Negative Emotions and Alcoholism

Lost WeekendI have had a problem with drink for many years.  I can stay away from booze for long periods, but eventually I will go back to self-medicating with alcohol.

How to stop this binge drinking has puzzled me, and long seemed an insoluble problem.  However, after my last relapse a couple of things have become somewhat clearer.  It is now plain to me that my going back to boozing has always followed some crisis of negative emotions.

These negative emotions include irrational feelings of;

Anger, anxiety, bitterness, conceit, depression, disgust, envy, fear, frustration, grief, hatred, jealousy, perfectionism, possessiveness, resentment, righteousness, ruthlessness, sadness, self-hatred, self-pity, shame, unhappiness, and being untrusting.

Usually what I feel is an amalgam of several, or all of these emotions, at one in the same time.  Basically I feel angry, anxious and miserable.  From some research I have come to believe that the onset of these negative emotions may be the result of attention seeking and drama addiction on my part.  For goodness sake, attention seeking is something that one is supposed to grow out of!  Maybe when I was younger I discovered that displaying powerful negative emotions were a certain way to get attention?

Brains wired to equate lack if attention as dangerous, naturally respond to it as a threat….  Psychology Today

However, there is one piece of good news.  Excessive attention seeking is not considered a character defect, it is usually the result of childhood neglect, (in relative terms).

I suspect the reason compulsive over-eaters, alcoholics and substance abusers are more prone to excess attention seeing and drama addiction is because those populations are more likely to have endured developmental trauma. ~ Billi Gordon Ph.D  Psychology Today

There are undoubtedly better strategies for dealing with negative emotions than getting drunk.  There are also probably strategies for dealing with an excessive need for attention and drama

Spirituality, meditation, self-control are not strangers to me, so why do I sometimes lose these good things and wallow in anger, depression, jealousy and drink?

What I need to do is find these new coping strategies because drinking is doing me no good at all.  My last two, (or was it three), day binge caused a complete memory loss  ~  I cannot remember several important events that took place during my latest ‘slip’ as Alcoholics Anonymous call going back to drinking again.  As these important life events mostly involved my losing my temper, they are something to be avoided.  In the past three months I have also badly hurt myself, twice, while intoxicated.

Psychologists say that there is no actual cure for what may be wrong in my brain. The doctors say the rewiring is permanent, short of invasive surgery, but they also say I can manage my condition.  In order to do that am resolved to accept what I am, and love what I have more than what I don’t have.  I shall look for the good things in my life and try to accept these negative emotions for what they really are, a dangerous chimera which I can fight with the right strategies.

Life presents itself in constantly changing ways, but you’re able to accept the challenges, rather than recoil, throw up your hands, and go on a binge.  Carnie Wilson.

I have realised that I am not my pain.  I know I may never beat my problems, but I can ameliorate their dangerous effects.  Perhaps instead of binge drinking, I need to do something spiritual, like watching the sunrise over the sea.  Perhaps instead of losing my temper I should focus on the good friends I have, and how supportive they have been.  All I know is that I will give these new strategies my very best shot, and hope to do better in future.





9 responses

  1. I can relate. On many levels. There are good days & bad ones, just got to keep moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Take one day time. If want is great enough. Never stop trying . First steps always the hardest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Keep fighting the good fight Sir. There are those of us that will stand with you and cover your back. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deborah the Closet Monster | Reply

    Since a big health concern a little more than three years ago, I have eaten mostly Paleo because it feels so much better. The basis of my particular flavor is a 30-day strict clean eating period, following which treats are fine but should be intermittent for healing’s sake. I don’t usually go more than 3-4 months between the totally clean periods because I feel so much better physically while eating clean. But because of stress, my own predispositions, and numerous other factors, I went months eating clean … save beer and chocolate many evenings, which threw everything off. But I wanted that rush, even if I felt crappier afterward. I needed that temporary stress relief, my brain told me, even if I did feel crappier afterward … until Lent, when I decided to see if feeling some sort of community would help me actually make it through the 30-day period. Somehow, it has, and I hope it’ll carry me through Lent’s last ten days, too. The longer I go feeling well, the harder I find it to tolerate the things that make me unwell. All of which is to say: ganbatte on your journey, which is more difficult than I can comprehend with my pale comparison.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I think eating a clean Paleo diet may be too difficult for me while I struggling to stay sober. But I would love to do that too.


      1. Deborah the Closet Monster | Reply

        I wasn’t trying to proselytize, as it were! Sorry! I’m just trying to solidify for myself how much better this feels than the other, so that I might … maybe … make better choices next time. Already, the fact I’m so much less healed now than at 25 days in previously has me hoping I can really, really settle into this this time around. It’s hard to choose the long-term good when the short-term “good” feels so gratifying at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. One day at a time, Jack. Hang in there. It’s a struggle but the resources are there to support you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your words of support.

      Liked by 1 person

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