Most problem drinkers have a reason they drink, or several reasons. Their partner, their job, their kids, their life. It’s not their fault. These things have happened to them and they drive them to drink.
In fact these are really just excuses. It helps to dissect this and analyse it fully using a classic example; it’s my partner’s fault that I drink. My partner is horrible, controlling, nagging, angry, they make my life a living hell. They drove me to drink. So let’s go back to the beginning and look at this in a bit more detail.
Firstly all drinkers tend to drink to take the edge off the bad times. A bad day at work, kids playing up, an argument, something irritating or depressing comes along and they take a drink to anaesthetise it. So if they are in a relationship that makes them unhappy then you can expect that they will drink more. But has that actually caused them to drink?
Remember that every human being on the planet suffers problems in one form or another, and although most people in the Western world drink (some 86% of people in the US), worldwide only approximately half the population of the planet drink. That’s an awful lot of people who manage to get through all the stresses and strains of life without having to rely on alcohol to get them through it. And there’s an increasing number of people in the West who now find that they can manage perfectly well without it. Take me for example. I spent 25 years relying on alcohol to get me through the bad times (and the good) but the past 5 years I’ve managed perfectly well (better in fact) without it.
The difference between the drinker and the non drinker is that the drinker turns to alcohol when they hit a bump in the road, the non drinker doesn’t. And that choice; to turn to drink or not to turn to drink, lies with the individual alone.
A person may have as their life partner someone genuinely horrible. The partner may be argumentative, critical, bitter, negative, self pitying and nagging. In that case the partner may genuinely be guilty of making the individual very miserable indeed. But it is the individual who has chosen to deal with that misery by trying to drink their way through it. That choice lies with the individual alone. That individual could choose instead to talk to their partner about the issues, leave them, do some exercise, go to counselling, speak to friends or family, read a book, go out to see a movie, or a million other things that could alleviate the misery. It is they and they alone who have decided to turn to the drink. Part of that decision making process may be subconscious and deeply ingrained, but it is still their responsibility alone.
This is true of any other problem they may face. Work, kids, bills, family arguments, anything, big or small. All of these things may cause you misery and may be completely out of your control, but when they happen you face a simple decision; drink to take the edge off them or use some other method to deal with them.
Nothing forces you to drink, no person and no event can make you drink. Something or someone can make you unhappy, angry or upset, but it is you and you alone who decides to deal with that emotion by drinking. In fact it’s an extremely poor method of dealing with life in any event. It provides only partial, slight and temporary relief, before magnifying any problems tenfold.
8 months sober to the day (18/06/2019) William Porters book was one of the most useful tools in my fight against alcoholism. I cannot begin to tell you how great it is to be free, it’s not all a bed of roses, there has been tough times, and will be in future, but I can handle ANYTHING without alcohol. I realised eventually I always had a reason, excuse to drink. I also blamed the Integrated Alcohol Services for not “curing” me. Until I finally took ownership of my drinking and realised that sobriety had to come from me, others were there to support me of course, but we have take full responsibility for lifting that glass to our mouth. You CAN take control and change your life.
I’m so pleased you are writing more regular posts. These are a great inspiration.
If you get chance can you please write something about how alcohol affects you on a plane when flying.
Very true. I always find your posts really inspiring William. Thanks for posting.