How Alcohol Kept Me Sane

It is easy for me to look back on my years of drunkenness, and to condemn myself for being a complete fool and a waster. The fact is though, that hindsight distorts reality because it means judging my past actions on what I know now. In other words, it’s kind of bullshit because I obviously didn’t know then what I know now. It is unfair of me to believe that I turned to alcohol at fifteen because of stupidity. The truth is that this was the best option available to me at the time, and I daresay that the same might apply to many people who end up falling into addiction.

Alcohol Helped Me Cope with Life

My parent’s marriage fell apart in a spectacular fashion when I was fifteen years old. Alcohol helped me cope with this reality. I’m not saying that it was my parent’s fault that I became a drunk – that’s not it at all- my real problem was that I didn’t have the inner resources to deal with that reality, and I’m not sure if anyone can be blamed for this. At first I tried to keep a handle on things by turning to meditation and martial arts, but these activities were at best only short-term distractions. My life spiraled out of control, and I did not feel able to cope at all. Suicide seemed to be the only way out for me until I realized that alcohol offered another way for me to escape.

I’ve no problem comprehending the motives that led me on a path to addiction. When I first began using alcohol it seemed to be offering everything that I ever wanted. It made me feel brave, and I no longer felt out of control. It gave me confidence. I loved the idea of walking through life in an alcohol fog. It felt like I’d been given a free pass in life – nothing could touch me. The only thing that I couldn’t understand was why everyone else wasn’t doing the same thing.

I continued to use alcohol even after the negatives effects of this behavior far outweighed the benefits. This was partly due to the fact that I’d developed a physical addiction, but this was certainly not the only reason. I continued to use alcohol because I didn’t have any better option – it was a case of, ‘it is better the devil you know’. I kept on looking for a way out of my problems, but none of these paths seemed to take me to where I wanted to go. It was only when I was able to find my own path that a full recovery became possible.

Why the Drugs Don’t Work

I don’t beat myself up for becoming a drunk. For all I know, things could have gone a lot worse for me if I hadn’t found a way to self-medicate my pain. The way I see it, alcohol was the best option open to me at that time in my life, but it turned out to be a lousy remedy in the long-run.

Alcohol is a drug, and it works by creating a temporary cushion between me and reality. It produces the illusion of coping but all that is really happening is avoidance. The problems are still there festering in the background, and it is impossible to stay numb to them forever. Reality refuses to be ignored, and it is able to find the cracks in any wall that we have built between ourselves and it.

I turned to alcohol to escape reality, but my problems had very little to do with reality. It was an easy mistake for me to make. At that time in my life, I didn’t understand that reality is always subjective and that it was my beliefs about the world that were the real source of my pain. It would never have occurred to me that all I needed to do was to abandon some bullshit beliefs about myself as these were the real cause of my suffering. I was incapable of understanding what I know now, and it wasn’t simply a case of lack of knowledge. It is a strange paradox, but it seems that I needed to suffer in order to discover that I never needed to suffer.

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