Why do people drink alcohol is a baffling question! I am always spouting on about there being ‘no benefits to drinking alcohol‘. I even challenge all comers to come up with a reason to drink that I can’t defend.
So, I do love it when someone takes me on. Thank you to Jay who emailed with this:
Your whole philosophy is based on honestly believing that alcohol is a complete lie in our minds, and there’s no reason to drink.
This is where unfortunately I disagree with you on ONE point. Because it’s easy to believe your doctrine of how bad alcohol is for you, and it’s easy to understand how its poison and does tons more harm than good.
However, the ONE point where you are wrong (or maybe not even wrong, but just chose to not mention?) is that when someone like me has a drink of alcohol, especially after taking 2-3 days off, is that alcohol literally DOES make one feel “good”.
Why do people drink alcohol? Well, alcohol DOES make one feel euphoric, it DOES make me feel more confident.
I completely understand your point of saying that if you abstain for a long, long time you can feel “good” without alcohol, and I AGREE with that, but the “euphoric” feeling one gets from alcohol is not something you can get from a normal mindset.
Is it a lie? The feeling? Hell yes, but nevertheless, it IS true that alcohol DOES make you feel euphoric. For this reason ALONE, I think my personal quest to stop drinking has been impossible.
I agree there is a sensation of euphoria when you drink alcohol… but there has to be, or nobody would drink. However, is it really a benefit?
The need to gain pleasure and avoid pain, these two objectives control all areas of our life. The central nervous system knows this, and it uses this principle to make you dance like a puppet on a string.
When you get food poisoning, the body recognizes that there is poison in your system and to keep you alive it must make you evacuate the contents of your stomach.
It doesn’t ask for your opinion on this and it doesn’t care whether you agree.
You are made to feel so violently ill that you think you might die. Then after you have thrown up the entire contents of your stomach into the toilet, you suddenly feel a lot better.
This is the central nervous system using both stick and carrot to manipulate you. The stick is used to make you throw up and the carrot comes in the form of a dopamine release as a reward for doing as you were told.
The drug applies pressure on you to drink again. You experience this as a sensation of stress, anxiety, and unrest. We often explain this feeling away as the result of a hard day at work or the kids playing up. Rarely do drinkers stick their head up out of the denial and point the finger of blame at alcohol.
As soon as you comply with the Evil Clown you are rewarded with a sensation of euphoria. But is this a good thing? Is this a benefit of alcohol?
No, because it is really a piece of sleight of hand. The euphoria is not for your benefit, it is to distract you from what else is going on. With that first drink, the drug disables the part of your brain responsible for making sound decisions.
Why you are busy with the euphoria the only part of your brain capable of keeping you to ‘just one drink‘ has been switched off.
But why do we find excuses to drink?
Most alcoholics are in denial about the condition.
They think they are a social drinker and can drink in moderation should they so wish. This goes on until life gets so dismal for them that they either have a medical scare, lose their career or relationship, or segregate themselves totally from society. And of course, continue to consume alcohol. This is despite all the destruction going on around them.
Alcoholism is a progressing disease. Problems with alcohol never get better on their own… only worse!
Frequently people think an alcoholic is an individual in a dirty raincoat, living on a park bench swigging whiskey from a brown paper bag. But a functional alcoholic can be a career-high flyer, a professional person, a teen, college students, doctors, men, and women. Anybody.
Many problem drinkers can have a job for many years and control their drinking. But the bouts of excessive alcohol consumption get nearer together and the uncontrolled quantities become greater in order to locate that euphoria effect alcohol provides a faux benefit.
Just being able to have one drink does not mean you don’t have a problem. The real test is for an alcoholic is to attempt controlled drinking. I frequently stopped drinking for a bit without an issue and I used this fact as proof I didn’t have a problem with alcohol addiction for many years.
Most problem drinkers every now and then can stop drinking for a while. However, they often fail to deal with the reasons for their reliance on alcohol. This is called Dry Drunk Syndrome and unless you deal with it, you will be sober but miserable.
The cycle then starts all over again. Why do people drink alcohol when there are no real benefits? Because it is not the harmless social pleasantry that the marketing suggests. Alcohol is a dangerously addictive drug.
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