Drinking and New Years – The Truth Revealed

In her book, Emotional Fitness, Janice Berger categorizes human emotions into 10 general doors to go through – need, worthlessness, shame, guilt, anxiety – fear – panic, anger, powerlessness, hurt – regret – grief, loneliness and numbness – deadness – flatness.

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has its genesis in two of these categories, hurt – regret – grief and numbness – deadness – flatness.

First, I am not opposed to the social or medicinal drink. Alcohol aids digestion and has positive health benefits when used in moderation. In the bible, Paul recommended Timothy use a bit of alcohol to help his stomach. Sound advice.

When used to assuage hurt or to make ourselves feel, we are using a crutch rather than dealing with the underlying issue, our damaged emotional state.

Deadness and flatness is acquired in adulthood through the childhood coping mechanism of pushing down our feelings. Children do this to protect themselves from real feelings which are too difficult to deal with. Also, when expressing feelings is unacceptable we learn to repress them. People who are abused at home may suffer worse treatment if they told their parents how they really feel!! Lack of knowledge about this coping mechanism and the fact that there is a way out, leads people to carry the behaviour, ie keeping feelings bottled up inside, into their adult lives. Depression is in fact caused by the depressing of our feelings!!

So where does alcohol come into play? Alcohol loosens our inhibitions and allows us to have a normal range of emotions. Which route to a healthy emotional life seems best to you? 1. Dealing with the underlying causes through understanding our emotional makeup and doing emotional work, or 2. drinking our way to health problems or worse?

The second cause of excess alcohol consumption may be to assuage hurt. Being hurt is an inevitable part of life. Others may hurt us in order to get something they want, while it all the while feels like something they did against us. We all suffer disappointment and lose, be it in relationships, work, recreational pursuits or health matters. Learning how to feel through so that these loses do not build up inside is a great skill to acquire.

The ability to finish with feeling by feeling through is based on the premise that all feelings can be reduced to a manageable level by allowing ourselves to feel them until they are complete. Parents may learn let a frightened child cry until the feelings are finished, this is a skill.

As adults, we need to learn the skill of feeling through so that we do not deal with our held emotions in destructive manners – like excessive alcohol consumption which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or a car accident, hurting ourselves and others.

Happy New Year. Kind Regards, Tim

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