I’m a psychology graduate and was struck today by this phenomena. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort you feel when you hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time.
What triggered this feeling was the fact that someone had not only viewed my blog but had taken the time to comment (thanks Mrs D!) So I was struck by two opposing feelings at the same time. The two thoughts were ‘I should celebrate!’, which 42 days ago would have meant having a drink tonight, and ‘the blog is a record of my journey of not drinking’ so that is not the appropriate response anymore. And I felt sad – for a minute – as my thinking is still lagging my behaviour of not drinking. I felt happy and sad all at the same time which created a sense of confusion. In the UK we are so hard-wired to believe that the only way to celebrate happiness is with a drink, whatever the occasion, however big or small. That is my current default setting.
I’m off to a birthday party tonight in London. I’m feeling somewhat apprehensive as many of my old drinking friends will be there and they don’t know that I have stopped. Will this cause some cognitive dissonance in my friends and how will they react? That bit I can’t control but I have however decided that I will celebrate Mrs D’s comment and a night out in London without the children with a fabulous coffee and cake at this amazing Italian coffee shop down the road from the party 🙂