For most of us, the lows of alcoholism are nothing new.
But have you truly hit the bottom yet?
This is subjective, of course.
The real question is – have you hit *your* bottom yet?
How much emotional pain one person can tolerate, before finally calling it a day and getting help, varies according to you and your personality.
This is precisely the factor that interventionists seek to push, when hired by families to convince their spouse/brother/mother/father/etc to enter treatment.
Let me give some examples. Do you recognize them in your life, or in someone you know?
– I’ve been late for work too many times now. They’re sacking me.
All the littles add up. Sometimes it takes an enemy like alcohol to help us realize this.
Our conscious can be relatively clean when skipping routine appointments, showing up late for meetings, or missing a bill here and there….
But if alcohol helps this continue, and become a pattern in your life – the consequences won’t take long to surface.
The only question is, how long we take to learn them.
Losing a job can be devastating. And the rationalisations that got you to that point, now have to ramp up, to continue to justify drinking.
– My partner left me
Relationships are perhaps the biggest learning ground we can experience in our lives. And, trying to navigate that whilst in the clutches of alcoholism is a near-impossible task, for even the most-lucid, high-functioning alcoholic.
Alcohol will make you miss important dates, details, people, and places, including your romantic partner.
It will whisper that “it’s ok…we didn’t need them anyway”, or “it’s all their fault, we know that” – as you try to alleviate the pain with more alcohol.
Communicating clearly to a partner about your needs, wants, and reciprocating with theirs, won’t last long when you need to be intoxicated to even barely function, and having a drink these days feels more like a chore than a celebration.
More relationships have likely been left in tatters due to alcohol than any other life factor.
– I crashed the car and injured someone.
How far will you go to rationalize injuring another human being? Imagine your future remorse about even considering this was acceptable.
“I wasn’t even going that fast!” – is what you tell yourself.
“They stepped out in front of *me*!”
God forbid, it was a child you hurt.
In the blur of alcohol escape, when we begin to look at pain like this, a part of us realizes this is too much to handle, and we turn back to the only coping mechanism (“friend”) we know – the bottle.
And the cycle continues.
– I was drunk and got arrested.
Alcohol and inebriation will make you do silly things. You’ll feel courage as if it’s real.
Alcohol affects neurotransmitters in the brain, meaning, emotions are exaggerated under the stress suffered by the limbic system.
Uncharacteristic aggression and fighting are more common when intoxicated. Insults or arguments can appear to be more hurtful than they are.
All of this means a drunken brawl will likely be rationalized the next morning, that “they were out of line” “they deserved it” etc, as the alcoholic in us rushes to protect and excuse any wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, despite these sad, and all-too-familiar stories, there are positives we must remind ourselves of.
Because it is only living *through* the pain and aftermath of these such episodes in our lives, that we can later look back, and realize that without the pain of event X, I never would have been strong enough to handle Y.
Or without losing that (job/partner/house/car/etc), I would never have found my way to my new (situation).
Or, whilst going through the trauma of X, I never would have imagined it would have led me to Y, today.
Sometimes, the end of a relationship, job, or health, can hold the positive too – it forces us to get help.
When someone else in our lives, hits their tolerance barrier, and refuses to enable us any longer, the alcoholic in us is angry, but the part of us that wants to live, rejoices.