Alcohol As A Numbing Agent

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It’s a well known fact that one of the major reasons people abuse alcohol is for its properties as a numbing agent. They get temporary reprieve from unwanted or unpleasant emotions, basically feeling better by not having to feel anything at all for a while.

If this is you, a helpful existential insight is that there are many who would give anything to trade places with you, to be able to feel once again. We’re talking specifically here about those struggling with depression and those with schizoid personality traits. In both cases, the ability to feel is blunted and the resulting situation is a living hell.

Kind of weird to realize that what you’re so desperate to get rid of someone else would take on in a heartbeat isn’t it? The thing about emotions is that, as we’ve written elsewhere, they are an all or nothing affair. You can’t pick and choose which ones you are going to feel. They are all the result of being turned towards life, and when you’re turned towards life you’re subject to the bad as well as the good.

The fact that you’re capable of feeling deeply is a very good thing, a very healthy thing, even if the emotions you are currently feeling are unpleasant because they’re attached to really bad circumstances. But your emotions are healthy, what is unhealthy is choosing to deal with them by constantly submerging them under the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Obviously choosing alcohol as a numbing agent for your emotions doesn’t work long-term or you wouldn’t have to keep going back to it. The only way out is to view what you are feeling as valid and to mindfully accept your painful emotions into your life so that you can work through them in a healthy way instead of trying to make them disappear under the fog of intoxication.