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How well are your emotional needs being met?

Old 11-04-2017, 06:18 PM
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How well are your emotional needs being met?

It seems common sense, that a lot us us started drinking too much because we felt there was something missing in our lives, maybe we felt lonely or unrecognised, didn't have a sense of purpose, felt unable to express ourselves due to social anxiety, felt like nobodies, maybe had sleep problems or traumatic memories. The booze took away the pain. I think it's common-sense to say that when we are in a low place, we're vulnerable to falling into the trap of addiction.

I take the stance that if someone’s drinking too much it’s a sign that their life is in a ****** place; 'they’re drinking because of their situation’ seems common sense, rather than the stance ‘their life is **** because of drinking’. If someone’s drinking too much, it’s likely a sign that they’re in an unhappy situation which is still relevant to this day (and amplified by drinking).

How well are your emotional needs being met?
https://www.hgi.org.uk/resources/emo...eeds-audit-ena

It’s true that not all people who develop drinking problems do so because of an unhappy situation, there’s a cohort of people who end up partying too hard.

The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of people who end-up drinking too much do so because they’re in an unhappy situation. Drink is not a solution, it's an amplifier of the original pain and creates additional pain, but the short term comfort it gives proves irresistable.

I think it's fair to say that the cycle of addiction works like this;

painful situation+short term relief+amplified unhappiness

Arguments against this stance
Some will argue that we might be using the unhappiness and loneliness as justification for our drinking. Whilst I acknowledge that it might be true that how we talk to ourselves can influences our motivations, this is no argument to ignore what original unhappiness might have motivated us to drink too much in the first place, which may well still be present today.

There's also the argument that drinking is a personal choice and that you can choose. Yes, I agree totally, we are ultimately responsible for how we choose to cope with what life throws at us, but again, this shouldn't be used as an excuse to ignore any original unhappiness in the person's life that's motivating the person to drink in the first place. What I think could be dangerous is if the drinker is made to feel like they're being weak by 'not exercising the choice' using alcohol, that other people in their very same situation won't be as negatively affected and that they're being weak. This will of course make them feel like crap and will motivate them to drink more and will fuel cravings.

To end
My criticism of much alcohol addiction treatment is that it seems ignorant of the wider problems that motivated one to drink in the first place. I think it's incredibly important to look at how well your needs are being met, and address the original unhappiness. It's important to distinguish between original and amplified unhappiness.

Do check out the emotional needs audit within the link.
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:56 PM
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When I started drinking I was fairly unhappy but life changed for the better in my early twenties. Unfortunately, instead of cutting back my drinking continue to progress.

My feeling is there is something about my physical makeup which makes me susceptible to addiction. Maybe genetics. Alcoholism runs in my family. Or maybe that's just a cop-out and I'm simply weak-willed. Bottom line: it never mattered if my emotional needs were met or not.

I would drink regardless.
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:44 PM
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The only way I was able to stop drinking for good was to quit trying to figure out "why" I drank. Accepting that I could not/cannot drink responsibly was far more helpful. Arguing about it did not help me either.
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:21 PM
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I can say only that my personal experience of alcoholism doesn't comport at all well with your arguments and stances and declamations of various "truths."

Why not share a bit about your own personal experience of alcoholism rather trying to solve it as an abstract analytical problem requiring argument of a particular stance?
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:35 PM
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You assert that the vast majority of people who drink too much, do so because they are unhappy. That's not my experience, that's not usually what I've seen in years of sober interactions with people who have drinking problems, and I think it's probably statistically incorrect. But more importantly, I'm not sure why it matters. If you have a drinking problem, the one and only solution guaranteed to end that problem is to stop drinking, and at that point if you want to make other changes in your life, you can make them.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:36 PM
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I take the stance that if someone’s drinking too much it’s a sign that their life is in a ****** place; 'they’re drinking because of their situation’ seems common sense, rather than the stance ‘their life is **** because of drinking’. If someone’s drinking too much, it’s likely a sign that they’re in an unhappy situation which is still relevant to this day (and amplified by drinking).
Yeah I rather ferociously argued that if you had my life you'd drink too -
I was going through a 'bad patch' and my drinking would definitely return to normal, or at least lessen when my life got better.

20 years later my life got better, worse, and all stages in between - and I was still waiting for that magical eventuality of good things to happen and for me to quit drinking.

Turns out when I quit drinking everything else got better - not right away, and not without work but it got better.

I was a pretty smart and resourceful guy - I could always find things to prove my stance.

I'd suggest you have access to some pretty decent longitudinal case studies here on SR that you might also what to consider along with anything else you might find.

But I'm not here for an argument - just sharing how it was for me.


If you're not coping with your life as is - stop drinking.

It won't be helping change anything.
You'll just be trying to tolerate the untolerable.

If you want to stop being poisoned, stop taking the poison.

D
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:34 AM
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My life wasn't really in a %&*^( place. I had many of the external things that are supposed to make one 'happy'. I drank because I was an alcoholic. I drank because my body and mind were physiologically addicted.

As others have said it already, but nothing else changed until I got sober first. Then my work began - which was mainly internal.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:00 AM
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I think addiction probably has as many (sometimes subtle) flavors as there are addicts. While many here drank to enhance a good time or socialize or to with some other "happy" goal, that was not the case for me at all over the last decade or more. I drank to escape, so in my individual case, this does not compute:
painful situation+short term relief+amplified unhappiness

For me, I think it generally looks more like:
psychic pain > desire to escape > drinking > relief > checked out

I spent years and years trying to find my algorithm, thinking knowing it would help me to solve my problem. In fact, my many therapists were right - there was no way I could devise the theorem while still drinking abusively.

Had to quit in order to figure myself out.

I do believe that my life was *** and I have had many problems since childhood that contributed to my desire for relief/escape. I also believe that I drank too much because there is a hereditary factor that made this "work" for me. Did my life become unmanageable because of drinking? Yes, but then again my life was always unmanageable. I drank because I was in a crappy place and drinking made it crappier.

Chicken or egg?
Just don't drink.

O
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:16 AM
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My criticism of much alcohol addiction treatment is that it seems ignorant of the wider problems that motivated one to drink in the first place.

reading this,i would conclude that you havent delved into addiction treatment and learned what different addiction treatments focus on.
there are a few recovery programs and hundred of thousandas of addiction counselors,therapists, and psychologists that get pretty deep into the underlying issues addiction/alcoholism is only a symptom of.
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Old 11-05-2017, 10:03 AM
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they’re drinking because of their situation’ seems common sense, rather than the stance ‘their life is
I disagree. I drank two bottles of wine per day because I'm an alcoholic. It wasn't something external but because I have the disease of alcoholism.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:02 PM
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Some people eat too much when they re in pain. Some people have ocd and try to control everything and everyone when they are in pain. Some people become clinically depressed but don’t drink, overeat or use drugs at all; they just can’t get out of bed.

Alcoholics drink when they are in pain. Why? It works for them. It doesn’t work for people who are not alcoholics: not even close. We make a chemical in our brain (THIQ) that causes a unique high when we drink.

If your argument is that we have a problem because our needs weren’t met: then you’re arguing that everyone can become an alcoholic and I’m just not convinced that’s true.

I’ve met too many people at my stage of life who had ample opportunity to become an alcoholic, drinking environments and plenty of pain and stress. Yet they didn’t and I did. I was born with this tendency. They were not.

That’s my take.
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:06 PM
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This is where I see people who over think this program think themselves to death. They search for the intellectual cause instead of addressing the illness itself.

Got news for ya. Addiction specialists don't have this all figured out yet.

Address the illness and get sober and the why will reveal itself to your specific case in time. Without the clarity of sobriety it's just more drunk mindf#$%ing.

There. Simple. Now do yourself a favor and get some help.
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Old 11-05-2017, 11:05 PM
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I think that drugs and alcohol are an extremely effective way to erase pain. Its not that they dont work, its that they work all too well. But there are many other ways to do so without dealing with the root causes of emotional pain.

Its has little to nothing to do with external forces in our lives. Someone can have what appears to be everything...a loving family, financial security and a job they love, respect from peers, etc and still be miserable. Others can face horrible circumstances with resiliant optimism.

Becoming abstinent is a necessary first step on the road to healing deep emotional wounds, but its not the end of the road.
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Old 11-06-2017, 02:43 AM
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I consider alcoholism a maladaptive coping mechanism that I learned quite young. Childhood trauma+genetics+easy access to booze were the perfect mix in my situation.

So in a sense, yes the booze helped to ease the pain. But I also drank when I was happy. And when I was bored. And if it was Tuesday, etc etc.

Booze was also the ongoing *cause* of a lot of my pain. That's why it was absolutely crucial for me to get sober before attempting to deal with the rest of the mess. And to be honest, even though I'm a little ways in and have a much clearer mind, I don't quite trust myself yet to make major decisions.

Time, perspective, and patience.
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Old 11-06-2017, 05:17 AM
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I think a lot of people drank to cope with the pain of certain experiences in life. I've yet to meet an alcoholic who did not have some very real, deep pain. This is why so many of us go on to seek counseling, therapy for PTSD, holistic healing, acupuncture etc. Life's traumas are not an excuse to drink anymore - once we have tagged them for what they are. But we can't ignore them either.
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Old 11-06-2017, 05:25 AM
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The old why did i drink. What a complicated answer. The simple answer is i drank becasue i'm an alcoholic and its best that i try not to over think this or i might drink.

but I will say that initially it was more or less I was self medicated becuase of some crap circumstnaces.

But for example just the other day. I had a tooth rremoved. after I wanted to go get drunk. why? because it was such a relief to have this done my AV reasoned i shoudl go celebrate and relax after this terrible expierience.

I got a bucket of reasons why i drank and on the bucket it says "casue i'm an alcholic" lol. Cause i'm an alcholic I like to drink when things are bad. Cause i'm an alcholic I like to drink on tuesdays. Cause i'm an alcholic I like to drink on any day lol. on and on.

but the emotional side of it did play a large role. I struggled so much to face life and its BS that it was easier to just numb out with booze as often as possible.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:46 AM
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To me an alcoholic is someone who drinks despite significant and usually escalating negative consequences.

Generally most people, not just addicts/alcoholics, have unresolved trauma in their lives. Drinking/using is a great way not to face them. However, avoidance doesn't solve the problem. Over time, what started as a coping mechanism takes on a life of its own, and addiction progresses.

Once that mechanism is removed, the pain remains in a fully exposed raw state that is at best uncomfortable and at worst terrifying. No wonder so many relapse.
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by zjw View Post
The old why did i drink. What a complicated answer. The simple answer is i drank becasue i'm an alcoholic and its best that i try not to over think this or i might drink.

but I will say that initially it was more or less I was self medicated becuase of some crap circumstnaces.

But for example just the other day. I had a tooth rremoved. after I wanted to go get drunk. why? because it was such a relief to have this done my AV reasoned i shoudl go celebrate and relax after this terrible expierience.

I got a bucket of reasons why i drank and on the bucket it says "casue i'm an alcholic" lol. Cause i'm an alcholic I like to drink when things are bad. Cause i'm an alcholic I like to drink on tuesdays. Cause i'm an alcholic I like to drink on any day lol. on and on.

but the emotional side of it did play a large role. I struggled so much to face life and its BS that it was easier to just numb out with booze as often as possible.
I drank when life was great, too. I drank when life was bad, I drank when I was stressed, I drank to celebrate....and the worst part of it was, when I was not drinking? I could think of nothing else.

I see it in people who donít have much sober time and also in people who havenít closed their drinking door. They obsess.

I donít miss that obsession!!!!!! As awful as drinking was, that may have been the worst part...that inability to just live and not think about it all the damned time.
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Old 11-14-2017, 05:38 PM
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The reason I made this post was to assert that it's important to be in touch with the original reason for starting to drink.

RE Andante
Why not share a bit about your own personal experience of alcoholism
I'm glad you asked this. Being at a social dead end, having limited social opportunity, social anxiety, losing hope of finding love, feeling trapped, not having anyone to talk to about how I feel. These were all major motivators for me to drink on my own.

I acknowledge that not all people develop drink problems due to unhappy circumstances, but this shouldn't be used to write off the fact that a lot of people who have drinking problems are in unhappy situations, whether caused by their drinking problems, or original and exacerbated by drinking. It certainly shouldn't be used to discredit original unhappiness.

I posted the Human Givens website because it makes sense to me and my situation. A lot of the literature I read on drinking comes from the stance that people drink because they're weak and broken, that the reasons they're drinking don't matter; that they 'should know better'. To me that just sounds incredibly insensitive and makes me incredibly cross.

Though not all drinking problems result from unhappiness, all of them result in unhappiness. That's one thing we can all agree on. That doesn't mean that any original unhappy situations be ignored.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:59 PM
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I've been the guy who believed by emotional state was the culprit behind my drinking. It seemed obvious to me - I didn't like myself, I didn't really like my life much, I wasn't satisfied with the way things were progressing (or not progressing) so that's why I drank.

Trying to recover with that as my core belief became an endless game of wack-a-mole. I'd find more sources for my drinking and then have to create new solutions to counteract them.

I don't remember if it was in a meeting, listening to an open talk, or talking to my sponsor that I got hit with a couple things that blew my theory away - at least as it related to me (perhaps it's true for some ppl, as I'll discuss in a moment). First was the consideration that if I'm really an alcoholic, is it possible that I lost the ability to control my drinking REGARDLESS of my emotional state? Next was the question of whether I can even control my emotional state - hadn't I "wanted" to be happy for a long time......how was that working out Michael? Then there was the biggie - the differentiation between a heavy problem-drinker and a real alcoholic. The problem drinker CAN give it up AND be ok - provided they take the appropriate corrective measures and work at it. For the real alcoholic, such a remedy is temporary at best.

I had to search my past, and even my present, to see what MY TRUTH was, and is. The most dominant thought at the time was, "Jeez Mike, you've GOT to be able to get control of this thing....the drinking, your future, your very happiness........ you've got to get back on track. Other ppl do it in the face of horrible obstacles, you sure as hell can do it too." Where I ended up was in a place that I'd been making every effort I could think of, looking for any method I could find, tried every avenue of relief I could find or had heard about to try and bring some balance, happiness and some degree of normalcy into my life for as long as I could remember.........yet here I am. I was painted into a corner so tight that it would have been ignorant of me to think that my life was manageable or that I wasn't suffering from "lack of power."

I still wanted to go back to the evens though....the things that happened that hurt me along the way......the times where I wasn't appreciated, the times I wasn't loved, the times where other ppl just didn't understand what I was going through. Surely all those things played a roll in it right? It just seemed so logical. When it finally hit me that I actually am an alcoholic, I was able to drop the last of those sophomoric beliefs.

Because I'm an alcoholic, I WILL drink. Good times, bad times, feeling hurt, feeling like a million bucks, not feeling much at all, being appreciated, being under appreciated, being credited for things I didn't even do, feeling anxious, feeling loved, feeling like I finally have life by the balls, feeling like I'm a complete failure, feeling like I'm neither the best or worst but just somewhere in the middle.............etc etc etc. As someone with alcoholism, I will exhibit certain traits regardless of my emotional state - the actual state or just my perception of it.

These realizations translated into a desire to seek out a solution to alcoholism. I was still pretty sure those other things were major issues and needed to be dealt with but, for now, I'd just focus on the biggest problem at hand - that I'm an alcoholic - and then I'd address the other stuff later.

To this day - 10+ years into practicing - it still amazes me how when I apply the treatment to the alcoholism in my life........every fricking ONE of those other "major issues" seems to practically disappear - and if not disappear, the sure seem to weigh a whole lot less.

Vulcan, you're certainly free to assert anything you'd like, to research anything you'd like, and to live your life any way you'd like. What I'd suggest you consider is that maybe it's possible that while those circumstances you've mentioned may be present for some ppl, and may be present for you, either they are your problem OR alcoholism is your problem. If it's just the issues, you're not an alcoholic and figuring them out will be your solution. If you're an alcoholic, they'll continue to change and morph or maybe even seem to lessen......but the alcoholism will not be treated - not at it's root anyway.
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