Exactly what goes on in the head of an alcoholic?
I had begun a different post for today, but then realized I was making too many assumptions that non-alcoholics would know what I was talking about. We’ve talked briefly about the nature of the disease; about the mental obsession & craving, but this is just a symptom of a much larger problem. Alcoholics live in a perpetual state of restless, irritable and discontented. Alcohol, drugs, and other addictions can work to ease that discomfort for a time.
What does restless, irritable and discontented look like? I can’t speak for everyone, but in my head it’s a constant loop of negative self-talk: “You’re not good enough. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say. You’re stupid, lazy, ugly, fat. You’re a bad mother. You don’t deserve anything nice. Everybody’s judging you. They’re only being nice because they want something. No one loves you.” I could go on and on. That loop is accompanied by the ego shouting out for attention and the God-voice which tells me I am loved just for who I am. When I am “restless, irritable, and discontented,” these three are locked in a battle royale and I want to run and hide or do whatever I can to drown them out. [Please note: I do NOT actually hear voices like a crazy person. I fully understand these are all my own thoughts trampling on top of each other.]
The Big Book states that the alcoholic feels this way until “they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks – drinks which they see others taking with impunity.” It also tells us that “their alcoholic life seems the only normal one,” that they think everyone else experiences these feelings; that “no person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.” This denial often pushes alcoholics “into the gates of insanity or death.”
My name is Laurie and I am an alcoholic. I am bodily & mentally different from the general populace. I cannot pretend to be “normal,” but must embrace my alcoholism… or be destroyed by it.