Your Brain on Alcohol

Self-Destruction or Self-Preservation?

beauty-22

“You don’t have a drinking problem you know. You just have to stop letting the bad stuff get to you. It’s only when you drink that you bring up all that old stuff and then you end up drinking more and crying.”

Worst advice I’ve ever been given. But in his defense, the person who said that had been a drinking buddy for a long time. In his defense I was still determinedly running from my darkside, hand in hand with Johnnie, Jack, and Jager.

But in my buddy’s “advice” lay two main truths. I was letting the ‘bad stuff’ (old demons, any perceived slights, rejections and unfair treatment) get to me. When new bad stuff happened and I dealt with it by drinking, all I would talk about would be the old bad stuff. And then the inevitable alcohol soaked outpouring would drench my world and any ready ear, friend or stranger.

It is astonishing (and a bit disturbing), the number of people I told about the bad stuff: about the stuff that bothered me to my core.  Okay, yes, they still bother me but I am learning how to deal with them in a healthier way, with self preservation in mind instead of self destruction. Self destruction only ever told me that my fears of being unworthy, unlovable or undeserving were warranted. I thought myself ‘bad’ and treated myself as such.

Anyway, to get back on topic. Alcohol never made anything better. Sure, the first couple of drinks felt good because all the pleasure centers in my brain were tickled, tricking me into believing that this high meant I was happy. But the warning bells would already be going off by the end of glass two. I would choose to ignore them and the switch would be flipped.

Now that the alcohol induced fog has lifted and I’m allowing myself time to see, recognize and sit with the ‘bad stuff’, slowly but surely I am creating new ways of dealing with them. Bit by bit I am forming new habits. Instead of paying attention to the “I am feeling (insert difficult emotion here), so I want / need / deserve a drink” thoughts, I’m shifting my focus because I know drinking never really made anything better.

Yes, sometimes I don’t want to sit with my feelings or understand my triggers. Yes, sometimes I get tired of the over-thinking, and the mantras, and the pep talks to myself. But you know what? I’ll take being ‘frustrated with myself for brooding too much’ over ‘frustrated with myself for drinking’ any day. I know the brooding won’t last. I know that it’s all part of the process. I know it’s part of developing new habits, which instead of harming me, are actually helping me this time.

Love and light!

Phoenix

Photo Credit: Beyond The Mirror

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Dr. Maté Talks About Addiction

I came across this video on Films for Action and found it particularly helpful in understanding the root causes of addiction and how to deal with them. Dr. Maté is a renowned author known for his knowledge about attention deficit disorder, stress, addiction, chronic illness and parental relations.

Of course after this short video I had to view more. This second video is brilliant. It is a clip from Dr. Maté’s talks at TEDxRio. His theme was addiction: from drugs to power.

“From the lack of love to the desire to escape oneself, from susceptibility of the being to interior power — nothing escapes.”

Love Letters

Quill-and-Ink

I’m still learning to understand the difference between an alcoholic and an abuser of alcohol. Apparently there is a difference.

An alcoholic is someone who no longer has control of his/her life as every activity and thought revolves around the next drink. They get sick when they go a day or two without alcohol and their lives deteriorate rapidly on a professional, emotional, social and spiritual level.

An abuser of alcohol is one who binge drinks – more than 8 drinks at a sitting, (8 for men, 6 for women), or has difficulty stopping once he/she has started. An abuser also suffers blackouts just like an alcoholic would. This is me, as far as I see it. But nevertheless, drinking is no longer an option for me.

To those of you I drank with, please know that because I will no longer partake it does not mean that I won’t hang out with you. We’re friends and I would like us to remain as such. Nor will I judge you if you drink. We all know ourselves best and you can probably handle your alcohol. I can’t. It affects my body differently and we all know that I have been a right proper arse at times. (see here for The Truth about my drinking) I’m sorry for that. I did not understand the effect alcohol had on me.

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To my loved ones: I apologize  to all of you for not understanding and realizing the seriousness of my situation. This is not who I am meant to be.

I guess this is the point where promises and grand declarations are made but this letter is not about that. No promises or grand declarations can be made. This is just something I have to do, for me.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Love always,

Phoenix

The Woman with Two Brains

Well no wonder!

Note to Self:

Ask Brain One (ruled by Gaba) to research Glutamate.  Ask Brain Two (ruled by Glutamate) to research Gaba.