What is the Gray Area?
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.
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, 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 talking to a lot of other gray area drinkers.
Approximately 50% of the population that drink alcohol are in the gray area.
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 many high achievers are dealing with tremendous amounts of stress and overwhelm. We’re struggling to find balance and everyday joy in our lives. We feel as though we’re just existing and not really living the life we desire.
We’re afraid of change, but yet feel handcuffed to our current job that provides 4 weeks of vacation and generous benefits package. We long for early retirement when we can “finally” be happy. What we really want is to have the freedom and money to do what we want NOW and experience joy in the present instead of having to wait for another 10 or 20 years.
Not knowing how to deal with the stress and unhappiness, we turn to negative coping aids like alcohol. We might even say, “It’s no big deal since most everyone else is doing it so some degree”.
We falsely believe that if we just learn how to moderate our drinking and commit to a meditation practice or something similar, we’d be able to eliminate our stress. But it doesn’t work very long. We find ourselves back in the same pattern again and again.
What’s really happening is that life is passing us by, and the alcohol or coping mechanism we use is actually making our stress worse, but we can’t see it since we’re in a fog of busyness and overwhelm most of the time.
Living in the gray area is teetering between just existing and fully living.
Many people allow the stressors of their daily lives direct the choices they make when they’re under pressure, without conscious awareness. By working with me as their coach, clients learn the tools they need to shift actions into new healthier choices.
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.