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/