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Why Alcoholics go on Drinking

Old 01-15-2013, 02:14 PM
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Why Alcoholics go on Drinking

Came across a segment from the movie "I Am Bill W" which explains why alcoholics continue drinking even when they want to stop. As a recovering alcoholic I understand what he's saying, it illustrates the very distorted thinking of an active drunk. Bill Wilson's wife, Lois, started Alanon. Wilson says in the Big Book it's the disease of insanity. He doesn't mean the crazy things drunks do, it's the act of constantly picking up a substance that causes pain to himself and others.

Why People Have a Hard Time Changing - YouTube
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:44 PM
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Yup--I can't say how often I've heard that from people at meetings, and it applies to me, too. The vast majority of us seem to feel we missed something when the "coping with life" instructions were handed out. Alcohol makes other people feel strange and they only enjoy it for a little while. We need it to feel "normal," and we feel strange and uncomfortable when we aren't drinking.

Of course, nobody wants to admit all that fear and dysfunction, so we blame our drinking on our jobs, our partners, how unfair life is, etc.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:55 PM
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Watching that, It's him, my xabf.

I saw him , it was him.

Heartbreaking.

Nothing to do but walk away.

Hardest thing I ever did.

It changed me. The pain , I think it made me old.

The A's and codies on this forum know pain some people can't imagine.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:04 PM
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Fabulous movie. Too bad most alcoholics will never see it.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:27 PM
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I am re-reading UNDER THE INFLUENCE by Milam and Ketcham and they discuss how the actual tissue cells and blood cells of the alcoholic actually are changed by alcohol abuse and these changes modify the physiology of the drinker's body. The changes actually demand more alcohol in order to stay off the effects of withdrawal. It's as though the body passes a point of no return, or at least a point of excruciating return.

The need for alcohol is in charge of the alcoholic and not the persons will or desires.

This is all more complex than any one theory of research study and but there seems to be some understanding in this book...for me. It helps me to cope and go on.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Katiekate View Post

It changed me. The pain , I think it made me old.

The A's and codies on this forum know pain some people can't imagine.
So I have a theory..l. Ok lots of theories.
But this one may be something.

Sometimes we look at someone whimpering over a broken fingernail and it's nauseating.

I think if you put 100 people in a room who are all experiencing the greatest stress of their life they will all be reacting the same physiologically. For me it was hearing I had a few months before cancer was going to kill me off (thank you, Lord, for the issues with authority thou hath bestowed upon me, I didn't listen). For some it's a breakup, for Taylor Swift it might be that she smiled at a boy who didn't smile back (album will be out a week later). Actually cancer was 4 or 5, all this self examination crap has opened some doors and flipped over some rocks I shoulda let be. Maybe that's why I looked at the dimwit doc and laughed that I'd be at his funeral.

But it's the same reaction and it's incapacitating for a time.

Our bar gets higher with time and we learn to cope and move on. I think watching Poh come close to dying was near my bar because my coping skills didn't work... But maybe I'm adjusting and accepting and coping a little more quickly because I've been blessed with enough "opportunities for growth". Lol.

I have a point here somewhere... I think it's that we tend to believe another person is in less pain, especially if they caused ours... Assuming theirs is just as great might be more accurate and is likely more conducive to finding the empathy we need sometimes.

I had a why me (rhymes with whiny) moment where I got mad at myself and thought "why not you a$$hole - you're equipped to handle this.... Quit bitching".

A friend here cringed a little when I cracked a joke about some old scars but I am appreciative (not thankful) for the things I'd rather forget because it makes it easy to believe that I've seen worse and my best times have come on the heels of the worst. Growing sucks, it really hurts but comfort and winning never taught me much, getting my ass kicked has.

Yikes, this is coming off wrong... Point is that if you are here and reading and venting and coping then that sharp pain is on its way to being a dull ache which turns into wisdom. Maybe the next crises would have taken your knees out if not for what's happening now, maybe instead of taking your knees out it will be a mild annoyance.

Just hate seeing anyone in that state of despair... Maybe the answer to "why me" is that I need to learn something today in order to handle something else later, or help a friend through it...

No idea if that makes sense. Grateful to have friends to kick it around with.

When life is kicking your ass just don't join in... Your picking up new tools and doing the best you can with the ones you have until you learn to use them. If that makes sense... It's a lot easier to forgive and feel sadness rather than anger toward that addict... Then pray they find and use the tools.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:26 AM
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I have been at a conference where a speaker, Dr. Gabor Mate (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction: Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine: 9781556438806: Amazon.com: Books) posited a very interesting theory. It goes a bit along the lines of Lexie Cat's post. The theory is based on early childhood development; that for future addicts, certain brain receptors don't develop, thereby diminishing the brain's capacity to survive on its own drugs (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, etc) that allows us to cope with life events in a healthy way. If these receptors don't develop properly, we are left with physiological needs and emotional needs not met, i.e. the ability to self-soothe and "get over stuff". He wrote a book on it (linked above) based on his own work in Canada, so please feel free to read the book while I work hard at butchering his message here!

He talked of people who are addicted to alcohol as people who have malfunctioning receptors, not a genetic predisposition that happened when the egg was fertilized in the womb. He also dispels the "choice" theory by describing how substances affect certain receptors and trigger the very natural drug the brain creates that has not been created before the substance was ingested. And it works! That's why some people talk about being "hooked" from day one...it works. And why some talk of not liking certain drugs or having a completely different reaction to substances than the experts predict should happen. The effect of the substance on the brain depends on our own unique individual physiological make-up, which receptors are working properly and which are not.

Using myself as an example - I am a long time on and off again smoker, plus a die hard coffee drinker. I cannot function without coffee in the morning! I am also a workaholic...driven and ambitious and have a hard time sitting still. So nicotine and caffeine work on my brain on the dopamine levels, allowing my otherwise scattered thought process to focus and function. Alcohol and illegal drugs do the same in others. And he uses this theory to explain why some people can take LOADS of oxycotin or valuim for periods of time where there is acute pain or stress, and not get addicted. Or some of us can drink everyday, one or two drinks, and never want or need any more than that. Or some of us smoke marijuana and feel stimulated instead of lethargic and relaxed. Or why the two times I tried cocaine as a late-teen, I hated it (I am already high strung, cocaine made that SO MUCH WORSE!)

He scoffs at the "Just Say No" campaign that we've waged over the last few decades by saying "why would someone who is deficient in an area that may be socially disabling in their lives say no to a substance that cures that disability?" Maybe, for the first time in a long time (or ever), they feel "normal" on that substance. It becomes something needed to survive, to be normal, to feel things (or not), to be able to be socially functioning, love others, and feel safe and protected. Our natural brain drugs do that for us. If we are missing receptors that trigger those drugs in our bodies, we are more apt to be drawn to substances that recreate that for us externally.

Very interesting theories! Just thought I'd share.

And by the way - there were about 200 people in the room, and for an entire hour, it was riveted silence while he spoke. No clinking of coffee cups, shuffling, coughing, etc. I attend a lot of conferences and this is one of those few times I've seen someone captivate an audience like that. Amazing.

Cheers!
~T
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
I have been at a conference where a speaker, Dr. Gabor Mate (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction: Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine: 9781556438806: Amazon.com: Books) posited a very interesting theory. It goes a bit along the lines of Lexie Cat's post. The theory is based on early childhood development; that for future addicts, certain brain receptors don't develop, thereby diminishing the brain's capacity to survive on its own drugs (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, etc) that allows us to cope with life events in a healthy way. If these receptors don't develop properly, we are left with physiological needs and emotional needs not met, i.e. the ability to self-soothe and "get over stuff". He wrote a book on it (linked above) based on his own work in Canada, so please feel free to read the book while I work hard at butchering his message here!

He talked of people who are addicted to alcohol as people who have malfunctioning receptors, not a genetic predisposition that happened when the egg was fertilized in the womb. He also dispels the "choice" theory by describing how substances affect certain receptors and trigger the very natural drug the brain creates that has not been created before the substance was ingested. And it works! That's why some people talk about being "hooked" from day one...it works. And why some talk of not liking certain drugs or having a completely different reaction to substances than the experts predict should happen. The effect of the substance on the brain depends on our own unique individual physiological make-up, which receptors are working properly and which are not.

Using myself as an example - I am a long time on and off again smoker, plus a die hard coffee drinker. I cannot function without coffee in the morning! I am also a workaholic...driven and ambitious and have a hard time sitting still. So nicotine and caffeine work on my brain on the dopamine levels, allowing my otherwise scattered thought process to focus and function. Alcohol and illegal drugs do the same in others. And he uses this theory to explain why some people can take LOADS of oxycotin or valuim for periods of time where there is acute pain or stress, and not get addicted. Or some of us can drink everyday, one or two drinks, and never want or need any more than that. Or some of us smoke marijuana and feel stimulated instead of lethargic and relaxed. Or why the two times I tried cocaine as a late-teen, I hated it (I am already high strung, cocaine made that SO MUCH WORSE!)

He scoffs at the "Just Say No" campaign that we've waged over the last few decades by saying "why would someone who is deficient in an area that may be socially disabling in their lives say no to a substance that cures that disability?" Maybe, for the first time in a long time (or ever), they feel "normal" on that substance. It becomes something needed to survive, to be normal, to feel things (or not), to be able to be socially functioning, love others, and feel safe and protected. Our natural brain drugs do that for us. If we are missing receptors that trigger those drugs in our bodies, we are more apt to be drawn to substances that recreate that for us externally.

Very interesting theories! Just thought I'd share.

And by the way - there were about 200 people in the room, and for an entire hour, it was riveted silence while he spoke. No clinking of coffee cups, shuffling, coughing, etc. I attend a lot of conferences and this is one of those few times I've seen someone captivate an audience like that. Amazing.

Cheers!
~T
Mate's book is akin to my bible. It was transformative for me. He also talks about 12 step modalities and that they actually help change these deficient areas so that addicts have more coping skills and even change these areas so that, over time, they feel as though they don't NEED their drug to feel normal and function. Learning to live with positive values and intentions...

This book is a MUST READ.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Katiekate View Post

It changed me. The pain , I think it made me old.

The A's and codies on this forum know pain some people can't imagine.
Some days I look in the mirror and I feel 20 years older than I did when I got involved with the A. Why did I trust him, why did I let him hurt me so bad, why did I believe the lies? These things filter through my head on a daily basis. It's hard to not let it affect you.
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