Some people have their alcohol intake under control. They hardly keep alcohol at home and drink moderately occasionally, maybe with friends or people they know. Some may refer to them as social drinkers. These people who have their alcohol intake under control may not be referred to as alcoholics. They don’t drink too much. But there are alcoholics who have lost control when it comes to alcohol. When they drink – and they drink regularly – they drink too much. These are the people this post addresses particularly.
You might want to ask, “Why do people drink too much?” One who likes alcohol may regard it as a stupid question. “I like drinking because it is great. It is fun.” Why should the alcoholic stop drinking then? Well, you do stupid things when you are drunk; you hurt yourself; you compromise your health; you lie; you are screwing up your life and it is hard on the people around you. Drinking too much may be fun but you need something better than that.
It may not be helpful to tell an alcoholic, “Be straight and stop making mistakes.” In some sense that is prohibition. The drinking scene is a sort of adventure for the alcoholic. The adventure of drinking should be replaced by a better adventure. What is better? Something to do that will get you out there; something worth waking up for. That is the substitute for addiction. Actually, the addiction is the substitute for that.
Alcohol seems pretty good. If you are trying to stop drinking, you need to find something a lot better than alcohol. Figure out something you are going to do with your life, that is fun, that is worth not getting drunk and screwing up.
Alcohol is a good drug for coping with anxiety. That is why many people use it. If you really like alcohol, it does two things for you:
- It makes you more extrovert and enthusiastic while you are ascending on the blood alcohol curve which is why you have to keep drinking once you start because if you reach plateau that goes away. So that is one thing: alcohol makes you more enthusiastic and full of positive emotion.
- It reduces anxiety. Not everyone has a positive response to alcohol but if you do and you are socially anxious, alcohol is a great drug. The problem is that it is a great drug for the moment and there are consequences.
Contrary to what you may think, alcohol does not make people stupid. People who are drunk will take more risk. You may say that is because they are too stupid to understand the risk. No, they are not. They can outline the risks pretty well when they are drunk. What alcohol stops them from doing is caring about the risks. It is part of the antianxiety component. That is why you can drive at high speed being drunk. It is fun until your head goes through the windshield. That makes drunk driving stupid.
So alcohol is a great antianxiety drug but it stops you from learning the skills you need in a social circumstance to be able to cope with anxiety. In essence it stops you from actually dealing with the anxiety. You do not have to learn how to overcome it. That is not good.
You may be reading this and thinking, “I don’t know. If I stop drinking, my friends won’t like that.” Well, maybe they are not your friends. If you are going to start putting your life in order and your friends object, they are not friends. You may be thinking you cannot give them up but you can. In fact you should and it will be better for you. If their aim is downwards there is nothing good about that for them and for you hence you should not enable them to take you downwards with themselves.
Maybe you need something to motivate you out of your addiction like a particular comedian. He had planned to attend an interview for a good job opportunity. He spent the night before the interview doing cocaine and that was how the job was sacrificed. He then realized that he had to stop even though it seemed out of his control. While he was in withdrawal, he was asked a question more like, “What were you afraid of giving up if you stopped drinking?” He answered, “I thought there were going to be ramifications. I thought I wouldn’t be funny. I thought that people wouldn’t like me. I thought I wouldn’t be able to meet girls if I wasn’t drinking or having drugs.” When asked, “What were you afraid of happening if you kept drinking?” He replied, “I was afraid of not achieving my dreams. I was afraid of ending up being a drug addict. I was afraid of dying in my sleep, dying under influence.”
This may be your life if you become addicted: you don’t have a career anymore; your business is gone; you have given all that up; you have failed. This pushes you more into drugs. Your life is miserable. Your life is hell. If you stop and think of the details of your personal hell which you will experience if you continue being an addict, you would want to stop if you are reasonable.
So why quit alcoholism? Because you will end up in hell if you don’t stop. And if you don’t want hell approaching, run the hell away from the addiction.
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