Sentimentality – the codependent’s best friend

I saw something the other day that got me to thinking. After a year and a half of freedom and clarity, all of these ideas sprang from this Facebook post commented on by a bunch of my food and drink enthusiast friends. They all had snappy things to say about it, as they extolled the benefits of their vice, and brought added panache to their libation of choice: gin. A few years ago I would have been right there praising gin’s benefits, because there was something about Bombay Gin that really agreed with me.

It was this NY Daily news article that caught my eye: Gin speeds metabolism: study. And wow, I just checked the link, and found this: Editor’s note: ‘Subsequent to publication, it was determined that the study reported on was fake. We regret the error.” which saved me the time and effort of finding out who funded the “study.”

The little monster (addictive voice) didn’t perk up or take the bait, but I did, because what I enjoyed and loved about Bombay is what I still enjoy today, sans the ethanol. I really loved my gin, the Queen’s kind. I loved the little pictures of the botanicals on the label, the complex palette and exquisite nuances of flavors. No bartender could ever pass off another gin without my detection. I also knew the juniper berry was good for me. But the ethanol certainly wasn’t, as over the years I’d built up a nice solid addiction. And what had gotten me to stop wasn’t any rock bottom thing or humbling experience, it was the fact that I no longer wanted to be a slave to it. In addition to that, there were physical effects that, until I’d been free for a few months, I hadn’t realized were ethanol-related: high blood pressure, itchy ears, high cholesterol, stomach and kidney issues, stuff that no doctor ever mentioned might be caused by ethanol.

Now I enjoy all of the flavors and benefits of gin: juniper berry and lemon peel with Q tonic, a flavorful, dry tonic with real quinine. The tonic adds another layer of complexity along with fizzy water, a few drops of juniper berry extract, and a shake of orange bitters. It’s so yummy, I enjoy it the same way I enjoyed the Bombay – all of the benefits with none of the downside.

That little article about the study that ended up being false set off a chain reaction of thoughts and conclusions, and a conscious distinction between reality and the message’s intent. Certain flavors in the gin were good, but the gin itself was not; it was toxic.

When we see all of these articles and studies and posts, and commercials extolling the benefits of booze, they are meant to cause us to entertain a certain degree of sentimentality. To my mind, sentimentality is a construct devised to attempt to make free and independent people imprisoned and dependent. Sentimentality is an appeal to shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason. Codependents and the liquor industries depend on it, as does that little monster.

When I saw that article, and the clean, refreshing, healthy-looking photo, I clearly saw its intent to use sentimentality to bring warm and fuzzy feelings to something that is in no way warm and fuzzy or healthy. Codependents may use all sorts of ploys, just like the little monster and the booze industry, to get you to continue to play a part in their dysfunctional dynamic. Be alert. Notice when they try to shame you for your healthy decision to sever toxic ties, be they interpersonal, emotional, or beverage-related. Notice when they attempt to bring you back into the fold by trying to make you feel excluded or guilty by applying false emotions like sentimentality. Don’t fall for it.  Be consciously whole, independent, and free. Works for me. 🙂

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