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Friday, June 20, 2014

"I Get No Pleasure From Drinking"

Interesting discussion over on -- one participant said (I'm paraphrasing) that people who drink after trauma should focus on addressing the trauma, that people who drink to relax and to deal with anxiety should try the baclofen approach first, and that the Sinclair Method was best suited for people who drink to get high.  I think she has a good point and that that's a reasonable approach.  However, there's a snag -- some of us are maintaining our self-respect by maintaining that we loathe drinking and everything about it.

I'm always surprised when I hear an addict or recent ex-addict say that there was no pleasure in drinking.  Some people say, and probably even believe, that there was no high or enjoyment of any kind in drinking, only the illusion of pleasure from the relief of addiction.  This is not true, yet many of us believe it.

If this mistaken belief is widespread, it could be bad.  If we don't know what we are conditioned to seek (euphoria, in our case), then we don't know what to block (opioid receptors) to break the conditioning.  I can easily imagine someone convincing himself that he drinks only due to addiction, gets no pleasure from it at all . . . and therefore is not a good candidate for a method which works by blocking pleasure.

That would blow.

Really, the majority of people conditioned to drink are conditioned to seeking the pleasure. Yes, it is no longer under our conscious control, but the presence of conditioning doesn't mean the absence of the physiological euphoria which everyone feels upon consuming alcohol.

If you think that your addiction is 100% pain and 0% pleasure, consider that you may be fooling yourself.  There are a number of reasons to deny the inherent pleasure, chief among them being shame that we are (apparently) choosing this cheap temporary pleasure in the face of all reason and common sense.  It's okay.  You're conditioned; it's not a free choice any more.  Any shame attaching must be to the earlier decisions, not to last night's bender.  The thing to do now is to fix the problem.

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