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  • Writer's pictureJeff Graham

The JOY of drinking?

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

"Reasons why I Drank' is a topic that is very interesting to me, and something that is essential for me to understand if I am going to maintain my sobriety. The only way I can eliminate those recurring cravings that I had is to identify their source and work on 'fixing' them. But one of the scenarios is tougher for me to figure out, more precisely, figure out just how to fix.

When I am angry or frustrated and want to drink, I typically have a source or cause of those feelings, Those are things that I can identify, put a picture to and easily place on the table to work with whether it's addressing a situation, forgiving someone that wronged me or letting go of rage about things I can not change. These are easily identifiable causes that each carry a full list of proven techniques for remedy, But what about joy? What about that desire to want more of a good thing. Is it wrong or 'bad' to want to feel even more happiness at a certain moment if it is attainable?

I am getting very good at 'playing out the tape'. I understand that when I start drinking the ending is usually not something that I was hoping for. I have learned that my results from drinking are not what I was hoping for when I started, and sadly those results were inevitable regardless of my intentions. But this is about realizing what happens when I drink, I want, and feel that I need, to understand the reasons and causes for my desires. So what about joy?

Drinking to drown a bad thing is understandable. It is normal for us to want to escape from pain, sadness, anger or the other negative emotions from the list. But why do I want to drink when I am happy? Maybe the answer is that I am an alcoholic and my purpose in life has always been to chase the 'more'. I have never been satisfied with 'enough' in fact I don't know if I've ever had 'enough' of something I've liked. So why can't I just be happy with being happy? Why is a really good thing not enough for me?

My goal during the work week is the weekend. The weekend always has the goals of the rewards for my 5 days of work, the time when I get 'Jeff time' and am given the fruits of my labors. In my world, living on the Ohio River, my week is filled with anticipation of being on the water with family and friends. For example, this coming weekend I can't wait for Sunday when I will get to take my son, visiting from out of town, out on the boat to do some fishing and father-son bonding. It's going to be great. But tell me why, when I am out on the water, pole in hand, with no cares in the world at that moment, will my mind tell me that though this is great, how much better would it be if we cracked open some beer. Why will my mind tell me that though this situation is great, just like I hoped for and anticipated all week, it would be even better with the addition of alcohol. Why isn't 'enough' enough? Why can't I be content with a great moment without being able to just enjoy what is? Why does 'enough' always turn into 'wouldn't a little more be even better?'

I struggle with this character flaw of mine. Unlike anger, there is no reason why during moments of joy and happiness I should want to add alcohol. My whole purpose in life is to get to those moments, and when I do, I should be able to just accept the moment and savor it. Wanting to fix a bad thing is understandable, but the insane desire to want even more of a good thing and potentially ruin it, is what baffles me! Maybe my frustration is that my mind still thinks that adding alcohol to a moment is the way to make that moment better/. Maybe I am still in the process of 'rewiring' my brain to not pull alcohol out of the files as the fix or enhance a moment. Perhaps thirty years of 'mental muscle memory' takes longer than a year or so to erase. I can assure you though, I will never stop looking to 'get' better. Ny pursuit of maximizing my sobriety and all the incredible unexpected gifts that I continue to receive will never cease. This is just too rewarding to ever give back.

My life is good right now, really good. I have developed a great program for myself that is giving me both progress and reward, but even with a good bout of sobriety, I want more! I want to really really fix all of the issues that could have been responsible for my drinking issues in hopes that they never return. I want to eliminate all of my flaws and put myself in a position of insurance against ever having to live 'that' part of my life that almost destroyed me and everyone that I love.

I am so happy that I have found sobriety. My life is better than I've ever remembered. My gratitude list for what I have been given by life is long and getting longer! Is it wrong to want more? Is it wrong to feel that, yes, this is great, but just think how much greater it would be if I had even MORE!!

Have a great weekend everybody, I am heading to the kitchen, i need 'more' coffee!!

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