I always talk about finding the root of the problem when it comes to why I became an alcoholic, and part of that is finding the source of the justifications that I used to try and protect my alcoholism. “I’m only dinking because I had a bad day at work and I need to relax.” Or, “This is the only thing that helps.” I came up with all sorts of excuses why I would drink, and all of them were designed to be a justification to anyone that had a problem with it. But who was I really justifying anything to? When you’re drinking, these justifications feel like they are for other people, so you can just ‘be yourself’ for a while, but when I looked for the root of where my alcoholism came from in the recovery process I created for myself, all that changed. I went through every excuse I could think of, both past and present. When I talk about finding the root of the problem, I’m not talking about placing blame on something external. I’m talking about getting to the core of why you would really want to go down a certain road and finding out where that desire may have come from. Once you get past the blame and excuses, even if they seem true in your head, you can get to the source and have a better understanding of why you tried to ruin your life with alcohol, and therefore, not repeat the same actions.
I used to use the excuse or justification, “I’m an alcoholic because my parents were alcoholics, and that’s how I grew up.”, but I never knew why that might be true. It sounds like a valid reason, but you may not know why it’s more valid than you think. I found fear in a lot of the memories I had as a kid, they weren’t necessarily traumatic events, but they were scary for a little kid. Every time we get scared or nervous, those thoughts will cause our bodies to release a chemical like cortisol or adrenaline, two highly addictive biochemicals that our bodies release to make connections between the brain and body when we feel like we’re in danger to keep us on high alert. The problem is that we don’t need to be in any real danger to release these chemicals, all we need to do is think about being stressed, and since we’re addicted to these biochemicals already, this is an easy process. We’re all experts at thinking ourselves into panic if we want to be. It’s probably the easiest thing in the world to do. Have you ever been sitting at home doing nothing, and felt worried or had a feeling of panic for no reason? Have you made it worse by focusing on it too much? That’s your subconscious spitting up some bullshit you fed it days, weeks, months, or even years ago, because our bodies are looking for their stress chemical fix that it’s used to having. You have trained your body to have this reaction by putting yourself in the same mental place repeatedly, releasing the same chemicals over and over, so your body is telling you how to feel instead of you telling your body how to feel. The funny thing is that you’re the one that has been telling your body how to feel for so long by consistently releasing stress chemicals, and it will fight you when you’re trying to do something different.
When you learn to meditate, you can detach from all the things that take away your energy and allow yourself to focus on you, but it takes some practice to get there. The goal is to focus inward (on yourself) instead of worrying about all the external things that are stealing your energy and producing these elevated, high alert biochemicals that you have grown so accustomed to. You may think it sounds selfish to take away your energy from the outside world and focus it on yourself, but if you never focus on yourself, you’ll never find out who you are or allow yourself to detach from negative behaviors, thus making many things you do a half-assed attempt, raising the probability of failure. If it makes you feel better, the real end result of meditation should be focusing on nothing, like you’re in complete utter darkness and space, acting as just consciousness and nothing else. Maybe when you get there, you can ask yourself if you are really the post that you just put up on Facebook, or is that picture of your dinner just a stall from dealing with something else in your life? Maybe you’re just looking for approval from other people because you grew up learning that you need other peoples’ approval to feel good about yourself. I don’t know… it’s your life. What if you only get 1 like, or worse yet… 0 likes? How does that affect your mood? Are you disappointed that only one person liked your burrito from Chipotle? What happens when you seek approval all the time and fail repeatedly because nobody gives a shit? What are you looking for? Now you’re operating with brewing anger and thinking people are jealous, effectively creating haters that don’t exist. You’re doing all of this, so your body can make the chemicals that you’re addicted to.
What happens when you make too much of the wrong chemical for too long, and you start to feel sad or depressed all the time? Let’s try having a drink. Alcohol is a depressant, so it depresses the chemical feelings and emotions that you have made and allows you to feel free for a little while. The problem is that you’re now able to focus more energy on these external problems and give them even more validity, because your inhibitions are lowered and once the alcohol wears off, so is your self-confidence. Now you’ve spent a whole night with a friend or friends, giving what may have been a small problem added fuel to become a big problem (you also probably don’t have the balls to carry out your drunken plan). The issue feels even more concrete because you now have the approval of the friend(s) that were in the same state as you were when you were discussing and plotting how to make the problem the center of your world, so now the issue is even more valid. All the while, the only thing that changed is the stuff in your head. You made a problem bigger by over thinking it and now you’re looking to make it even more valid in your head by recruiting friends to do the same. Alcohol is an accelerant for this behavior. I used to do this shit all the time! In reality- you’re using the lowering of your inhibitions (alcohol) to make life more difficult by adding to the story or problem you came up with, by pretending to add more solutions to fix it. The ideas that came from the lowered, alcoholic inhibited state, come from a place of anger and disgust, so the solutions you think are helping you, are instead 99% the dumbest ideas you could have possibly come up with. You were drunk when you came up with these ideas, but now you feel that you have to defend them because they came out of your mouth in front of so many of your ‘closest friends’. So now you’re living the lie that you told yourself while you were drunk, only now you’re sober listening to the drunk you. So now what? Get drunk again so it all makes sense? Supercharge those biochemicals and go deeper into the cycle of negative thought? But what if you’re alone, what stories do you make up if there is nobody to validate them? This cycle continues into alcoholism.
Try living that way and not have massive anxiety about life. You can’t. You have to deal with things as they come so that alcoholism is no longer a valid way to mask your problems. The discomfort you get when you try and change something in your life is your body telling you that it’s used to living in the same way that you’ve trained it to live and function, and that’s why you have to push through the change with positivity. If you keep doing the same things to keep your environment the same, how would you expect your cravings and desire to drink to leave? So now you’re in AA. You stand up and say, “My name is Neil and I AM and alcoholic and an addict.” I just told you and everyone else, including myself, that I AM an alcoholic thus keeping my brain and body in the same state, forcing it to make the same chemicals that I’m familiar with and addicted to, but I no longer have the alcohol to depress those feelings and emotions that I created when I made the statement (breathe). Now I’m screwed because I’m convincing myself that there’s no solution to my problem. Why is this a good idea again? It’s not. 12-step programs or traditions, and methods like AA are just keeping you deeper into alcoholism (good intentions gone bad because there’s no science), because your body is chemically reacting the way you taught it to react, only without you having the escape of drinking. The environment needs to focus on health and moving forward, something different, not just more of the same without the alcohol. Our bodies don’t work like that, that’s why AA is only about 50/50 when it comes to success rate (that’s a coin flip). It’s a dangerous sober place to live and can become an even more dangerous addiction than alcohol, because you’re forcing yourself to stay an alcoholic without the alcohol. Your body still believes that it is an alcoholic even though you choose not to drink! If you’re doing real work on the real problem, you just might be able to kick the cravings and learn how to be a better you than ever before. I’ve been dealing with alcoholism for 40 years and have watched people fail and die because of it. I have also failed myself with all the methods of sobriety that I learned, until I came up with my own process that deals with science, biology, and epigenetics. We didn’t have a good understanding of these things in 1935 or even 1995 for that matter, so that’s why these ideas may seem new, but they’re not. Our bodies have worked the same way since the beginning of humans, so don’t try and reinvent the wheel! I’m not telling you what to do. I’m telling you why (biologically) you’re doing it, but it’s up to you to find it and change it. Thanks for reading! Have a Powerful Day!