Mental Health: Searching for Answers at the Bottom of A Bottle – By Patrick Bailey (Guest Post) #mentalhealth #addiction #alcoholism


Searching for Answers at the Bottom of A Bottle


Credit: Nicolas Pereyra via Unsplash


The Solution in a Bottle

A bottle can be the answer to a lot of problems. The issue for alcoholics, however, is whether or not their solution to life’s problems comes from good counsel. Among countless questions, they can ask themselves is if their next series of drinks makes them feel better now or long term?

Feeling better right now is a normal desire, especially when a person hurts; it’s instinctive. Physical pain, for example, signals our brain to ‘take our hand out of the fire!’ It is a form of deep desire where we react involuntarily, and don’t pause to consider our reaction. We simply do.


Sacrificing Well-Being and Health

Nevertheless, too much alcohol consumption can override our instinctive sense of self-protection.  If a person drinks compulsively, they can harm each realm of their well-being and health — emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual (etc.). One’s entire humanity can be damaged with enough bottles of liquor. Often, a person’s quest for ‘answers’ is the core reason alcoholics seek the bottom of a bottle. Sought after solutions become pressing issues — not just for answers, but wise ones.

It’s interesting that people soon don’t recognize what came first when they began chasing answers through overconsumption of alcohol. It’s the proverbial issue of the chicken or the egg, and drinking becomes a sequential cycle. Their need for a ‘remedy’ leads to alcoholism, and alcoholism leads to a need for remedy. Eventually, heavy drinkers spin in circles, and the exit ramps speeding down a deadly highway, disappear in a blur.


Credit: Sanjeevan SatheesKumar via Unsplash


Seeking Answers and Confronting Trauma

Moreover, it’s not only that the pursuit of a remedy that is hard-wired into people’s brains, but wanting a thoughtful answer too. People want to improve their minds, seek meaning, and to have assurance for their decisions. The ability to perceive information, analyze it, and problem-solve is key. But some people have their exquisite mental abilities hijacked and compromised due to alcohol addiction. Bottom line, people can’t access their best decision-making skills nor find a peaceful mental place in a bottle of booze.

Some people also come to ‘a bottom of a bottle solution’ compromised due to trauma in life. Trauma, particularly longstanding trauma that occurred when adults were young, effects how they learned to cope in the world. Many people who chase their solutions through heavy drinking have had traumatic childhoods. They arrive at a bottle having problem-solving abilities, which are stunted. It is vital to discover solutions for people’s mental and emotional difficulties—from managing bad feelings to making healthy behavioral choice. Nonetheless, this can result in a lifelong and desperate struggle for those who wrestle chronically in their heads and hearts with alcoholism.


Seeking Hope and Support Through Alcohol

Consulting oracles is a longstanding practice in human history, and by no means has disappeared. Everyone searches for hope when they’re afraid, confused, in pain, and worried. People seek answers that will relieve them of difficult feelings and will calm their agitated minds. They want their unknown questions to be answered, and a way to move forward despite life’s difficulties. Most alcoholics desire something or anything, to find serenity and relaxation in their days.

Sadly, alcohol is not often a reliable resource for short-term stress. Why else would we continue to ‘consult’ it? If a way of coping works for people initially, they will continue to turn to it; they will reach for it to work again and again. Every compulsive drinker once was supported by alcohol in a better way, no matter how short-lived that support lasted.

At one point, alcohol was a solid, accessible, and steady support system. It worked, improving life for a time — even for an evening. But often, alcohol is never a reliable support-system for people; still, they cling to it despite knowing better. Sometimes copious drinking is only helpful for a gulp before it’s magic fades, but alcoholics appreciate that brief moment if life feels terrible enough.


Credit: Ben Hershey via Unsplash


Finding Sobriety and Support Outside the Bottle

Former alcoholics, such as myself, can be loyal to liquor to a fault. I can hang on to it until I’m shaken loose, clinging, kicking, and screaming. Until I finally, chose a road to sobriety, which also provided me with satisfying answers and wisdom (from a variety of sources) about life’s larger questions. I let go of alcohol, my ‘trusted friend,’ who had betrayed me too many times to count. Prior to rehab, my release from alcoholism was a bone-shattering experience. It’s not a mandatory way to become sober, but that’s how I did it. I was frightened to see how huge the iceberg underneath me was. I wanted to stay on the tip, happy in my denial of what lay beneath the waves.

One of the aspects about AA I liked was that members were encouraged to visualize alcoholism as more than drinking — as an iceberg, where the bulk of their problems were hidden underwater. I found this difficulty in my over-drinking. No matter how much I drank; in the end, there was still horrendous pain I couldn’t drown with any amount of liquor. Drinking was my problem, but it was not my key problem. At the root of my alcoholism was my life and how I lived it. No matter how worrisome my emotional state or my behavior while drinking, alcohol seemed as if it were always a suitable solution for my personal issues. Even in my desperate days, when alcohol failed me more often than not, I still clung to it.


Solutions Beneath Alcohol Addiction

Moreover, peering beneath my drinking solution, peeling back the layers through detox and early recovery, I discovered I was a scared and vulnerable person. I was ill-equipped to handle everyday life, haunted by trauma, and filled with deep shame. In addition, I was angry and sad. My regular excursions to the bottom of a bottle had induced tremendous stress, but I came to the solution of ‘the bottle’ already weighted with pain. The first time I became drunk was the first time I can remember feeling at ease; I was a young adult, and my over drinking continued from there.

Nonetheless, I’ve learned the true solutions to life and life’s questions don’t live in the bottom of a bottle. My story is one of countless stories, all told from someone who felt worse than most other people imagine they would, as an intoxicated person. However, there is hope and recovery is a real possibility. No problem hiding beneath anyone’s stream of alcohol is too difficult to confront and solve. With the right help, recovery is a real possibility.


Credit: Syndey Ray via Unsplash.


©️Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Sunday Prompt: NonFiction – Bad Days Mean Good Days Ahead #amwriting #nonfiction 


Thanks to Oloriel of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s Sunday Prompt. This week we are to share the happiest moment in our life, or the saddest moment and how we overcame it. 

——-

Credit: MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie
——

I’m not going to share my saddest or my happiest moment. I think these moments  constantly shift. But I will tell you about yesterday, for me it was a day where I felt hopeless. I’m a goal-oriented person and when I’m not feeling well enough to complete even the tiniest goal on my to do list, I feel lost and useless.

The background to this is as some of you know, is that I deal with depression that has caused what my psychiatrist has diagnosed as Chronic of Severe Fatigue. I’ve had it for years, I’ve always known.

Most doctors don’t even recognize CFS or ME as a disorder although there is information about people suffering from it hundreds of years ago and presently everywhere. As well a good friend of mine also has CFS/ME but hers while sharing some similarities, is a bit different from mine — she is able to work.

I’ve been homebound lately feeling extra fatigued and also because my insurance company ended my disability in November –I’ve lost a great deal of my income for the moment. When I’m so fatigued there are days it’s too much to take a bus.

Sometimes I have no choice but to take a cabl. Some days I wake up greatly worn out even after sleeping all night. The kind of tiredness CFS or ME produces is beyond sleepy –it’s mental and physical exhaustion. So when you can’t afford a cab and only the bus, it makes a person feel trapped when the ride their is tiring. 

At times when I’m home too long, I feel lonely and bored. I enjoy being out with friends and family or being able to visit a coffee shop, the mall, the art gallery (etc.), to be around people. The CFS doesn’t allow me to work (go to an office etc). as I never know how I will feel each day. On the flip side, I also need to be home a great deal to recharge. When I go out it’s not for more than a few hours, it’s what my body can handle.

Some days I can’t concentrate well on reading. Some days I can’t concentrate on writing. Other days I can’t do anything but watch the TV or programs on Netflix and after a while, even the stimulation from that bothers me. One or two days a week I feel well and get quite a bit done, only to exhaust myself for the following day.

Yesterday I felt awful even though I had it in me to do a short yoga video and a few simple chores that needed done, then I was physically and mentally worn out and frustrated. I was bothered that I have to stretch a small income so far and that I couldn’t take the cab a short way to this local coffee and book shop or to the mall to look around and have some Edo for lunch. 

I’ve also been dealing with weight issues due to a medication. I can’t switch medications, these ones work the best, but as a person who was a chubby child it bothers me I can’t keep my promise to myself to always stay fit. Each diet I try doesn’t work. I need intense cardiovascular exercise but beyond a bit of walking when I’m well I don’t have the energy for it. So yesterday, that too felt overwhelming. 

As well I’ve been freelancing and realized starting out, even to only make a a few extra hundred dollars a month is difficult. It’s like any career, something you have to learn from and build upon overtime.

But today I woke up and my outlook on the world had changed. I prayed last night and I realized this morning, I’m doing fine. I have a warm place to live with nutritious food and for the most part, I can buy what I need each month and do a few things with friends. My friends are also extremely understanding of what I experience and that along with my family’s understanding is a blessing as well. 

I’m hoping on ‘good days’ I can learn to endure the bus, to get out of the house more often because being around people makes me happy, even if I’m only an observer on certain occasions. 

I don’t feel lost today. I stopped focusing on ‘me’ and ‘my problems’ and recognized even though I think I have it bad certain days, others are experiencing much worse problems around the world.

I also realized starting something such as a part-time freelance career (even a limited number of hours a week) after not being able to work after nine-years at all, will take time, more than a few months effort and additional learning.

Most vitally I realized God has me and my problems in the palm of His hand and He is taking care of me even when I feel stuck in life. He says even when I’m still and not doing much at all, it’s enough. Yesterday was a bad day but sometimes you need bad days so you know how to be thankful for good days. Do you agree? 

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

——

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Criticism Maybe Good for You, Just Write Anyways


I have struggled with my writing the last few days. Maybe it is because I have jumped down from that Cloud where I think ” I was an English Major with a 3.7 average so there! “The truth is in the real world your not the only one who gets to critique your work and sometimes constructive criticism hurts. It is not the fact that I am getting criticized, I know in writing it is great to have friends or editors look at your work and I know from critiquing others when writing is not sounding right. But sometimes it still hurts, you’ve done all this work only to find that this has to be changed and so does this, and do not look now, someone has a different insight into your writing then you did when you were writing it etc.

Mostly, I do not mind but expect people to be clear to me on what I am writing for or about and what format or style of writing they are wanting to see. And I really get tired of talking about my mental illness at times. My situation is pretty unique but I guess every mentally ill person would say that. I want people to treat people who are mentally ill better and to be more understanding to them; one of the ways people can do this is by knowing that mental illnesses are physical problems in disguise. Some synapses in your brain or chemicals become imbalanced and this is purely a physical reaction on your brain with mental symptoms. But I have said this before in articles and to people it is just that when it comes to going deeper inside someone’s experience with mental illness it is difficult and right now I am tired of it; it was a very personal time for me. But I say yes to giving a mentally ill person’s view point because I want other people to become aware of what I just told you, to share knowledge, not because I want to tell all most of the time.

As a writer I want to get as far away from this topic as possible right now. I will write about a lot of things but not that. But I have learned a lot that I have forgotten in writing such as saying things more concisely and simply, playing with sentences until they are perfect, proof reading many times not just a few, and reading aloud your writing to listen for mistakes. I forget how many times a writer must revise and sometimes I am so sick of writing something I do not care to fix it. i think let editors do what they want, or I’ll fix it in a few days. But that’s a problem because it’s my work and I set high standards for myself which I have to learn to keep but also sometimes to lower. My work is imperfect and sometimes needs to be left a day before I turn it in to reword, edit- out, revise, and catch mistakes. This does not make me a bad writer, only a human one and I suppose an inexperienced one.

But what has really become clear to me is that to be a writer you just have to write, good or bad days, or any day really. The point is just write. And then you start to learn to do all these things instinctively and perhaps if you are lucky you will be able to reach your own expectations or adjust accordingly. I think those of us who write are born with the talent to write and that we are self-made people; however much we write and what we write about determines our success; that and the people, our audience, that we are trying to appeal to. So maybe we are not self made, maybe we are just lucky? But I think either way we continue to write because it is a need, it is like breathing, something that does not stop inside of us, until we are dead. That my friends, is a certainty.