THE BLOG

Are You Actually Drinking "at" Something Though?

15/01/2014 17:10 GMT | Updated 17/03/2014 09:59 GMT

There are so many catchphrases in Recovery. Sobriety. Abstaining. Whatever you want to call it. So many buzzwords.

I have a mistrust of buzzwords.

I prefer it when people use longer sentences so I know that they also know what the f*ck they are talking about. Buzzwords are very easy to hide behind. If someone can take a few minutes longer and explain what they mean in a less succinct, possibly more clumsy way? I generally feel better long-term about listening to their theories.

One phrase that gets massively overused is "drinking at something". When life throws you a crap day or a bad situation and we use it as an excuse to drink. Drinking "at" that person, or scenario.

Supposedly it's overcome by dealing with our feelings and reactions in a different way. Learning new coping skills.

Which is fine. If it works. I just haven't really seen much long-term success. It overlooks quite a major, fundamental issue;

That people who abuse alcohol don't have reactions to things. We have massive overreactions. To basically everything.

And we continue to do so long after we stop drinking. Because we don't know what we are doing is overreacting. We think it's normal, bog-standard reacting. In sobriety it gets worse a lot of the time because recovery is a selfish self-obsessed place for anyone in the early days.

It can go on for years in some cases. There will be moments of insight. Times we know our response is weird. That seem obviously inappropriate in relation to how other people handle them.

Some things won't be as obvious.

Some things take years.

For me? It was work and men. Basically the two things I had the most trouble with when drinking too. Just in a new way.

I'd be so scared of what my boss or colleagues thought of me or my work that I'd obsess about it. Then get to the point where I'd just leave. I'd then do the exact same thing at the next place. It was exhausting. And unnecessary. Particularly as, now I was sober, I'd actually found a profession I was good at.

And yes. The menfolk. The ones my perspective was so warped on I've never even mentioned them in any post I've done before. Ever.

My overreactions to men were epic. And consistent. I would take everything a man did and twist it to the point of my being totally overwhelmed. Usually before they'd even spoken to me.

A man could do absolutely nothing to make me think he liked me. I was incapable of reading any man at all. Some good ones turned up. But my refusal to instigate contact with them ever, (not even a text message) ensured that they'd soon disappear.

And the ones I did let in? Worse. Oh much worse. If I did actually get to the point where I felt comfortable enough to have them in my life, (which was basically never. Maybe twice in all the years I've been sober) then I'd be terrified. Waiting. Tensed like a coiled spring for them to disappoint me.

I'd never show any real interest, because I overreacted so much to any behaviour men exhibited around me I assumed, (quite rightly) that I'd be absolutely incapable of handling rejection.

By any of them.

Even the ones I didn't like.

I didn't know I was overreacting. I just thought I was incapable of handling really strong negative emotion now I was in a place where I felt happy so much of the time. Also it was much easier to stay single and work for myself, than run the gauntlet of my seemingly random bouts of craziness.

Occasionally I would have to work for other people. Or date out of sheer loneliness. And so the merry dance of absolute mentalness would begin anew.

Then suddenly during ones of these dances? It all clicked into place. A little voice inside my head said to me "don't you think it's time to dial it down a little?"

And it all fell into place. That these so-called strong negative emotions I felt in these two specific areas of my life weren't that at all. They were massive, chronic overreactions. And I realised that I actually used to have them to everything. Drunk and sober. I just managed to see this in the other areas of my life much earlier. Without having to actually acknowledge it.

So. I've been sober for eight years. And apparently still overreacting massively for 8 years. And none of it was necessary. Because once I suspected I was overreacting rather than simply reacting? Everything clicked into place and my perspective shifted. And could have done so instantly and easily at any point over these 8 years.

Any time at all. Instead of waiting until yesterday. Like an absolute d*ck.

And just to ensure no more buzzwords? An overreaction feels like the worst negative feeling you've ever felt in your body. Completely uncontrollable. Like you want to jump out of your own skin. And the world is surely about to end. And you will die. Definitely. Probably. And everyone involved in the scenario hates you. Or thinks you are a fool at the very least. Definitely they are laughing at you. Probably.

So if you do suspect you are drinking "at" something. Or maybe you are sober and just really., really want to drink "at" something? You probably don't want to drink "at" the situation at all. You want to drink to your absolutely massive overreaction to it. Do yourself a favour and ask yourself if you maybe need to consider dialling it down slightly. Because when we do? Then we can change the way we feel instantly. Nothing needs to feel unbearable. And we stand a much better chance of a nice, happy, comfortable life.

People just become people. No more pedestals. Or dramas. No more love stories of the century. Just normal, fallible people.

Plus we get to text boys. And hold down jobs.

Always a bonus.