Don't Blame Yourself For Alcohol Addiction, Blame Alcohol

Posted by Tony Cooper on

Don't Blame Yourself For Alcohol Addiction, Blame Alcohol

It is common to blame someone who drinks too much for their lack of discipline, self-regard or willpower. She's a lush they'll say as if the lush cared about what they think of her. But what is going on under the surface is a mixture of emotions that rage like bubbles in a pan full of water reaching boiling point. 

At first playful, bashful even, before becoming loud and obnoxious through falling over and spewing in the Taxi. We've all been there. 

Alcohol does this. Alcohol takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion from the first sip to the last and everything in between. Alcohol interferes with the brain chemistry, and visible displays of drunkenness, like a plane coming into land on a windy runway, mercifully reaching the bar before crashing headfirst into the step rail are ingrained in the public unconsciousness.

But there is a darker side to regular drinking. While a night on the town can be great fun and games, when you finally return to your bed the crashing realisation that you are all alone with your lonesome self can send you into suffocating despair. This is when the crying and moroseness begins. 

Everyone is different of course. For myself, the nights spent cheerlessly listening to Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and other singer-songwriters who specialise in the dark foreboding melodramatic “unmusic” make me question my sanity. Was this really in the name of having a good time? 

Whisky Lullaby By Brad Paisley/Alisson Krauss

He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory
Life is short, but this time it was bigger
Than the strength he had to get up off his knees
We found him with his face down in the pillow
With a note that said, "I'll love her 'til I die"
And when we buried him beneath the willow
The Angels sang a whiskey lullaby

if you've never heard this cheerful little ditty before, then settle down and make yourself comfortable with a jack daniels and coke and enjoy. 

Alternatively, take yourself out for a walk with the dogs or a meal with the wife, and you'll have missed absolutely nothing and made some memories you can treasure instead. 

No, no. It runs deeper than this. Far deeper. A lifetime of drinking alcohol can make you depressed for the long term without you realising it. Because you never experience sobriety for more than a day or two you don't appreciate how good life can be on the other side. You've fallen into an addiction trap of alcohols making. 

The thing is – it's not your fault. It is Alcohol's fault. It is Alcohol that did this to you. Why would you poison yourself every day and keep waking with bloodshot eyes like some ghoulish variation of Phil in Groundhog day? 

Why would you continue drinking long after the brain lights have gone out? Nobody home. Just me here doing stuff I don't even know I'm doing.

Are You Really Powerless Over Alcohol?

The idea that you are powerless over alcohol is something with which I can wholeheartedly agree. Once the first drink has gone down the hatch, all bets are off. Who knows what ridiculous situation we are going to end up in tonight or in which garden we will wake up. 

But the idea that you are powerless to stop this from happening. No. That's down to you. Recognise that it is the alcohol that did this to you and that you are not unlucky to be one of those unfortunates who is an alcoholic. 

You are lucky to recognise that alcohol is the problem here and it has absolutely nothing to do with your psychology, body makeup, genetics or anything else. 

You've done this to yourself by drinking too much, and now it's time to pay the piper. Alcohol is a drug, and it's an addictive substance. Play with fire, expect to get burned. Don't drink the first drink. 

The problem is that general society encourages alcohol consumption. The constant barrage of TV adverts, particularly in breaks for evening soaps where all the characters spend all their time in pubs. Supermarket advertising, the wine snobs, the twitter crowd all having a cheeky glass. 

You've been brainwashed into thinking alcohol is necessary to oil the wheels of your social life. But alcohol is causing all the problems. You turn to alcohol to make things better, but surprisingly instead, things get worse, so you drink more. 

It's not your fault. Alcohol is the problem here. It's not because you are fucked up in some way and can't handle the beer. 

Recognise that if you stop drinking, alcohol does not have any power over you. If you pick up that first drink and end up on a train to Scarbrough at 1 am then that's down to you. 

This is a choice. A choice to become a better version of yourself and enjoy life on its terms or to keep picking up that first drink. It's not you that is the problem here. It is alcohol.