even before I knew I had a problem with alcohol. I don’t ask my son what he want’s to be when he grows up anymore. I ask him who he is right now and what he would like to do to become better at the things he likes to do. Perhaps now, we can make an epigenetic switch from alcoholism running in the family, to being successful as a healthy human being running in the family. My goals have certainly changed from wanting material things, to creating a stable environment for myself and my son so we can grow from there. I haven’t made a dollar with this blog yet, but it feels good to write it, especially with all the positive feedback I’ve received already. I hope to keep moving in this direction, so I can make it a very successful career. With the right goals of helping people first and worrying about money later, I’m very certain that I will succeed. If life takes me in a different direction, that’s okay because as long as it feels right in my heart, I’ll never not succeed. I have so many people, and business skills I learned over the past 25 years that I feel like I can be myself and accomplish anything I want. For the first time in my life, I know this to be true. It’s a good feeling.

If you have a problem with alcohol, it almost certainly didn’t start with alcohol. We drink too much because we don’t want to deal with things and when we check out for too long, we become alcoholics. Millions of people know how to drink and what role it plays in their lives, I’m just not one of them and I’m more than fine with it.

I took ‘act as if’ and ‘fake it ’til you make it’ to different levels but I don’t believe that they are bad things. My personal experience had me trying to ‘act as if’ I was someone I really didn’t want to be because my head was filled with nonsense. If you’re going to fake it, just make sure you don’t get stuck in that world for too long, because it will make getting back to reality so much harder. You probably don’t have many haters either, and even if you think you do, nobody that really cares about the real you would be a hater anyway, so why would you care what your so-called haters think or say anyway? Ask yourself where your goals came from and what purpose they’ll serve in your life once you reach them. You may find that you don’t need to hide yourself in a bottle to feel good about what you’re doing. Have A Powerful Day!

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