Why do you drink?
I used to think the answer to that questions was: because I’m an alcoholic. Recovery programs told me that I had a problem with “self will run riot” and I was “powerless over alcohol.” In treatment I learned I was selfish and had a disease.
But over the years I have learned that none of that was my truth. Journeying deep inside and developing the ability to be in the present moment with my own wisdom and awareness has revealed a new answer to that question.
Why did I drink?
Because I was hurting. I was hurting SO badly that I was blind to the pain. Oh, I was miserable drinking and I certainly could see that. I would hurt in the fog of hangovers and regret, but subconsciously I knew that pain was still better than dealing with the pain deep inside. The TRUE cause of my drinking.
Until it wasn’t anymore. Until the pain of drinking became even worse than the pain of my past and the circumstances I was running from. Until I knew I would either die from drinking, or go within and face the turmoil waiting and make the changes I knew I’d have to make.
It was hell when I first quit – when the dam finally broke and the tsunami of pain washed over me. I will forever be grateful for those who helped carry me through it. (If you need support to quit, please get it. There’s no shame in wanting to get better. It’s brave and it’s noble and there are many options available!)
Sometimes it’s still hell. But because I no longer dam up the pain, there’s no more tsunamis. Now, pain can move through me like a river.
When cravings arise I know there’s a pain that needs to be acknowledged. (A pain or something else that I have an aversion to: fear, anger, shame, etc.) I often do not know what it is consciously, but when I quiet my mind and go inside, there are always tears waiting. Sometimes, even in those moments, when the tears are falling, my intellect still won’t grasp what the pain is about. But the body knows. The body holds it and the body can release it if we stay present with it.
Maybe some of us drink because we are alcoholics. Maybe addiction is a disease. Honestly, it’s not a topic I have any interest in debating. I believe we must come to our own conclusions about addiction and find what works for us. Maybe some of us are selfish and have a problem with self-will run riot.
And maybe some of us are simply in profound pain.
I don’t believe people develop drinking problems for no reason. There is always a reason.
Why do you drink?
I believe you know the answer to that question. You’re the only one who truly does.
And just as you have the wisdom to know the answer to that question… you have the wisdom to know what must be done.