Those individuals who have been working through issues related to substance misuse sometimes refer to the relationship they have with the substance.
For many, the relationship can start like a companion that supports and soothes, when feeling low, but over time the dependency, the very powerful dependency dynamics, starts to negatively crawl into areas of life and the relationship takes over.
What’s the Point?
For those individuals who have stayed dry for a considerable amount of time, often the craving is still there and it taunts them at times when they feel low. The frustration for them is often expressed in the fact that they had expected that it might have been different when they decided to stop drinking, the cravings would have been less and it might have been easier. And maybe it’s at this point that some people have considered that place of ‘what is the point?’. It is this thought and feeling maybe that can sometimes so undermine the determination and resilience to stay dry. It is this experience that so many individuals who are on the wagon have to battle with.
Remembering the Pain to Refrain
However, as with many aspects of life, we can naturally forget some of the intensity of what it’s like to feel the pain of what has been before, like a mother who has gone through childbirth, the pain is not so vividly remembered after the event. However, the terrible pain and fear of those days filled with control governed by the depressing dark feelings that come when drinking is maybe an important memory too. Maybe these feelings will be remembered, but they may become less as time moves on, so possibly it is the remembering of the depressing darkness that impinges itself on so many aspects of life when drinking, that can be remembered when facing the very strong difficult cravings, that can be such an important deterrent, for those who are trying to stay dry. Sometimes it can be of help, for those struggling with addiction, such as alcohol addiction
, to consider this in relation to the concept of a difficult friendship that someone has had to move on from. The friend is still missing at times and when they ring up and say can we meet, the temptation is to embrace this, particularly when life is challenging. However, it’s remembering these friends' impact on an individual's life in the long term and really deciding whether are they a friend or a foe for the individual right now.
Taking this back to the relationship with alcohol may be an important consideration here when remembering, is not so much the idea of the difficult days of darkness and the powerful negative relationship with alcohol that had once been so controlling but the negative feelings this has had for those who have to experience this. Those feelings of experiencing endless days surrounded by the dark heaviness that maybe had the capacity to disempower and control individuals' lives while still drinking. How those moments of relief there, initially, after having a drink, but slowly that anesthetised got less and was replaced with darker very depressing feelings of fear, maybe isolation and low self-worth as the heavier feelings took over. At this point, like a once lovely friend, who made those it connected with a laugh and feel so good at first, but slowly over time, revealed how much they needed the individual for themselves, but could not return anything back, the conditions of happiness and the pleasure got less and then got replaced with controlling darkness. It’s the controlling darkness, and feeling with it, that alcohol, that one drink that needed to be within a person's life more and more, slowly consumed the days with its darker side. So, what is the difference after becoming dry? It will be different for all, but maybe an example is a difference between waking in the morning, experiencing the day, with all it has to offer, maybe the sense of feeling more present, but also dealing with the ongoing very challenging and difficult aspects such as cravings. Maybe that awareness of having a more personal choice, a sense of reality and presence, within the day, not being so directed by another control allows for that important empowering feeling of self-worth and self-control that can be felt when dry. Maybe it’s also the ability that each individual does have to make a choice over their own life. Maybe it’s remembering the powerful different feelings that come from staying or not that can be a helpful deterrent. Penny Wright