I don’t know if anyone who isn’t an alcoholic or addict can fully understanding the insane, overwhelming power of craving for their drug of choice. It’s not rational.
I’ve been struggling a lot in the past few days with really intense cravings to drink – well really to do anything to change my mood. I can give you a million reasons why drinking is bad for me, why my life is better without it, but my body and primitive brain don’t listen to reason. They are literally screaming out for alcohol.
I don’t want to romanticize the drink, but I can taste that first burn in your mouth that whiskey gives you, and then settles into a smooth warmth, I can feel the slight burn as it goes down my throat and then the warm glow I get after a few sips.
The problem is that I don’t stop there. Because my cravings aren’t really about alcohol – alcohol is merely the most effective means to an end. What I want is oblivion, total numbness, I want the blackness of passing out. I’ve joked with my treatment team, that when I think of relapse, it’s not “just one drink”, it’s “just one bottle.”
And if I can’t have alcohol, I seek other means of escape – shopping, that’s a bad one for me, although I’m now so broke, it’s not an option. And so I’m tempted to abuse my psych meds, and sometimes I admit that I do, just to get an escape.
So what am I running from? My feelings. My sense of grief over my Mother’s upcoming anniversary of her death, loneliness, feelings of failure at not having been able to work now for several years, fear of not finding another job, fears of winding up homeless and the 100’s of other worse case scenario, my mind can take me to if I let it.
And so I have to keep coming back to mindfulness, the present, and my breath. Because if I’m focused on the here and now, that makes the cravings easier to deal with.