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Inhibition Theory and "True Self"


Heather Nicole

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Heather Nicole

Ok, so this isn't directly an "alcohol abuse" topic per se, but its an open ended question that does relate to both alcohol and trans-ness, and as far as I can tell, this seems like the best place to ask something I've been wondering about for a long time...

 

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon: While I'm usually very questioning and hesitant about being trans (on and off, to varying degrees), literally ANY time I consume even a moderate amount, all doubt disappears and I "know" my true desire is to be female and that transitioning is absolutely right for me, no doubt whatsoever. And not that I remotely advocate it, or have any reason to imply any validity whatsoever to "alcohol-fueled ideas", but strictly for the sake of relevant data, I have definitely noticed that the more I drink, the more certain I am. (Which, yea, again is perhaps very much in line with alcohol-driven impulsiveness and impaired judgment and all.)

 

I'm not saying any of that means anything, but I find it an intriguing potential(?) piece of the puzzle that is "me".

 

Related to this, when I was in college, I had a friend who took...some kind of psychology course. Not sure what class exactly, but there was one thing in it he mentioned to me, and I found it such an interesting, plausible concept that it stuck with me, even decades later. Granted, I have zero background in psychology so I have no basis for judging the validity, but the idea was this:

 

Alcohol is well known to break down "inhibitions", therefore (so the theory goes), it brings out one's "true self", whether that be an angry abusive individual, a sorrowful one, a fully-content happy social one, or whatever else. I know that's only a theory...but my fully-amateur-at-psychology mind finds it intriguing and plausible...And I have always been absolutely full of inhibition...OMG, like you have NO idea...

 

I'll fully admit, there's a part of me that definitely wants this to be a clear sign that transitioning is right for me. But the trained-logician side of me (which I have very deliberately cultivated over the years and value very much) goes, "Whoa...there, buddy! Better do your due diligence first, and fully research all your assumptions and guesswork!"

 

So that's where I am. Aside from the very obvious "Yea, I should limit/eliminate my drinking!", which I won't disagree with...Anyone here have any background in psychology? If so, any insight into this "theory of alcohol"?

 

Or even more generally, is this something anyone here can relate to? If so, what experience can you offer?

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I can totally relate to this. And while I have a biology degree, my experience in psychology is zero.

 

I can say, however, when I thought i was a cross dresser, I would often begin with a glass, or three, of Shiraz. It certainly calmed me and I recall my feelings of "this is exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life" were far greater after the alcohol relaxed me.

 

Hardly scientific evidence, but I can relate.

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I have no background in psychology. For what its worth, I don't think cis people question their gender too much.

 

Hugs,

Mike

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I have only a basic understanding of psychology and can not offer any advice as that is not my place. I would say this though, alcohol very well may lay our inhibitions to the side when we drink it. That does not mean that we will react to these moments with a responsible and well thought out plan of action. The very concept of using a substance and gauging our true selves based on this experience has too many potentially negative outcomes. One very big problem is in how this becomes a crutch and is still an act of hiding behind something which is feared in an effort to find comfort. That, to me, seems like something we should wish to avoid. Just my uneducated opinion.

 

Great now my head is all hurty and stuff. :blowup:

Abi

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  • 2 months later...

I have also had that experience.  Reading your post just reminded me of that.  Like you, I would like to get a professional opinion.  I guess I'll have to bring the subject up in my next session.  Thanks for the nudge.

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  • Forum Moderator

I can't help but agree that alcohol fueled a loss of my inhibitions and my first steps towards my true self.  This gals first high heeled steps were towards the door of a gay bar.  That being said alcohol may have prevented any chance for an early transition.  I could face the world as myself after a few shots but without that fuel......... The night would end and was quickly replaced with guilt and shame.

 I am an alcoholic in recovery. Five years into recovery i transitioned.  I faced issues as a sober woman rather than as a drunken man.  I mention this not to say that alcohol does not lower inhibitions.  It does.  It may well give a glimpse of one's true self.  That understanding may help some.  To be a positive experience that glimpse could lead to therapy.  For me it  may a factor in my addiction.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/22/2020 at 12:52 PM, Heather Nicole said:

 

I'll fully admit, there's a part of me that definitely wants this to be a clear sign that transitioning is right for me

Hi Heather. 
I think this is totally natural, and inline with how most of us behave when a bit high.  Our inhibitions drop, and we don't feel as confined to social norms.  We've all felt that way, I am sure, and we've anecdotally probably seen the meek co-worker dancing with a lampshade on their head at the office party.  It probably doesn't mean they want to be a "lamp" but it likely does mean they feel free to openly express themselves and their true feelings that they normally suppress. 

If you Google the subject you will find lots of studies about alcohol and effect on inhibitions.  Most declare that its complex, and not always a direct correlation, but seems the connection is clear.

 

For me, and my definite inhibitions about coming out socially, I would say it would be more of a confirmation of my true self-identity.  But I would probably also prefer that determination be in counsel with a good gender therapist (and I have. and I am) ❤️

 

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  • Admin

I do have a significant level of psychology training (minor degree to another Behavioral Science degree & subsequent coursework to see if I could figure myself out) and the answer is --- drum roll --- MAYBE.  

 

That said, I abused alcohol to try and get my GD out of my head and keep it from bothering me. (That was alcoholic thinking  really).  I wanted to quickly accept the GD and then put it behind me as of no importance as I had for so many years.  I had known of my problem for years and had avoided it through family duties, work, religion, community service etc.  In my current recovery though (12 years) I got slammed against the facts that GD is Consistent, Persistent, and it had reached its maximum load of Insistency, still while drinking I was not going to act on it but I was going to kill myself.  Again, Alcoholic Thinking at its finest.  I did give into the need for counseling on the GD and they said that addiction recovery was part of that counseling in my case.  Without the alcohol it would have been a direct shot to the GD counseling, but I had to take a different way.  SIGH. 

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@Heather Nicole

I think this is a very interesting thread, and well presented.  For mostly people who are "not psychologists", I am so impressed with the intelligent responses to this, and many other threads I read on this site.  Some of us know that no one can help an alcoholic like another alcoholic.  Perhaps the same can be said of a trans person.  These are the most helpful people I've encountered on the subject.  I really appreciate everyone's insight.

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On 9/21/2020 at 11:52 PM, Heather Nicole said:

Or even more generally, is this something anyone here can relate to? If so, what experience can you offer?

I do not 'drink' at all but there is another 'no lie' mood altering drug that completely pushes me over the edge in terms of wanting, overwhelmingly NEEDING, to transition both sexually and socially. While addictive in the sense that I'd probably do it all the time if easily available I've long since stopped completely and, for the last 14 years, have simply contented myself with steady HRT instead.

IMHO cross-gendered feelings only become a "mental health issue" if excessive behaviors negatively impact one's everyday life functioning (which 'cocaine', just another 'diagnostic tool' for me, most certainly did!)

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  • Forum Moderator

Addiction to any drug whether alcohol or any of the countless other mind altering substances is definitely an issue that trans folks may face. 

This site has always included forums where we can confront these issues.  The serious nature of addiction for our community puts those forums along with suicide as the first ones one sees here.

We can pay a terrible price for a loss of inhibition.  Too many of us suffer jail, mental institutions or even death because of addiction.  If you have issues there are trans folks who understand and can help.  Reach out....

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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