Do You Really Want To Be A Drunk? Why We Keep Doing What We Don’t Want To Do

Do You Really Want To Be A Drunk? Why We Keep Doing What We Don’t Want To Do “I also knew that I did not want to drink. Sitting on that sofa, I realized the old ‘I could stop if I wanted to, I just don’t want to’ didn’t apply here, because I did not want to drink. I watched myself get up off the sofa and pour myself a drink. When I sat back down on the sofa, I started to cry. My denial had cracked…”(Alcoholics Anonymous, 324)

Ask yourself this: Do I want to be an alcoholic? Most people, if they still have some capacity to reason, will answer ‘no.’ But when asked if they want to stop drinking forever, most will also answer in the negative. While they don’t want to keep up this habit of drinking to the point of oblivion, the prospect of never drinking again isn’t so appealing either. The real dream and goal of the practicing alcoholic is to become a normal drinker—one who can enjoy a little alcohol and then be done, one who can take it or leave it.

If practicing alcoholics can agree that what they would really like, and what they spend all of their efforts trying to accomplish, is normal drinking, then where is the breakdown? How does one or two drinks become an entire bottle? How does a little fun and relaxation escalate to the point of blackout?

These are the eternal mysteries of alcoholism. No matter what the stakes, no matter how impassioned our vows and commitments, no matter how gravely we’ve messed up in the past, when it comes to drinking, we are chronically insane. And we won’t get that sanity back. A return to normal drinking is impossible. If you don’t believe us, just give it a try.

“This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or wish.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 34)

No doubt you are completely perplexed with your own behavior. You commit to yourself that you won’t drink or that you will drink moderately, and then, as if you were no longer in control of your own body, you proceed to drink to the point of drunkenness. If this is exactly what you did not want to do, why did you do it? Why is it that when you consider the stakes and all you stand to lose, you roll the dice and gamble on booze once again?

In other areas of your life, perhaps you have been able to exhibit self-control, moderation, and wise decision-making. But where alcohol or an alternate substance of choice is concerned, you feel almost as if you are having an out of body experience—you are compelled to drink, you have to. Your mind and body will not leave you alone until you do.

This is the phenomenon of alcoholism and a condition that is not understood by people who are not problem drinkers. For them, alcohol doesn’t possess that mysterious, unrelenting pull. While they may enjoy alcohol, they can take it or leave it if they decide to do so.

In your case, however, the body and mind have been so warped that alcohol, once ingested, immediately triggers an almost allergic reaction. Suddenly the mind is obsessed with it and the body as well. Together they steamroll your reason, and your good intentions are held hostage while you pour drink after drink. It isn’t what you wanted to do and you hate yourself for doing it, but there is no stopping the process once it has been set it motion. Thus one more blackout, another trip to rehab, the disappointed and disgusted looks of family and friends, the deep personal sense of remorse, shame, and hopelessness.

While it may feel that you have been trapped in a solitary hell, understand that you are not alone and your situation is not unique. It is, in fact, the human condition. While not all people will battle with alcohol, we all battle the compelling call of some sin. Even the Apostle Paul a man of great holiness, was well aware that despite his intentions and efforts, he was drawn to sin by a force beyond himself:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:15-20)

Admit that you can’t stop doing what you don’t want to do. In recovery you will find the power to say no, and mean it.