Were you happier drinking?

By David Joel Miller.

Did you quit drinking, but your life did not get better?



You quit drinking but nothing is better. Life was more fun, you were happier when you were drinking, at least you tell yourself you were. Now you wonder why after you quit nothing is getting better.

In the beginning Alcohol, like any drug, seems like the magic cure to all that ails you. Old Ethel, Miss Alcohol, is better than having a cape hanging in the closet. Each time you take a drink it makes you feel like a superhero. The result of that drink is absolutely predictable and miraculous, at least in the beginning.

Then something happens. The magic is not as a strong. You need to drink more to get the same result. You begin to think that maybe you should stop drinking, only how would you have fun, how would you cope without your best friend the bottle, by your side.

As the negative consequences of drinking mount up you may think that if only you stopped imbibing all your problems would be cured. So you stop and nothing changes. That hoped-for happy life has eluded you.

You couldn’t find a way to be happy before the drinking or you thought you needed the booze to heighten your enjoyment. Now you can’t be happy with or without the liquor.

You don’t want to be an alcoholic. Who would willingly sign on for that job? So you try to control your drinking. If you could just return to being a social drinker you think then drinking and life would be fun again. Normal people do not have to control their drinking. People with a problem are the ones who try to get back control.

If you are like many an alcoholic, you know you need to stop. The negative consequences are piling up. You may have DUI’s. There may be all manner of wreckage, divorces, broken relationships and lost jobs. So with all the bad, that has been happening to you when you were drinking you expected that when you stopped things would be better. You thought you should be happy and your life on track. What went wrong?

What you find is that the problem was never the alcohol. The alcohol was your solution, only now that solution has stopped working. The solution has become a new problem, one you didn’t have before. The new problem is called addiction, or alcoholism. But you still have the problem that you don’t like your life, maybe you don’t even like you when you are not drinking.

The solution is not to learn to control the drinking. The solution is to learn to accept and cope with life. Just because you stopped drinking your other life problems have not been miraculously solved.

Changing your life involves changing you. You need to learn to cope with life’s problems without leaning on a substance. That substance will only hold you up for so long and then it becomes the thing that holds you back and holds you down.

Living your life on Alcohol is like living in a dense fog. You go through life not seeing or feeling anything and eventually you lose your way. When you live life numbed out on alcohol or pain killers, you don’t feel anything so you go on hurting yourself.

Is it time for you to start the process of changing yourself?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


5 thoughts on “Were you happier drinking?

  1. I can completely relate. When I was 13, I had my taste of marijuana. About two years later I tried Vicodin. I fell in love with it and become addicted by the time I was 18. I used opiates until the age of 32 with very very brief intervals of sobriety in between. Now I’m 8 years sober and I’ve helped other people get sober too. I really can help. I’ve been there myself. I know how hard it is. Feel free to call me or text me and I’d be happy to talk to you for a while and offer some support. Here’s my number (561)-706-6236. My (real) name is Saul.


  2. I’m reminded of the story of a guy who quit drinking for a couple of months but did nothing else. His neighbor commented one day, “I liked you better when you were drinking.” He replied, “I know what you mean. I liked you better when I was drinking, too.”


  3. Pingback: Your Self-talk can predict the future | counselorssoapbox

  4. Pingback: Are you a functional Alcoholic? Do you know someone with an Alcohol Use Disorder? | counselorssoapbox

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