Becoming more assertive

Old 05-15-2020, 11:42 AM
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Becoming more assertive

Hi all,

I wonder if you too became more assertive after getting sober.

I'm almost 5 years sober thanks to AA. I noticed already in the first year that I have become more assertive than I was during all of the years I've been drinking.
While I was drinking and smoking weed I seriously poisoned my brain which is the organic basis for my personality. I am very grateful for having become more assertive
in the last years. To me it is a necessary quality of a healthy self.

Did anyone else observe that in themselves too?
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:05 PM
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Hi Sven

I definitely stand up for myself more, and I don;t shy away from necessary conflict.

At the start, in the early days, I think I probably went too far - I went from doormat to being a bit of an aggressive ass more than once - but I found my level eventually

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Old 05-16-2020, 10:08 AM
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Interesting observation.
I wonder if it's the "stay-low-key" alcoholic behavior wearing off...
Sort of like downing a few drinks before showing up at an event, carefully hiding booze, trying to look normal while suffering another hangover, etc...
Maybe once you've achieved sobriety, the need to be overly discreet simply becomes unnecessary.
Myself, I've become more skeptical about things I hear about and read...rather than just accepting everything. Making personal decisions and forming my own opinions...even if I keep them to myself.
Appropriately assertive sounds good.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:11 AM
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I was all set to start constructing a post and then noticed that Dee and Zip had already said what I was gonna! Appropriately assertive is exactly where it's at, an art not a science. And when we stay sober and can pay attention to what's going on, we can learn the right times and places to make our stands.

And congrats on your 5 years sober, sven!
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:03 AM
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I don't know if they still do it, but there used to be a thing called assertiveness training. A friend of mine took the course and he definitely became more assertive, but I am not sure it was a good thing. It looked to me like he had learned a way to manipulate and pressure others in order to get his own way. Having traveled the AA path too, I would say I have become more principled and willing to live by those principles meaning there are things I won't do and behavior I won't tolerate, not to get my own way, but to live happily in this world and be able to sleep at night. It is more about protecting my values and beliefs than it is about changing anybody else, which is what comes to mind when I hear the word assertiveness.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:39 PM
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If you follow your crime-dramas on TV, you would be familiar with NCIS, in this case the character played by Mark Harmon. Leroy Jethro Gibbs is his name. Always most confidant, assertive to the point of almost cocky. I like him. Often, even in just 60 days of sobriety, I find myself in touch with my "inner-Gibbs." Hey, it works.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:17 PM
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This is an interesting question. I would say that, for me, assertiveness is a pretty core part of my adult personality but it has definitely grown, more with aging and life experience than with sobriety per se. Where sobriety makes a huge difference is choosing more wisely what I engage in, what I stand up to, what I tend to push... and how. Not necessarily in quantity, more in quality. I think drinking often makes people aggressive, it does so via affecting how the brain works, including loosening inhibitions, but that is rarely a healthy, constructive form of assertiveness. Alcoholism makes people painfully insecure even if they do not admit it and insecurity/aggression are intimately linked. I think drunks are rarely good communicators and a key element of becoming more assertive is being able to communicate effectively with a variety of people. Good recovery usually also increases our self-esteem and -confidence and that's very important for assertiveness as well. So I think for me it is sober maturity. I wasn't nearly as assertive as a young person without a drinking problem.
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Old Yesterday, 05:17 AM
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I've struggled in the area of assertiveness even after 28 yrs sobriety! For me I had to learn some hard lessons in being assertive in that when I was assertive and thought I was being assertive in getting what I want and thought it was only right for standing up for myself, I only discovered later on that I was only doing self-will, which in turn led to some unhappiness!

Now if it's for standing up for an unjust situation, then yes, I will be assertive! Such as there were a handful of times where my employers were jipping me out of pay; such as not paying me for the hours that I worked! Yes I went to the supervisor and addressed it! But then they just make the next chess move and cut my hours by a few hours! So its back to square one! I'm not making any more anyways! That's when I realized the world really has the power to kill and that everyone else has a self-will and is also assertive!

Another time I had conflict with my son! It was about me being assertive and telling him to lock the doors after he comes in the house! I would check the doors at night in the house and they were unlocked! I figured, 'I'll be assertive and tell him, son, please lock these doors after you come into the house!" Only to that leading to a big argument and my other son calling the police and making me look like the bad guy!

Another time before my mom died I had a close relationship with her! We talked everyday and told each other we loved each other as mother and son! Many times she would call me and tell me how much she loved me and that she knew she doesn't have much time to live cause she was really sick in her last days! Only to have my two vicious sisters not liking that and putting her cell phone to block my calls! And when I became assertive and told my mom how cruel that was, by that time it was too late! My sisters had brainwashed my mom into going against me cause she was too weak to stand up for herself!

Just a few examples! I've been through some hellish moments on jobs, relationships, finances....about every area in life! All while being sober for 28 yrs! That's when I realized how cruel life can be - even when I'm sober!

I think the only thing that saves me and my sobriety during these moments where I'm assertive and it still seems like it's a mess is saying: I'm an alcoholic, and I'm putting this situation in your hands God! It's the only way I've found that gets me through!
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Old Yesterday, 08:37 AM
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When I was drinking every night and dealing with a hangover every morning, I probably could have been described as less assertive.

But I don't think assertiveness would have been an accurate behavior to describe me. I think a more accurate description of my behavior would have been secretive.

I was really trying to hide my alcohol use, so I would try to blend in as much as possible and not call attention to myself. Some people may have labeled me non assertive, or introverted or shy. While I might have appeared that way to others, none of these labels would have been accurate. I was simply a drunk trying to hide my drinking.

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