“At the end of each day, I just want to numb out, switch off and escape the world.”
When life is tough, it can be tempting to drink just to get a break.
You want to shut down the world… and you crave that numbness.
So how can you quit drinking if it means sacrificing that escapism and down time?
That’s exactly what today’s video is all about.
Alcohol is an unreliable numbing agent
Have you ever got drunk and then felt sad afterwards? You know that kind of maudlin, teary drunkenness? Or perhaps a few drinks led you to feel even angrier and you decided to tell that person what you really think of them. Or perhaps you’ve gone to a comedy show and laughed and laughed, despite having lots to drink?
In those moments, you’re not numb. You’re not switched off. You’re not void of emotion. You’re drinking, but your feelings are still right there. If alcohol truly numbed people, there would never be fights in pubs because no one would have any emotions! There would be no sadness, no anger, no passion and no laughter whilst drinking.
The fantasy of numbing out
The idea that alcohol switches you off is a bit of a fantasy in my opinion. It can’t do that unless you drink so much that you’re unconscious. (And none of us thinks that’s a good idea.) Before the unconscious stage, you still have the ability to think about whatever it is that’s so bad.
All alcohol can really do, if you’re lucky, is distract you. And that’s an important distinction. Because like I said, we never truly switch off, unless we’re unconscious. But we can switch our focus away from certain thoughts and feelings and use alcohol for distraction. The whole process of drinking is one big distraction.
If you can start saying, “I drink because I want some distraction from my life and my troubles”, that’s a win. Because talking about the distraction is much more helpful than telling yourself the fantasy of, “I drink because alcohol completely numbs me. It totally switches me off and I can’t feel anything when I drink.”
Talking about drinking for distraction is much less dramatic than “numbing out”. It takes the temperature down a bit. And we can work with that. On my Getting Unstuck course we can look at why you want so much distraction and how else we could create that for you.