Diving beneath our reasons to drink
Diving beneath our reasons to drink
When I was younger, I was like everyone else I knew – enjoying good food, wine and beer on a regular basis, and I drank much more at the occasional dinner or night out with friends. I also chose to believe that a glass of wine or a beer or two most evenings was good for me.
In truth, I knew that I was using alcohol to take the edge off life, to avoid the feelings of emptiness and restlessness I carried around in my body. Alcohol was just one of the ways I used to distract myself away from addressing what lay behind these feelings.
For me, drinking alcohol was something I chose to avoid the emotional pain I felt inside – a form of relief from the feelings I was choosing to avoid.
During different periods of my life I used various techniques and habits to avoid feeling the emptiness and the truth of what was going on inside me, but drinking alcohol was a ‘go to’ behaviour for me.
As a teenager in the United Kingdom, it seemed that almost all social activity revolved around the use of alcohol, starting at a very young age. I learned to like the taste of alcohol and to drink and tolerate as much of it at one time as possible, just to keep up the competition with my peers.
Alcohol as a behaviour-altering drug
Looking back, I see how alcohol is truly a behaviour-altering drug that I witnessed turn situations to violence on many occasions, sometimes in an extremely brutal way, from fist fights to stabbings with broken bottles and glasses.
So I asked myself the question: “What happened to me when I drank alcohol?”
As soon as I started to drink, my character changed from the person I was to something else. The more I drank, the less I resembled myself. I drank, and my personality changed.
Is it correct to say that I was then not who I truly was?
I adopted behaviours and simply did things that I would never normally consider and on several occasions, I did not even remember what I had said or done.
Through personal experience and from my discussion with others, there can be many outcomes related to drinking too much alcohol, for example, waking up in a prison cell, in a hospital bed, on a park bench, or in bed with someone you have never laid eyes on before.
It is commonly known that alcohol has many detrimental effects on the physical body and that it can and does, in many cases, lead to addiction.
Personally though, I would have no recollection of any of the incidents that took place when I was under the influence of alcohol. I was told about my behaviour the day after by my friends.
During a holiday in Spain, aged 17, my friends found me asleep on the bonnet of a parked car in the early hours of the morning and they carried me back to the hotel. They told me that I had been angry, aggressive and threatening, which was difficult to believe as this is so out of character for me. It was extremely embarrassing. The last thing I remembered was eating lunch 12 hours earlier.
From my normally sensible state of being, I became possessed by wanton disregard. Why did I do this to myself? Could it be to avoid feeling the emptiness and actually accepting that I am much more than what I have become?
Alcohol as a means to attain temporary happiness, but is it healthy?
There have been many studies stating the benefits of certain types of alcoholic beverages but how many of these are written by or financed by organisations with vested interests? Do they ever take into account that alcohol is a poison and therefore any amount whatsoever is toxic to the body? Do they ever take into account how damaging alcohol is on a personal level and for society on the whole?
Is alcohol needed to create happy moments in life? Has not the use of alcohol become so entrenched in society that it is now seen to be normal, an almost unavoidable part of the way we live?
Consider social media for example; how many millions of photos are there of “a glass of wine”, with various captions such as – “because I deserve it”, “let the weekend begin”, “drinking in the view”, “my best friend” – it’s as though alcohol has become man’s main support in life, a crutch in order to manage the trials and tribulations… that is, until illness strikes, lifestyle sickness develops, panic sets in as does the need to change, give up drinking, or at least drink less.
If and when recovery takes place, and the all clear is given, is it then OK to return to the lifestyle choices that caused the illness in the first place, claiming the illness to have been just bad luck, but then having to live life in fear of recurrence?
Alcohol as a means to avoid being all of who we are
It’s not just alcohol that is used as a distraction, it is also possible to get lost or avoid being present by viewing television shows, watching films, in music, in social media, in gaming, just being entertained or to enter some fantasy world that helps avoid being in the real world.
Maybe there are a lot more ways of avoiding being present or aware of who we actually are, such as putting everything into creating a great career, dedicated to the job, working tirelessly to achieve recognition, fortune or fame.
It may also be that climbing mountains, hobbies, travelling the world, sport and training, getting fit, having an awesome muscular body, narcissistic obsessions that come before all else, are also ways of not truly being fully present in our own bodies.
Could it be that alcohol or these other distractions are designed to keep us away from realising the truth, beauty and awesomeness of who we truly are deep inside?
I have realised that I was using alcohol to limit my own awareness, to avoid feeling the sadness brought on by my choice to conform to the current ways of society, becoming a mere servant to the forces that control mankind and losing myself in a materialistic way of living.
Through my own choices and changes, revealing and accepting my own hurts from the past has enabled me to release myself from the binds of the past, become more fully present and realise more of my true potential, and a by-product of this has been a more truthful, loving and joyful way of being.
I have learned through Universal Medicine that it is OK to stay present and to feel the present, and to stop to feel who I am and why I’m here, as well as recognising the feeling of emptiness and then choosing to not run with my former abusive patterns that take me away from who I am meant to be. Instead of resorting to behaviours like drinking alcohol, if I am willing to feel the hurts I can heal the hurts, and I can then free myself from the emptiness and the incessant need to distract myself from actually living my own life in full.