In a way we all want to rebel against what keeps us imprisoned. For some it’s the 40 hour work week, the rat race of society, or the expectations of others that might feel constraining and limiting. For those who feel this way, the idea of rebelling and nonconforming to society’s rules feels freeing and inviting. One way to do that is through drinking, using drugs, or spending time with groups that embody a nonconforming attitude, like bikers or gangs.

In fact, one great writer once said that he liked the poverty-stricken life of Paris because it gave him the freedom to non-conform and to rebel against society’s norms. Nonconformity could be defined as the refusal or failure to conform to accepted standards, rules, or laws. Those who do not conform are sometimes seen as rebels, deviants, or even abnormal. They are frequently judged, ridiculed, and marginalized. However, anyone who is nonconforming to society must expect these sort of reactions.

However, the danger of not conforming is that it might be prone to include drinking or drug use. In fact, of those who choose to not to conform, there is a large number people who also struggle with addiction. The following is a list of traits that tend to involve nonconformity. Of course, this is not true for all those who are suffering from addiction, but you might see some similarities in this list.

  • -Impulsive behavior
  • -Attention seeking behavior
  • -Low self esteem
  • -Feeling alienated from other people in society, such as from those who are “normal”.
  • -High tolerance for behavior that would be considered dangerous, risky, or deviant.
  • -Prone to depression or anxiety
  • -Could exhibit some antisocial behavior.
  • -Anger or rage


One of the dangers of identifying with someone who doesn’t conform is that you might feel like you are “selling out” when you become sober. And because one’s lifestyle needs to change dramatically, there are choices you must make that might feel like you are conforming again. For instance, someone who was selling drugs as a source of income and who is now trying to get sober might have a hard time with finding work. That might feel like conformity. Or a woman who was married during her addiction and got a divorce as a result of getting sober might also have to conform to society due to the changes in her life.

Certainly, nonconforming to society can feel incredibly freeing and liberating. And in a way, just like drugs and alcohol, it too can be an addiction. However, also like drugs and alcohol, there can be dangers that come with always trying to escape the responsibilities and demands that society places upon us. If we do not work, we won’t have a means to pay for food, shelter, and provide for our basic needs.

It’s common for addicts to have a free spirit and want to experience freedom in life. Having this sense of freedom, however, is just as important meeting life’s responsibilities.

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