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Logic of Alcohol, Alcoholism and Alcoholics

On my life’s journey closer to God, one of my stumbling blocks was alcohol. And I’d say a general stumbling block against my betterment. My parents are big drinkers and it was generally supported in the household. Then in highschool and university it was generally highly supported as a cool social medium. To get “wasted” was cool, like getting laid (scoring with someone of the opposite sex). There was general peer pressure to consume it, succeed in both, and it was a general understanding of the evening as being a mission to accomplish. To wake up the next day with a hangover, perhaps lying next to someone you don’t know, and say jokingly how you must have had a great time but don’t remember.
Then I moved to Prague, the capital of the biggest beer drinkers in the world, where beer is the best and cheapest (when I arrived a half litre in the pub was going for less than 25 cents). In Prague, with the transition from communism to capitalism, everything was changing, it was attracting interesting people (it was compared to Paris after the second world war), times were good and fun, and there was, once again, plenty of drinking.
I consider myself a fairly seasoned alcoholic. In the high times of Prague, it was my goal to go out about or at least four nights a week and combine the hops with the grass to reach some hazy dreamy state, chattering away at a hundred miles a second without really being aware of what I was saying, or remember any of it.
In this way I must have chattered away so much nonsense over the years, in the company of other chatterboxes, that I am truly thinking this could be a viable source of energy for our world’s growing energy demands (I have yet to invent some device to strap to people’s jaws at parties and harness this seemingly limitless resource).
And one might wonder how such a party animal could venture to write so openly on these pages, but I feel it is associated.
One could argue that it is the design of the devil to create such an atmosphere supporting the consumption of alcohol, for it certainly draws us farther away from God and our well being.
Over the years, when I eventually grew sick of the lifestyle (I prayed for God for help and he helped me in his magic way), I would juggle in my mind the various motivations and causal realities until I feel I may have stumbled on the whole logic of alcohol.
I will explain it from my perspective, which seems similar to many others I have witnessed.
There can be several motives for drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, and most often the source of it seems to be insecurity and the desire to fit in, have fun and make friends. My parents tended to be rather critical, so I developed a certain amount of insecurity. When youngsters are reaching an adolescent age, they develop a need to fit into their age group. To be a part of some group they can identify with. You can probably tear this thought apart and psycho-analyse it on the level of our human development. The human creature one of whose greatest weapons is the ability to communicate on a more advanced level, forge tools, and use them together as a group to hunt down much stronger animals, or to war against other groups of humans. This social connection is part of our survival and probably deeply ingrained in us. You can see entire groups of youngsters wearing black, with pierced noses, strangely coloured hair, and it is rather apparent that they are imitating each other in order to identify with some group and “fit in”. In times of severe unemployment, restless youths can be picked like apples from a ripe tree and indoctrinated into a gang of thugs, bald and muscular, to become a little army of terrorists perpetuating someone else’s right wing ideals. Eventually, as we mature and get older, we tend to develop a greater sense of independence, self confidence and security, but even at a later age you can see how most people are concerned that the clothes they buy is acceptable, that the car they buy will impress, and that they will comfortably fit into some social network.
And hence alcohol can be a very useful tool in this respect. It breaks down our inhibitions and can be a good fuel for conversation. You can feel the warming sense of camaraderie when you get intoxicated and behave silly with a group of people or friends. It is definitely a bonding agent. And an alcoholic will generally pursue this goal like a rabid individual starved of self confidence. It will be a goal of the evening: to get wasted to the point that “I must have had a good time, because I feel like crap now [the next morning] and I can’t remember anything”.
Once you start reflecting on that, as a fellow alcoholic, you might start considering the entire logic of it all and if it really makes sense for you.
First of all, alcohol is a poison and it destroys your brain, and other organs of your body. If you destroy your liver or some other organ, you can usually buy another one. There are many negative health effects of alcohol. But you can’t replace your brain, and the negative effects on your brain can be compounded. Like compounded interest, the interest at the bank every day earning more for you, because it is paying you additional money on the previously accumulated interest. Meaning it accelerates on an upward sloping curve. But with alcohol it is the opposite: the less brain cells you have, the more relative damage it will incur, resulting in a downward sloping slide into increased stupidity. If you sneeze you apparently kill 100,000 brain cells. These cells in particular do not rejuvenate that easily. Over the years, I admit I have to chuckle at the thought that I was saved only by my supreme intelligence, but only barely. I fancied that my intelligence was plummeting, but that its starting point was high enough that I juuuuuuuust barely noticed it was decreasing and had enough intelligence left over to conclude the futility of the entire exercise, and start to ponder how to, or even whether or not to, stop the entire process. With others I see they might lack this edge and instead heartily plunge towards doom without even slightly being aware of it. Until something catastrophic happens and they wake up to the shock that they have a problem. After which it can be rather difficult to reprogram one’s habits and change.
Another problem with alcohol is that it is dehydrating. And this dehydration is another major factor which kills your brain, or other organs of your body. So if you are going to drink, the first thing I’d suggest is that you focus on drinking lots of water. In many ways I often consider myself like a big ship with a small rudder. It may take me a while to change my ways, but once the direction of the ship is changed, it can be set in stone and difficult to change again. But it may take a while to change the initial direction. I will now unravel for you the various tools and logic I have adopted to change the course of my ways away from excessive alcohol consumption.
So if you are going to drink that much, the first thing you can focus on is to drink lots of water. Guzzle down one or more big glasses of water when you get home and before you go to sleep. If you have to wake up in a few hours to take a massive pee, and you still have the loud ringing in your ears and feel the poison screaming in every cell of your body, pound down another one or more glasses and continue the cycle throughout the evening. In this way I can usually flush out most of the poison by the time morning comes around. Sometimes I would wake up so dehydrated my eyes would hurt, because they felt so dry and it felt like they were sucking in the precipitation of the surrounding air. I believe that it is this dehydration which is the greatest cause of hangovers. And possibly a greater cause of destroying your brain.
While you are drinking, sneak in some water. There were times when a bottle or two of mineral water found their way among my pints of beer, and you can well imagine the eyebrows they raised when I first started to adopt this strategy. But it is nothing to be embarrassed about, and if you explain the logic of it, I found that most people found it very wise and started to apply it as well. Of course, in your younger adolescent years, the pressure may be to purposefully destroy your body. Like some daily ritual and initiation to be accepted into the group. Drink yourself stupid, as they say, because it’s funny and you’ll be accepted by the gang more. This is something else you should reflect on, and decide if having such friends is really necessary. Or at least if destroying yourself to such a degree is really necessary to maintain these friends. As a seasoned alcoholic, I always found myself surprised when I discovered most people still liked me and everything was still cool and okay when I would apply these measures (drinking the occasional bottle of water etc.). Instead, it was my own insecurity, the devil in my head one might say, which was the only one talking and convincing me that I have to drink this much.
Now that you’ve introduced water into your liquid diet, you can start to reflect on the amount of alcohol you are consuming. Do you reaaaaally need to get so stupid that you cannot remember the evening? What is the point of getting so drunk that you cannot even remember the night before? What is the point of getting so drunk that you make a fool of yourself, don’t really impress anyone, and don’t remember it either? You might get a few chuckles the next day, like from a crowd after watching the clown on stage: “yup, he certainly made a fool of himself”, but you aren’t really gaining any respect for yourself. Maybe you might find a fellow alcoholic and lean on each other like crutches, your combined insecurities perpetuating debilitating habits, but I’ve found that even such “comrades to the end” didn’t turn out to be the die hard friends I felt I was bonding with but more the mutual tool we were using when battling with our own insecurities.
Therefore, if you wake up the next day and cannot remember most of the previous evening, or are pointed out by others what a fool you’ve made of yourself, you should reflect on this and seriously consider the logic behind it. What is the purpose? It is good to reflect on all these things.
And maybe you just barely remember stumbling home, but do you remember any of the conversation? Do you remember any moments of brilliant wit which you can chalk up as a social success? Well, that shouldn’t be your motivation either, but that would require an entirely different webpage.
And I found that, over the years, with such careful and directed pondering, I would begin to reduce my level of drinking to something which would make more sense. I would switch to beer only and try to cut out the hard stuff (which can be difficult though when your friends keep bringing them around the table, toast a cheers to “great friendship” or whatever the excuse is at that moment - when of course you are expected to return the gesture of friendship and buy the next poisonous round). Eventually I would even count the beers I consumed. And eventually I would carefully gauge myself. If on the way to the washroom I would notice how I swayed uncontrollably a bit and bounce off the doorframe, it was time to switch to water for a while. If when having a conversation with someone I’d hear the mumble spittle out of my mouth to the point that I myself would barely understand it had not the original thought sprouted from within my brain, it was time to reflect and hold back the reigns, if possible. You can have X amount of beers, then coast on water for a while, and maintain a half decent buzz, strategically combining this with a sufficient amount of sobriety to form interesting sentences while still taking advantage of the social fuel and lower your inhibitions.
There is something specific about an alcoholic that such strategic notions are repressively boring and they simply want to move forward recklessly with the intention of burying their problems in oblivion. So one might say that, even considering the formidable amount of alcohol I have consumed and the noteworthy reputation I have developed for myself or the years of my earlier life, I was never a true alcoholic, because I always had this ability to reason and logically control the course of my ship in the direction I wanted.
For those who are over the edge and prefer to pursue towards the reckless and oblivion, I’d suggest reading the rest of these pages and hopefully be inspired enough to ask Jesus into your heart to give you a worthy purpose to fill this void you are trying to escape from. I can imagine that, without the spirit of Jesus living within you, the frightful emptiness could drive you into the bottle.
But I was blessed to have the spirit of Jesus within me. The unbounded gracious love of God who could put up with such a wretched drunk as myself, and fill me with enough common sense to pursue down this long path towards a clearer head.
But whichever side of this barrier you are on, you can reflect on your situation and try to get a grip on your life, and plan and hope for the better. At one point I simply started praying a lot. I could not imagine how I would escape my dear friends and fellow alcoholic companions. That warm fuzzy feeling of friendship and endless conversation. But I knew that I wanted to be closer to God. That it was during times of closeness to him that I felt most happy and fulfilled, so I asked him for help. And over the years I found I grew sick of such endless nonsense conversation and the company. But that is another story.
Back to the alcohol: if you find yourself in the situation where you feel you need this camaraderie and social network, you can at least apply the logic that excessive alcohol will not necessarily improve your social network, but will cause damage to your brain and body. After all, how could it improve your social network if no one can understand your mumbling and you are making a fool of yourself? You might FEEL you are improving your social network, because at times people might look at you affectionately like on some helpless fool they can only feel sorry for, but you are certainly not laying some social framework with brilliant wit and interesting conversation (even though, as I mentioned, this too I have decided is a senseless pursuit).
Or maybe you are just a Bohemian like me, love to be around people, want to forget about any fancy conversation and just enjoy yourself. But if you apply the above logic, you should come to the conclusion that you can still enjoy all these things, but remember them too! And be more aware while you are enjoying them!
This hence is the logic of an alcoholic which I have deduced over the years, and some of the tools I used to turn my ship, ever so slowly, towards the better.

There are other and more effective tools you can apply for your oh so important social grid building. One is to read interesting things in your spare time. Things that interest you, and which you can use for conversation fodder and to impress others. Or to chat up girls with. This is a much more useful tool to achieve either of these means, than to simply drown over your insecurities and lower your inhibitions to the point of approaching that girl, only to find out that you have nothing intelligent to say but to blurt out some sloppy sexual suggestion. Yes, I’ve wiped off drinks from my face a few times.
Or you could practice working on your insecurities. Sit in a room full of people, not fidget endlessly with ice cubes clinking in your glass, but to sit contentedly on the couch, still, perhaps not even talking. Learn to become comfortable with yourself and wage war against the pressure to always say something. Over the years, I found I achieved the situation where I could sit silent for much of an evening, say only a few things, and found that people have always developed a liking to me. After all, it is better to say nothing than something stupid. There will always be someone who is compelled to say something, and everyone can watch them and pass their own judgements. But I found that it was this insecurity, and the necessity to fidget and always say something, which was a major driving cause behind the alcohol consumption. I couldn’t wait to get to some intoxicated buzz when I would start to feel at ease and could coast through some natural sounding conversation. But alcohol can be like a wave. You catch the wave on your surfboard, but the momentum continues as you naturally consume more, with the wave getting larger until it smashes into some rocks. So, for your regular alcoholic, the window of pleasant conversation, reduced inhibitions, and manageable sobriety can be short indeed! Sometimes I would be sitting on the couch for much of the evening, sipping away, my inhibitions gradually decreasing, until I finally mustered up the courage to start dancing. Which is when my blood started flowing, and the reserve of alcohol in my system would be released and gush into my brain, which is the point I later realised when I stopped remembering! Finally, just as my inhibitions were finally released/drowned! So it really does take some management skills. Sip your beer. Switch to water occasionally. Gauge yourself. Learn to be comfortable with yourself. Manage your conversation. Reflect on your insecurity. Heck, you can even turn things around fully and use your insecurity as a conversational tool to pick up chicks! They like that sort of thing. Guys exposing their deepest fears, and talking about their deepest feelings.
Heck, you can even bring a book and just read it on the couch. Much greater chance of a girl coming up to you and ask you what you are reading. Girls like intelligent guys. Responsible, who can pay the rent and support a family. Not a drunken fool who could only questionably show up at work every morning. So you can use all sorts of arguments and tools to sway your habits.
However, as a Bohemian, I definitely see the appeal of saying “screw it all” and just live up the moment to the ‘fullest’. But that too would require an entirely different webpage. As Paul would say, a “mere chasing after the wind”. Trying to satisfy yourself with endless conversation, plummeting towards unconsciousness and oblivion, all in the hope of waking up the next morning with someone beside you, so that you do not feel so lonely.
Well, you do not need to feel so lonely, because the spirit of Jesus is waiting for you to open the door of your heart and let him in. This is the best way you can feel fulfilled, and overcome all your insecurities and lack of confidence. The temptations will always be there, but at least you have the lamplight to focus on. Something to shoot towards. Without that, all I truly can see is a horribly hollow and sad void, which can only be filled up or forgotten with a healthy dose of Jack Daniels…



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