Can I still drink?

My favorite thing about blogging is that it connects me with people I’d never otherwise meet simply because they entered just the right wording for Google to recommend me. That’s cool.

Because I write about mental health and addiction, the questions that bring people to my blogs are often sad ones. One especially weird example of this: People read my stuff because they Google, “I don’t know who I am.”

Ideally, folks would have someone better suited than Google to help answer that (like a great dad or at least some close friends). But I get it…whether you have people or not, some things are hard to ask for help with.

I play around with my phone occasionally, asking Google to answer some of the tough questions that people ask me, just to see what the Inter-webs have to say about it. Today I asked it, “Can I still drink?”

Nine out of the top ten responses Google offered were either about weight loss or physical training goals and whether or not alcohol could be part of them. Don’t blame Google. It gives us what we teach it to. It reflects our values and it gives us quite literally, what the greatest number of us are searching for.

My experience in a nutshell: By the time someone is questioning whether or not they can still drink, they can’t (not safely anyway). Simple: If using alcohol causes you to have a problem, then you have a problem with alcohol. You don’t even have to wrestle with whether or not you’re an alcoholic. You can just do this amazing thing:

You can just not drink.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Or how about this: You can drink, but have you ever really looked at why it’s so important for you to?

Go ahead – list off every benefit. I’ve heard them all:

  • It helps you relax
  • It makes socializing easier
  • It unwinds the stress
  • You love the taste
  • It’s what you do with friends.
  • It helps you sleep

I have known hundreds for whom that was true…until it wasn’t. See, sooner or later it stops working the way you want it to. That’s when the solution becomes the problem.

Ever notice how people have reasons why it’s ok to ingest a known toxic depressant that’s addictive? Maybe you can drink. Or maybe you’re like me.  I wrestled with depression for a long time. Oddly enough, I got better when I stopped adding a depressant to my depression.

I notice that the more people tell me, “I just need to figure it out” the worse an idea it is for them to drink. No one has ever found truth in the bottom of a bottle but a lot of us keep looking there.

So where should we look? Into the eyes of any good person who truly knows us. Toward the doorway of anyone secure enough in themselves to tell us when we’re F’ing up. At a mirror with compassion.

And never should we seek the softer, gentler way. For people like me, drinking and drugging are just ways not to know, not to feel, and not to become.That’s what “figuring it out” really means – learning, feeling, and becoming.

The truth is that establishing a true identity is optional and I’m convinced most folks never really do.

“It takes great courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.