Home Personality Development ARE YOU BOTTLE BOUND?
Thursday, 19 April 2012 03:02




ONE of the main reasons why we drink is to give ourselves confidence, in the belief that a few glasses oil the tongue and sets us at ease-especially with strangers. There are, of course, plenty of other reasons: loneliness, wanting to please others, being frightened of feeling left out, using drink as bridge between each other, drinking to impress, or just wanting to shut out the world in an alcoholic haze. And it's often not just one of these reasons but a combination.

We are all at times a bit lonely, frightened, unsure of what to say, anxious about meeting people-friends as well as strangers—and we turn to the bottle to help us over these fears and stumblings.

It is a short step from this to using the bottle whenever life 'closes in'. Then you have a problem, because life can 'close in' at any time.

It doesn't help to drink. For example, the lonely woman sitting in her house with her memories turns to drink as a comfort—but she is still lonely and lost. The young adolescent, stammering his awkward, gawky way to a first date, reaches for a drink to straighten his words—but in his heart he is as shy as ever. The tired businessman forgets his office worries by blurring them out with several large nightcaps—but his fears are only put off for a couple of hours and, in the morning, they return.

How many people always have a drink before chatting with someone at a disco, or go to the pub for a 'loosener' on the way to a party? Quite a lot. For the big drinkers, going out for an evening and not drinking is like going out for an evening without their clothes on. They just wouldn't do it. Like their clothes, they see alcohol as essential. This is of course a myth. They are using drink as a crutch, scared they will fail without it.

Far from helping, alcohol is a hindrance. Throw away the crutch and you'll realize you don't need it. Drink isn't a passport to success and happiness; these come when you stop drinking. In just a couple of months after giving up, you can change from an overweight, slobby, depressed drinker into a fit, slim, healthy-looking teetotaller. The change doesn't take place overnight, but with every day things get better and better, and the transformation is wonderful. And that's how it is for anyone who decides to give up drinking.

Too many people think that sober means straight. They're wrong—being sober is being smart. Only when you give up drinking do you see this. So do it now, swap beer for attractiveness, swap drunkenness for confidence.

Be honest, go and have a look in that mirror and if you don't like what you see, do something about it—today.

If you think you can't, you're wrong. All it takes is you. Each time you say no it gets easier and easier, until it becomes part of your life, an automatic unthinking response. As natural and as easy as breathing.

On the face of it, saying no seems such an easy thing, politely declining a drink with a few well-chosen words and a gracious nod. Simple. So why write about it? Because it isn't like that. Especially if you are weak-willed, half-hearted, addicted or just plain scared, 'no' can seem the hardest word to say.

But saying no is very easy, if you plan what you are doing, stick to your guns, take command and refuse to give in. Sounds a lot? Well, it isn't.

Many who have freed themselves from the curse of the bottle, are constantly tormented by the craving for drink. They are always faced by the seemingly innocent proposition that one small wine glass cannot do them any harm. They keep on telling themselves that if they could give it up in the first place, they can surely give it up again. Moreover, they argue with themselves, that one small glass cannot be habit-forming.

They go on feeding their mind on spurious thinking and all sorts of false future resolutions till they again succumb to the temptation of the one glass theory.

I know of one such case who had given it up after a long struggle against the evil habit. There were a host of factors that culminated in his renunciation of the bottle. The most prominent of all was the death of his grown up son in an accident in a  state of drunkenness.

This rude shock, plus the economic ruin of his family that made them suffer endless deprivation and privation, had jolted him to the point of arousal. In one mighty effort, he freed himself from the vicious grip of Bacchus.

Then followed a period of serenity, peace of mind, economic recovery and some semblance of dignity and well-being of the family. But, unfortunately it was too good to be true. The craving which had always haunted him, one day got the better of his determination, and the illusion he had been building up of his invincibility, led him to the 'only glass'.

He did not know at that time that there is no such thing as the only glass. It proves only the first. On account of the very nature of the malady, it starts a chain reaction. It did in his case too.

This is precisely the fate of the reformed alcoholics. They first entertain a thought—a thought which strikes a fatal blow at their will power—and then come to a stage which automatically loosens their self-control.

When the small stifled voice within them warns against the possible dangers, they cheat themselves saying, "I knew the dangers then. I know them now. One glass will not bring the heavens down." One glass will not bring the heavens down, but surely it will open the portals of hellish slavery to alcohol.

By constantly repeating such defeatist thoughts to themselves, they lay the foundation of their make-belief. They are unaware that they are pushing themselves down the abyss. They wrongly think they have the power and determination to climb up again. They think they can cry a halt when they desire. But they cannot; No one can.

I also know another person, who was cocksure he had conquered the habit, but fell in a weaker moment. He was confronted with the most challenging decision of his life at a party.

His friends were celebrating a big occasion. Every one was out to have the time of his life. Since he was touching nothing more than a soft drink, nearly all his friends coaxed him to go for the strong one, advancing all kinds of arguments in their favour. This, he told, had no effect on him.

Suddenly, a thought flashed past his mind that one glass of wine has never made an alcoholic of anyone. The fallacy of his reasoning flashed through his mind but it was the light of a flickering flame that flares up before it goes out. His will power had been snuffed out. This man, who argued that one glass could not make him an alcoholic, is an alcoholic to this day. Moreover, he has no desire or determination left behind to fight the evil. That is the mischief of one glass.

Those who are ever tormented by the craving to drink must realize that it is not the bottle that lures them, it is their thinking. To stay sober, they have to master the art of controlling their thoughts.

Those who have fallen into the trap after once having got out of it, will bear it out that it was their own thinking which made them surrender. The first thought that crosses their mind that one glass can do no harm, is the culprit. They have to kill it before it kills their will.

A thought becomes an act. That is the law of life. What they live in their thought-world, sooner or later, will be objectified in their real life.

They must bear in mind that every conscious act is preceded by a thought and dominating thoughts determine dominating actions. The acts repeated crystallise into a habit. The aggregate of habits makes one's character.

It is a known psychological law that any kind of thought, if entertained for long, will reach the motor tracks of the brain, and finally burst forth into action. This is how alcoholics fall. On the other hand, the greatest powers are engendered, the most heroic acts of will-power are performed, in the same way.

It is in our hands to determine exactly what thoughts we entertain. In the realm of our mind we have complete control, or we should have; and if at any time we have not, then there is a method by which we can acquire control.

The mind has the power to perpetuate the thoughts it harbours. Thus, a simple effort to control one's thoughts, a simple setting about it, even if failure is the result, will in time, bring him to the point of easy, full and complete control.

Those wavering on the brink of re-drinking can completely eradicate the thought by scotching it in the first place. The succeeding effort to scotch it will require lesser will-power. They must not give up in despair, as in every case, every bit of effort will add an increment of power that will finally accomplish the end aimed at.