January has unique properties in comparison to the other months of the year. It promises a fresh start, an opportunity to make change and grow. Many of us will be called to write resolutions.
A popular resolution among many is sobriety, from alcohol especially. Drinking has become an extremely social activity, which leads to potentially harmful habits being formed. Annie Grace, author of “This Naked Mind,” shares this very sentiment on her website, as she describes her own drinking transforming from a nightly social activity, to an isolated dependency. This is a cycle that many Americans fall victim to. Drinking in itself isn’t always harmful, but can quickly become dangerous when it turns from a weekly pastime to an ever-present dependency. Alcohol has irreversible effects on brain chemistry that only worsens the more one drinks. It’s challenging to battle the mental AND physical consequences addiction causes.
It’s much easier said than done to actually get sober. Alcohol targets the same areas in the brain that “activate” when we are rewarded with something. These areas are flooded with endorphins when drinking alcohol, which is what brings a person to want to keep drinking. It interacts with the brain to cause this recurrence. When someone tries to stop drinking, it’s natural to have difficulty. Who wouldn’t want to feel those good neurotransmitters? However, these interactions easily lead to dependency. Sobriety is difficult and causes many withdrawal symptoms. This
withdrawal period can start mere hours from the time you stop drinking. Such symptoms include anxiety, vomiting, headaches and even hallucinations. It’s incredibly difficult to give up a “good” feeling just to feel these withdrawals, but for some, the destruction alcohol dependency
can cause is not worth it.
In “This Naked Mind,” Annie describes her approach to treating dependency. She focuses on removing the DESIRE to drink, which she posits will allow the individual to make their own choices about drinking, unclouded by desire. This approach focuses on empowerment of the
It is especially dangerous to drink when already afflicted with mental health conditions, have a history of addiction in the family, or when on psychiatric medication. Always consult your doctor before drinking while on medication.