Thoughts on Control

So you think, or even know that you’re drinking too much. Perhaps you are running out of your pain pills too fast. You’re frightened. You’re trying to avoid pain – emotional and physical. You certainly aren’t having fun. Others think you’re more interested in pursuing your own pleasure and you don’t give a damn about them – especially the ones you love.

They are almost right.

It is not pleasure you’re after, it’s just trying to maintain. But even though you might care about them, you aren’t going to act on their behalf any longer.

You’re too preoccupied with yourself.

The less you and they talk, the better. You really want to be alone (apologies to Ms. Dietrich). You think you might be able to figure this out, if not today, then certainly tomorrow. You won’t admit it now, but you know that when tomorrow comes, a drink will be required to help you with the courage to face down the awesome task of stopping what is killing you.

So tomorrow comes, you don’t feel well. If today is the day to think about taking action, you have a drink to get you ready. Immediately it becomes clear that today isn’t quite right, but you will drink less. Trouble is, after another shot or 2 the dopamine is surging in your brain and your gaba (calming) receptors have been activated and the whole problem does not seem so overwhelming. Not necessary to stop – at least not for long. Just show that you can drink less and everyone – especially you – will be happy.

Or so it seems.

Trouble is, the day progresses as the previous ones have and suddenly you’re craving sleep – escape – and you know that tomorrow is likely to be the same…

This might not be exactly the scenario, but I’ll bet some variation of it exists.

What to do next- that is the question.

My challenge is to make clear what worked for me and ask you to consider trying to think about your problem in the same way.

What I found that worked was simple – it just wasn’t apparent to me until it seemed overwhelmingly difficult. When I embraced it, suddenly the task of stopping seemed possible. All doubts of success began to disappear.

The attempt to control my drinking was the problem. Stopping that exhausting, confusing and self defeating process freed my brain enough to see clearly for the first time in years.

There are lots of people who don’t drink or don’t drug anymore. Guess what they have in common?

They stopped.

They aren’t controlling their habit.

They stopped.

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