When I first drank it felt great. I could join in, I was sociable, I had fun, I was relaxed and I felt like I was somebody. I liked it. Drinking was good, so I did it again.
I drank to get the same feelings as I did the first time, and I did this again and again, but soon when I drank I didn’t get the same result… I got slightly less. My body got better at cleaning away alcohol, so I had to drink faster and I had to drink more to get the same effect.
So I drank faster and I drank more.
Over the years I slowly drank more and more. The change was so slow it was imperceptible but I drank more, I drank more often, I drank too much more often, and the spaces between the times I drank too much grew smaller.
As my drinking slowly changed I changed with it.
My brain changed to offset the changes caused by large and routine doses of alcohol. My brain was being made artificially happy. It was getting more happiness than it ordered, so it lowered the amount of the happy chemicals it produced. It changed everything else it was getting too much of too.
This made me less happy, less sociable, and less relaxed whenever I was sober. A drink would fix this but I now had to drink enough to bring these back up to normal before I could even start to get happy.
I was unhappy whenever I was sober. I was lonely whenever I was sober, and I was restless and anxious whenever I was sober. I drank to lift myself from being unhappy, lonely and anxious… which was every time I was sober. So I drank whenever I was sober.
The more I drank the more my brain changed. Eventually I couldn’t drink enough to get happy. I couldn’t stop shaking until I drank, and I couldn’t be sociable until I was already drunk.
When I first drank it felt great. I could join in, I was sociable, I had fun, I was relaxed and I felt like I was somebody. But it didn’t stay like that.
I drank for fun but it made me unhappy. I drank for friendship but it made me alone. I drank for relaxation but it made me anxious. I drank for confidence but it made me afraid, and I drank for comfort but ended up in despair.
I chose none of that.
My brain never told me to not drink. My brain only ever told me that a drink would be good or that a drink would make me feel better. My brain lied to me.My fight wasn’t with the bottle. My fight was with my own brain. Some days it still is.
I write about alcoholism and recovery under the name Stan West.
I have three books on the subject and these are available for free download from my blog: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/
Here a short list of why I might drink tonight and why I should not. Do you have some of your own reasons to add?
Reasons to drink tonight: 1. The first couple of drinks relax me and put me in a positive state of mind. 2. I won’t have to deal with cravings.
Reasons to not drink tonight: 1. I never stop at a few drinks 2. I will wake up feeling really sick 3. If I don’t drink then I can afford other treats 4. I tell lies to cover my drinking, and lies means more secrets I have to keep 5. I do embarrassing things when I drink 6. I say things to other people that I regret when I drink 7. I do things I wish I hadn’t when I drink 8. I can be nasty when I drink 9. I still drive home after drinking 10. I am getting too old to be doing something this unhealthy 11. If I drink I might have a stupid argument with my partner 12. I’m not actually funny when I drink, I insult people 13. I’m much smarter sober than drunk 14. If there’s an emergency I’ll be able to deal with it 15. If I don’t drink I can enjoy tomorrow and do useful things 16. If I don’t drink I can watch TV and actually follow the plot 17. If I don’t drink I don’t wake wondering what awful things I might have said or done 18. If I don’t drink I don’t break things or hurt myself 19. I hate myself when I sober up 20. I hate feeling like I have failed
Thank you for the reminder as I start on my sober journey again tomorrow. Soooo many more reasons to not drink, but so hard when you are in a bad space….Im so frustrated with myself. Tomorrow is a new day.
Yes!!!! Spot on How ironic…I’m on the couch now after binge watching Netflix, turned off tv and room dark…had a flashback of drunk as a skunk, pounding heart, on couch, in pitch blackness. EWWWWWW. Shudders. How weird I just came on here and read this, Dave. Thanks for sharing