“But what I get out of your story is that the abuse of alcohol caused the addiction, and the effects of alcohol caused a depression. Once you removed the depressant, you were able to remove the addiction.”
To which I replied;
I don’t see it that way at all. Firstly I don’t care for the word addiction all that much because it lends credence to the “disease” theory which I reject. Again I see it as a dependency and a choice.
I started drinking regularly at a fairly young age. It started at a New Year’s Eve party that my parents
were throwing. Me (12 at the time) and two of my buddies started by knocking down the remnants of people’s drinks and then liberated a bunch of beers and the near end of a few bottle of vodka, gin, etc….
I immediately loved the sensation and had the time of my life. My two friends both ended up vomiting all over the place and I’m pretty sure it was a pretty long time before either one of the considered another drink. Not me, I woke up the next day a bit hung over but already knew that this was it for me and
I’ll tell you why. I had severe social anxiety as a youth and now at the beginning-of the beginning- of puberty, it was getting worse. I attribute some of that to having been a premature baby and as a result I was late in developing and looked about 2-3 years younger than all of my contemporaries. They all seemed smarter, more confident and less self-conscious in a major way than I did. The booze more or less instantly took those inferiority complexes and put them on the shelf. It took me years to “catch up”
physically to all of my classmates and by that time, alcohol had become my method of dealing with
those “less than” feelings.
The alcohol didn’t cause an addiction; it simply helped me cope with underlying self-image issues. They were there whether or not I used alcohol to deal with them. Starting so young of course was a disaster because I lost interest in everything else and therefore my development was even further delayed. I had little initiative in classes, didn’t apply myself in artistic or athletic endeavors even though I showed great aptitude in both areas. I didn’t mature with the sense of self-worth that I should have because I had nothing to
hang my hat on. These things would all come into play later in life when due to my poor choices (or lack of making choices in general) found me living a life that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t good at forming close intimate relationships because I didn’t even have a good one with myself.
Depression did finally become a big part of the equation but really not until my mid 30’s or so. Up until then, while I knew I hadn’t lived up to my potential, I was OK with the idea that I was just your average (or so I thought) guy who hated his job, was in a semi-dead marriage (intimacy-wise) but who loved his
kids and having a good time (getting buzzed regardless of the activity). I honestly didn’t think I was all that different or “worse” than any of my neighbors.
Finally my lack of interests, dissatisfaction with my profession, my marriage, etc… finally grabbed hold and depression started to really creep in.
So again, I don’t see it as the effect of alcohol as having caused this depression but rather at the poor choices and my inability to form an identity that was the true culprit. Booze just cam along for the ride to help me
initially avoid that responsibility and then later to make feel less shitty about having never done so.
I figured this crap all out in the weeks and months after I made the DECISION to put the bottle down and face it all.
After that post, I felt I left something out so I added;
Hey, I just wanted to clarify one thing. I wasn't trying to imply that the effects of alcohol don't contribute to depression because they certainly can and in more cases than not probably do. At the end of my drinking, I was hiding it, figuring out how to make sure I didn't run out of it, fearful because I knew my blood alcohol level could get me arrested in my car more times than not, it was oozing from my pours yet still tried to "cover it up" ,etc..... This kind of crap and living in this kind of a sneaky, dysfunctional and empty way almost can't help but add to any depression that might be present. The booze/depression relationship can very much be questioned from a chicken or the egg argument because they no doubt feed one another. So when I quit, a lot of those on the surface causes for being depressed, disappeared pretty much immediately. It was the other more deeply rooted issues that required some serious soul searching, education and realignment of my coping skills, thinking methodology and acceptance of the realities of the world.
Enjoy your Sunday folks!