At the risk of ruining your jolly happy attitude, and possibly to straighten out a crooked one … here’s some serious stuff …
Ch. 3 from my book “A Candle Lit”:
The Definition of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is fear-forced comfort-seeking behavior that forms a negative cycle that can resist repair and cause permanent mental imbalance.
It’s key symptom is not “drinking,” but “alcoholic malbehavior.”
It is caused by the repeated use, and subsequent over-use, of alcohol to escape fear, resulting in failures, which creates a cycle of cravings, denial and negativity, subsequently resulting in the fear worsening. It lives in a timeline cycle.
It’s a series of bad decisions based on ease of obtaining alcohol, alcohol’s acceptance by society, and it’s short-term calming effect.
It is a condition so common society wants to label it; though it’s no more than a combination of elements that are easy to put together. They almost line themselves up, if not avoided through discipline (or at least “lack of laziness”).
The perfect victim is a person who is generally lazy, capable of lying, and who feels overwhelmed by some kind of fear. But that’s the perfect victim; the condition could effect anyone. The person climbs into the bottle by himself, and the resulting cycle is not built into his genes. Alcoholism begins with bad decisions. It could be described as exactly the opposite of what a successful person would do, and often looks like self-sabotage.
What begins as comfort-seeking behavior and laziness continuously rewards the sufferer with short-term satisfaction. Mid-term consequences are ignored, and the situation grows worse, to the sufferer as if all by itself.
The most serious and least-understood developments are cravings and denial, both signs of basic imbalance. They appear together, and support each other. Their synergy allows them to be “arrived at” rationally in the mind of the sufferer.
The “condition” (whether it should be called a “disease” is another question) is unique in that the sufferer feels strongly that he has no such condition, denies facts about his condition, considers effective treatment a threat, and doesn’t seek it out. The mindset obtained by repeated drinking and acting out eventually learns how to protect itself, by boldface denying its own existence. The alcoholic behaves this way out of confusion and conscious fear of his cravings.
It is a game where the irritant fools its victims into subordination; and where pride works backwards, becoming a liability and cause of conscious fear.
A “negative cycle” is created when fear of cravings, and denial, are combined with consistent failing and stubbornness. Because of denial, the sufferer makes no attempt to stop the cycle. With a clear understanding that the behavior is destructive, consistent failing causes fear of destruction, and causes fear of cravings to increase, while at the same time causing more repetition.
Repetition causes repetition.
Because of pride, he won’t give up, and with each failure his determination grows. The sufferer is aware that this is happening, and it feels frustrating to him. His fear is conscious and fuels the cycle.
Among his fears may be loss of pride. While he feels he is losing individual battles, a fear of loss of pride feels more to him like losing the entire war.
He confuses pride with stubbornness.
The stress bends his perspective.
The process arrives rationally, in an already-ill mind.
The negative cycle looks like bold irrational behavior with inconsistent remorse and a confused value system. The cycle is strong, but can be interrupted, just as a flow of water can be interrupted with the point of a stick. A thoughtful application of positive input can redirect the sufferer’s energies in small ways, and have an elusive, positive impact.
The negative cycle is an advanced stage of active alcoholism, and should not be expected to be easily broken.
(excerpted from “A Candle Lit, Deconstructing Alcoholism”)