In our early environments, we absorb a lot of information about ourselves and the world. Sometimes this stuff is positive – like language or self-soothing, but sometimes it comes from a disruptor and is not. Things like criticism, alcohol used by a parent, detachment from parents, perfectionism, or whatever can cause limiting beliefs about one’s self. These basically become triggers. When a trigger hits, we feel pain. To better the pain, we create dysfunctional needs and perhaps it’s time to start looking for some addiction treatment. For example, “I am not good enough” can create the need “I need to be perfect”, which compulsively needs to be met. The problem with our dysfunctional needs is that they are insatiable. We have to meet them over and over again and it’s exhausting! So we embrace “opt-out” behaviours.
Drinking is one of these “opt-out” behaviours.
Alcohol has the effect of quieting the noise in our heads from the limiting beliefs and our triggers. It is a way to temporarily escape our pain, and from the pressure to meet the dysfunctional needs. However, as I touched on earlier, it creates its own set of problems. So, we could give you a list of distractor strategies like, drink soda water instead, avoid triggering environments, go to AA, don’t keep it in the house, count your drinks or whatever, but there’s plenty of information on the internet about this stuff.
Instead, we are going to point out that the addiction treatment or removal of the underlying issue, of the limiting belief, is much more effective than providing skills to merely manage the drinking. So, we identify the underlying limiting beliefs and use our therapy model to kill them. Once they’re gone, we don’t have to manage the pressure of meeting the dysfunctional need, so we don’t have any reason for the “opt-out” behaviour of drinking more than we want to anymore.
On another note, sometimes there is an indirect trigger – a limiting belief that gets in the way of us creating a balanced life with an appropriate amount of satisfiers. Satisfiers are things that make us happy. Some of mine include walking in the sun, stand-up comedy and having great conversations. Without them, boredom and dissatisfaction creep in and we binge drink as a satisfier – and opt out of finding real satisfiers.
So…That’s a little bit about drinking and what you can do about it!
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