The following text is an excerpt from a conversation with Todd Goodwin, Board Certified Hypnotist at GoodwinHypnosis.com, who was interviewed by Conor Flynn, host of the Rx Podcast (DrinkRxCoffee.com), on July 30, 2018.
This tenth segment discusses how social groups often reinforce addictive behavior.
CONOR FLYNN: To piggyback on your point, though, I feel like the older you get, the more you become self-aware of things. And look, you’re not the person you were yesterday, or five years ago, you’re like most people are, most people I say, are trying to improve themselves daily, they’re not trying to go backwards, but it’s taken me over three decades to really realize especially living in a city like Miami for 12 years. I don’t give a shit about the glitz and the glamour, certain material things that I used to. It was more about, okay, what’s going to make me happy? Is what I’m doing business wise, I’m sitting here having a conversation with you talking about all these things. I always enjoy our conversations. Those are the things that make me happy, going out doing those things. So what’s going to make you happy? What’s really important in your life? And a lot of people I feel like these days can’t really answer those questions, because they’re caught up like we talked before, under the guise of social media, and they’re a slave to the looking glass, like a comedian had a bit one time about, if you took people, the pilgrims, and you put them in today’s world, and they looked all these people looking, they told their slave to the looking glass, your computer, your phone, TV, everything that you’re doing.
TODD GOODWIN: Being programmed constantly by a little device.
CONOR: Exactly, exactly. The TV Programming. But if you want to go back. And then I got a question that I…two questions really, one specific I want to ask you about.
TODD: Okay. So basically, the interesting thing when it comes to drinking alcohol, let’s say, is that let’s just say you have people going to networker or happy hour or you know, a dining event where you’re sitting at a table with 10 other people. And let’s just say you go to that situation, and you’ve decided, that you really don’t want to drink anything. Maybe you’re going to have water or iced tea, for whatever reason, and that’s irrelevant. But everyone else is getting wine or something. And then, maybe you have some kind of discomfort as the waiter’s going around and pouring wine coming around to you, you’re thinking, “Maybe I’ll just get wine, because I don’t want to have to explain why I’m the only one not drinking.” It doesn’t matter what the reason is, and even if it’s no one’s business, and it doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic, you just choose not to do it for any reason. You just say that you’ll have a wine. How is that any different from peer pressure? When you’re 15, you’re still trying to figure out your social identity. And you form your identity as you individuate and separate from your family identity, your parents, and rebel against that, and forge your identity as part of a social group. It all depends on whether your social group is going to be the kind that smokes and drinks and gets into trouble, or the kind that is maybe more socially acceptable or healthier.
But ultimately, a lot of us, if we don’t really know who we are at that age, and most don’t, we tend to fall in with groups that are potentially “bad” influences. And I say bad in quotes. But that’s what our parents say. “They’re a bad influence.” Well, but they make us feel good. They make us feel accepted. And then we associate those good feelings with those behaviors. The average age when people start smoking is 16. So that’s completely due to a socialization effect, and nothing else. Drinking would be that early if it were legal. And so when we’re adults, and we’re in a social environment, and we feel like we really should drink something, not because we really want it, because if we don’t, then we’re going to be the outsider.
The next segment further explores the potentially harmful influence of social interactions, especially for the vast majority of people who are followers, not leaders.