Saturday, 28 August 2010

A Road to Alcoholism

Take a daughter who should have been a son. The mother wanted a boy. The mother can barely bring herself to name the child. The mother is cold and emotionally dead. The father is good but Victorian strict - too strict.

He is too critical of his daughter. The parents are incompatible. They argue. They shout at each other and don't get on. They stick together because there is nothing better for them.

The formative years roll out under this umbrella of uncertainty, antagonism and criticism. The objective of a parent is to instill confidence in a child. The opposite is being achieved. The child becomes very insecure. She grows up. She has low self-esteem.

An insecure person with low self-esteem automatically finds life a lot more difficult than it already is.

She discovers alcohol and it smooths out the rough edges. It makes her difficult and uncomfortable life more comfortable. Her brain warms to that feeling.

As her body becomes habituated to ethanal alcohol she needs more to get that warm feeling. The years roll by, maybe 20 years elapse. She creeps ever closer to the wire; the wire that is the boundary between control over drinking and addiction.

Without ever knowing it she slips over the wire. She will never be able to go back - to be normal again. Once you have crossed the wire, your life has changed for ever and it is a lot worse.

She losses control of her life. She losses jobs and cannot form relationships. She is considered mad by some people. She eats poorly and has health problems. Her life on occasions is chaotic. She has boxes of pills, plastic bags full of them. Most deal with depression. What else? When she is binging her physical surroundings of mess and her appearance, that of a tramp, mirror her self-loathing.

This once sweet, gentle daughter with a life of hope and aspirations ahead of her is living a nightmare. She is now in her 50s and barely hanging on. She thinks of one thing repeatedly - how to get out, really get out, not live in the twilight zone betwixt death and life.

She does not have the courage to kill herself but frequently thinks about it. Yes, there are some good moments. There are moments when the poison that is her damaged character is boxed up, quiet.

But, there is insecurity, low self-esteem and addiction to alcohol to control. These will always find a way to express themselves. They can be bottled up for a while but it'll come out somewhere, sometime, someway.

Jane has started to binge again. She has binged, gone to hospital, come out and almost immediately restarted. She went to the doctor to get a sick note and she bought two bottles of vodka on leaving the doctor's surgery. If I try and stop her she calls the police. There is no point trying to stop her.

As I said, it has to express itself and nothing will get in the way. She is waiting to be released from the agony of living. I want to stop loving and hating her.

Photo: by gustaffo89 (Flickr)


  1. That is so sad. I so understand every word, though and can relate. My mother terrorized and criticized me as a child and only now in my 40's does it all hit me. There was always hope, but in middle age there is reflection. On what I saw myself as being and how it didn't happen. I try to read these Buddhism wisdom quotes and they help, but to succeed requires repeated attempts with no fall backs.
    My Yoga instructor wrote this ...
    Grace sometimes works in fierce ways, and yours is a fierce path: sharp like a sword, burning like fire, but also gentle like the wind and air. Balance sometimes doesn't come all at once but is gained one skillful choice at a time...isn't it?…
    I'm really working on that skillful choice part, but have a few fall backs. I guess we need to step it up and surround ourselves with this kind of thinking constantly in order to achieve recovery.

  2. Make it clear that drinking will not be allowed in your home and that you may not be able to attend events where alcohol is being served.Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink at all. Then, try to stop drinking for 1 week. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. When you succeed and feel better, you may find it easier to cut down for good.


I'd like to hear the experiences of both alcoholics and the victims of alcoholics, please.