Destroying Your Desire to Drink (page 2)
Well, in our defense, society doesn’t expect people to sit around and sting themselves with bees as a way of “celebrating” or “bonding” with one another. When it comes to alcohol, it’s an entirely different story. Alcohol has been integrated into damn near everything. Sports, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, dating, dinner; you name it, there is a commercial telling you how to properly “celebrate” the occasion.
The outcome, until we learn better, is pretty predictable. Those of us who have a negative reaction to alcohol blame ourselves entirely for our unacceptable behavior (even though we would have never behaved inappropriately without the substance in our blood.) This, in turn, leads to attempts to control the part of the equation that we CANNOT control (the part that happens AFTER we ingest the substance.) Enter the downward spiral.
We try to control the effects the substance has on us and we fail. We reject the outcome, try again, and fail. (-Then we try again, and again, and again.) Our failures begin to erode our self-image. Our behavior, while intoxicated, does the same. In this vulnerable mental state we begin to hear words like “alcoholic” and “addict” tossed around. Who wants that label wrapped around their neck? So we fight with all our strength to prevent further negative incidents, we resolve to “control ourselves” and…we fail.
If a person isn’t careful, they might draw yet another INACCURATE conclusion from this cycle: “I really can’t control myself…my God, I must have this horrible disease…I must be an addict...I’m doomed!”
Now we’re in even deeper water because everyone knows an “addict” is somebody who must use. Everyone knows that addicts are just a step away from becoming full-blown junkies. They can’t keep themselves from using. …This is not only a very dangerous belief system to adopt; it is dead wrong. The conclusion is born of flawed reasoning.
It isn’t that we are “diseased addicts” who can’t control ourselves; it is an issue of not being able to control ourselves after we’ve chosen to give our control away (after we’ve chosen to put something in our bodies that we have an adverse reaction to.) This is an extremely important distinction. If it is not made, we make things much harder for ourselves. A person who is allergic to penicillin does not equate their inability to ingest penicillin with an inability to keep themselves from ingesting penicillin. Nor should we equate our inability to safely ingest drugs / alcohol with an inability to keep ourselves from ingesting them in the first place. Know what you can and can’t control; never blame yourself for the latter.
Unfortunately (no thanks to what is commonly taught) we do confuse the two. And this eventually leads to a FALSE choice:
1. Continue trying to “get it right,” OR
2. Accept that we’ve got a disease, check ourselves in for treatment, and set out on a journey of eternal “recovery.”
(No wonder so many continue choosing FALSE CHOICE number 1.)
The simple truth is this: These substances affect our bodies / minds / behavior in negative way. If we do not consume them, our bodies / minds / behavior will return to normal. Our inability to control how they affect us is a separate issue from what drives our desire to consume them. As long as we focus on what we can control (the thoughts that drive our desire to drink) then what we cannot control (how they affect us) becomes totally irrelevant. …In all my years of living, I’ve never had an adverse reaction to a beer, shot of whiskey, or glass of wine I did not consume. “Destroy the desire to drink and the rest will take care of itself…”
We’re much better off, our head cleared of nonsense, to focus on questions like:
“So what is so great about this ridiculous crap I choose to put in my body? Where are the great profits I gain for ingesting it? And what’s left of those so-called profits if I take the time to honestly (accurately) calculate all of the costs? What? There are no profits? Worse than no profit, I’m actually left with a loss? Fine, then let’s call it what it is: A way to abuse (not a way to reward) myself.”
...Now you’re moving in the right direction.
Dig a little deeper and you might find a big part of what you’ve placed a “favorable association” on has less to do with alcohol and more to do with the relationships you’ve developed around alcohol. If you’ve never consciously separated the two, do so now. Think about how much of your desire to “go party” is tied to the friends you’ll meet (at the bar, at the party, at dinner) rather than the booze itself. How much is driven by a desire to socialize and cultivate relationships?
Hypothetical scenario; which of the following would you choose: Go to a party where there will be alcohol but the “guest list” is filled with people you cannot stand OR go to a wedding reception (with no alcohol) filled with people you truly enjoy being around...Thought experiments like this help put things in their proper perspective. (Don’t give alcohol an ounce of “credit” it doesn’t deserve. In fact, make a point to revoke its credit wherever possible.)
Belief precedes reality
If you believe that you are helpless, addicted, and the victim of a “disease” that you cannot defeat, you will have no choice but suffer the consequences of that belief. You will look for supporting evidence, you will undoubtedly find it, and the ball and chain you accept will be an unnecessary weight added to your life.
If you refuse to believe that you are helpless, diseased, or unable to change the way you think about drinking / drugs; if you commit to accepting responsibility for your thoughts and the effect they have on what you choose to do, then you will become steadily stronger and improve your life. Resolve to take control of your mind; it is yours after all.
While we’re discussing beliefs, do you believe there is something wrong with you because of how you react to alcohol? Many people do. …Well, assume for a moment that it’s true. Go ahead and label the inability to ingest alcohol (socially) as an affliction. Can you think of any other disability you would rather substitute it for?
Is there one person in a wheelchair who wouldn’t trade “not being able to drink” with the ability to stand, walk, and run? Would being born crippled, deaf, deformed or retarded be “easier to deal with?” How about suffering from a REAL DISEASE like cancer of the lungs or pancreas? The devastating effects of which cannot be stopped by simply choosing NOT to ingest (what amounts to) poison…
I’d say life isn’t all a wash just because drinking or doing drugs isn’t in our best interest. Anybody, no matter who they are, would be better off without drugs and alcohol clouding their thoughts and altering their behavior. Some of us are just more “better off” than others. Unless your goal is to punish and destroy yourself (an issue that must be honestly addressed, and the inaccurate associations that motivate it CORRECTED) you’ve got no business putting harmful chemicals into your body.
When you first begin the process of “pulling out” the old wiring and “installing” the new, there will be times when everything seems crystal clear. Making the right choices will be easy…effortless. It will be as if you’re seeing everything through different eyes. …Eyes that are wiser and see things more accurately. It’s awesome…take note of how good it feels and really connect with the moment emotionally. Reward that part of yourself for making an appearance.
But understand also, there will be times when what seemed clear yesterday (or even 10 minutes ago) suddenly seems vague or hard to access. Like a phone number, a name, or a word that is on the tip of your tongue, the clarity seems lost. In that fleeting moment, you can’t “see” as you saw only a brief time ago. You are again “seeing” things through unwelcome eyes. It’s OK. Acknowledge the perspective…even allow it to present its side, but do not reward it. Do not “welcome it” as you did the permanent perspective you’re in the process of creating. Perhaps your internal dialogue might go something like: “Yes, I see that…wow, looks great. But it’s a lie and I know it. And even if I can’t see the truth right now, I will find it again.” ----->Continue to page 3