One of the reasons we tend to drink far too much when we fall off the wagon is because alcohol isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; we exaggerate the effects in our mind and build it up to be the elixir of life when all it really is, is a drug in a drink form. It’s the waste product of yeast. Or yeast shit, to put it bluntly. We give up our lives, money, relationships and self-respect to consume bacteria turd. But turning back to falling off the wagon, let’s examine the process in a bit more detail.
Let’s say you’ve stopped drinking and you have a really terrible day. You just want to take the edge off it. You think a drink will do that; it will take you from feeling utterly miserable to actually feeling happy and positive. You think of all the times you were happy and drinking, and you want that back. So you have a drink.
If that drink actually made you happy and you really wouldn’t have the need or desire for another would you? If you went from misery to happiness you’d be good to go. Sure, you might want another when the first drink started to wear off and the happiness started to wear off, but there’d be no great urgency to it.
But this isn’t what happens at all is it? That fact of the matter is that when we’re drinking regularly we simply yo-yo between the withdrawal and relieving the withdrawal. When we’re not drinking we suffer the withdrawal and we feel miserable and anxious, and when we drink we relieve the withdrawal and fee much better (or how we’d feel all the time if we’d never drunk to begin with). So alcohol does seem to relieve stress. Let’s say we are plodding through life, and something bad happens causing five points of aggravation. We already have five points of aggravation from the withdrawal. So we have 10 points of aggravation. We have a drink, and we get rid of the 5 points caused by the withdrawal. Of course we don’t analyse it to this extent. All we know is we’ve suffered a blow and alcohol has made us feel far better.
So even though it’s an illusion, we do genuinely feel better for a drink when we are drinking regularly.
The problem is that when you’ve stopped for any period, you have no withdrawal to relieve. Of course your subconscious doesn’t know that. It just knows a drink seems to help when things get bad. So when things get bad you immediately want a drink.
So if you’ve stopped for a bit, and you have a bad day and have a drink, the problem is that you have no physical withdrawal to relieve. So you are miserable and unhappy, you take a drink expecting to feel loads happier, but you don’t. You still feel miserable and unhappy, but now you feel slightly dulled and miserable and unhappy, in fact even more miserable and unhappy because you’ve started drinking again. So what to do? Well there’s two trains of thought, both leading to the same station.
The first is when we’re telling ourselves that we’re just having the one drink to take the edge off things. In that case we think that the drink we had didn’t do what we wanted because maybe it wasn’t strong enough, or there wasn’t enough of it. So we take another, and another and another, and so we go on as the drink continues to not have the effect we want. The other train of thought is where we didn’t drink to just have one drink, we started drinking again to get trashed. In which case the one drink doesn’t do what we wanted it to, nor does the second or third or fourth, but pretty soon we’re hammered anyway so we don’t really know what’s going on.
Either way we don’t get what we wanted, which was some substantial relief from the misery. But of course we were never going to get that because the drink only ever gave us relief from that element of the misery that was caused by the chemical withdrawal. Which we didn’t have in the first place as we’ve not been drinking for some days. So we drink and drink, we go from dulled to inebriated to utterly insensible, but what we don’t get is the lovely feeling of clarity and peace and confidence and happiness that we believed that drink would give us.
The annoying thing is that we still pay for it the next day. We get a hangover and all the anxiety and self disgust and misery, but we didn’t actually get the relief we were after in the first place. We pay the full price of admission without actually enjoying the show. But the next day we do get the withdrawal, because we drank the day before, so then when we take a drink we’re off and away. And so off we go again round and round on the merry go round we were looking to escape from in the first place.
When you stop drinking life is better, but no life is perfect. You’ll still have bad days. But if you’ve stopped for any length of time, a drink won’t even give you the illusion of offering you any relief. I don’t have the answer to your problems, and if you can’t find that answer yourself you may just have to suffer them. But I do know one thing from personal experience, a drink won’t help your problems, and if you’ve been off the drink for any length of time a drink won’t even take the edge off them. In fact all a drink will do is make you feel a whole lot worse.