Why Is It So Hard To Quit Drinking?
First, please stop beating yourself up. You are not a failure because you haven't been able to stop drinking on your own. This isn't about a lack of willpower or the collapse of your determination. Part of your brain has been hijacked, but you can take it back!
Dependence on alcohol has many complex components that interact in amazingly elaborate and complicated ways. While each persons' experience with alcohol and story of becoming addicted is unique, everyone who becomes addicted shares a common condition.
Brain chemistry altered by
excessive alcohol consumption over time.
When someone occasionally drinks alcohol in moderation, the experience is generally relaxing and enjoyable. The changes that happen in the brains of those people are temporary.
However, when you begin to drink alcohol on a consistent basis, especially in larger quantities, your brain chemistry begins to change, and not for the better.
A Vicious Self-Perpetuating Cycle
The first noticeable difference is that you need more alcohol to achieve the same effect. As you continue to increase the amount and frequency, the alcohol begins changing the way that certain parts of your brain function - which impacts how you feel.
Then as you drink more and more alcohol to achieve that same effect,
your brain chemistry is altered more and more.
Ultimately, it becomes harder and harder for your brain to function as it originally did before excessive consumption altered it. You actually feel as if you need alcohol to feel normal.
While the specific thoughts vary from person to person, the longer that you go without drinking, the more your brain craves alcohol to feel normal.
The experience is similar to being hungry when you haven't eaten. And just like being hungry, the longer you wait the more intense the hunger pains. It's almost impossible to ignore.
Most alcoholics find themselves constantly "thinking about drinking."
What's Your Next Step Going To Be?
Two BIG MYTHS about Quitting Drinking
Every since humans figured out how to make alcoholic drinks, some people have become addicted. Unfortunately, when society began to deal with the problem, many false ideas became rooted in our common understanding of alcoholism.
MYTH #1: Quitting Drinking Is All About Willpower
Imagine that you moved a dresser into your bedroom, by yourself, years ago. Now you want to move it. You walk over and try to pick it up, but can't. You try to shove it, but it won't budge. You get angry, kick it, yell at it, but it remains put.
Then you remember, you've loaded the dresser with lots of heavy stuff. You take the time, remove the stuff, and voilà! You can now move the dresser.
While not a perfect analogy, the same holds true for quitting drinking. Your brain is not like it was years ago. You have to undo some of the changes that are weighing your brain down, and then making changes are so much easier.
Determination with the right approach yields the best results
MYTH #2: Only A Higher Power Can End Your Drinking
We are NOT bashing anyone's belief system or criticizing your religious beliefs. Miracles happen, and for so many of us faith is important. Keep an open mind.
The problem is that we've built systems of treatment that are predicated on the individual not being responsible for their own actions. Somehow their addiction has been twisted into a belief that alcoholism is a spiritual shortcoming.
Faith can play an important role in recovery, but science has shown that the core problem of altered brain chemistry can be treated with medication. Couple that with behavioral changes and you can be normal again, without needing alcohol.