What is the Gray Area?
As a busy professional, are you experiencing a tremendous amount of stress in your daily life, both at home and in your work?
If you just answered yes in your mind, how are you dealing with that stress? What are you using, doing, or reaching for when you experience those tough moments?
What I’ve found in working with clients and in my own life is that the behaviors we typically engage in to relieve stress can oftentimes become addictive and they can actually prevent us from enjoying vibrant health, fulfilling relationships and career advancement that we deeply desire.
We find ourselves living in what I like to call a “gray area” of life. A place where we intuitively know we’re capable of so much more but just don’t know what actions to take to close the gap between where we are currently, and where we dream of being.
Whatever your self-defeating addictive behavior pattern is, know this, you’re not alone. Most people have something.
So what is the Gray Area?
As a former gray area drinker, I was high functioning and didn’t experience what is typically referred to as “hitting your rock bottom”. I never got a DUI, lost my job or my marriage, but I was still secretly questioning my relationship with alcohol. I didn’t identify as an alcoholic in the general sense of the term but knew I was more than just a social drinker. When I did consume alcohol, it was hard to stop after just a few. I frequently found myself drinking more than I intended. I was confused, to say the least.
AA and society, in general, tend to define problem drinking in a binary way, stating you’re either an alcoholic or you’re not, that there’s no middle ground or gray area. I’ve found that this is simply NOT true, both with myself and through working with numerous clients.
Many more people fall into this gray area than those who identify as an alcoholic, by a wide margin!
The gray area can also be described as teetering between merely existing, like going through the motions in a “Groundhog Day” type of life, and the feeling of being fulfilled, excited and thriving in your life. All too often, we live in a fog where things appear okay just a few feet in front of us.
What I’ve found is high achievers are dealing with tremendous amounts of stress and overwhelm. They’re struggling to find a work/life balance and feel as though they’re just existing and not really living the life they desire. They’re afraid of change and feel handcuffed to their current job which provides those 4 weeks per year vacation and generous benefits package. They long for early retirement when they’ll “finally” be happy. What they really want is to have the freedom and money to do what they want NOW, have balance in their work and personal lives, and experience joy in the present instead of having to wait for another 10 to 20 years.
They’re convinced their drinking, pill-popping, overeating, and other self-defeating addictive behaviors are part and parcel to managing a big, stressful life. “It’s no big deal since most everyone else is doing it so some degree,” they say. They falsely believe that if they just learned how to moderate their drinking and committed to a meditation practice or something similar, they’d be able to eliminate their stress and the fear of admitting they might actually have a problem.
I’ve found that what’s really happening with professionals is that life is passing them by, and the alcohol or coping mechanism they use is actually making their stress worse, but they can’t see it since they’re in a fog of busyness and overwhelm most of the time.
Living in the gray area is teetering between merely existing and fully living.
What they need to do is develop an invincible mindset, uncover the limiting beliefs that are keeping them stuck, come out of hiding behind negative coping mechanisms, and finally establish a healthy balance so they can start thriving in their lives again.
If you’re ready to shift out of the gray and restore a sense of peace and balance in your life, sign up for the D.E.C.I. D.E. series to see if now if the right time.