How Alcohol Fuels Our Loneliness & Fear of Healing

People will do anything when they feel alone. The need to bond is especially heightened when we are drinking, and that causes a problem because the amount of lonely people in the world + the dependence we have on alcohol = a very lonely, sad, and reoccurring fix to a much deeper problem. Everyone struggles with feelings of loneliness, yet we are conditioned to soothe these feelings with temporary reliefs or crutches. Such as – socialization, work, exercise, drinking, partying, companionship, sex, drugs, shopping, money, etc etc. A classic line sounds like, “I need a drink, it’s been a long day.” If you had a stressful and emotional day the LAST thing you should do is go running towards an alcoholic beverage because like mostly all of us, the one drink will turn into 3 then 4 then the next thing you know it’s a night out, filled with demonic energy, and you have successfully distracted yourself from the root of your problem – the inability to sit in the feeling of stress, emotion, and discomfort from the day. Instead of having a drink to “unwind” why don’t we take a walk, ride a bike, or drink a cup of tea together? Come together in harmony and peace over our battles? 

What you are really trying to say at the end of a stressful day is, “I have had an emotional day. Can someone please take care of me? Can someone/something please support me?” Because that connection, the ability that we have as humans to nurture and love each other is what will soothe an emotional day, not a quick sip of poison. But the liquid is there for you. It’s right there, so easy to swallow, so seductive and sexy, so quick to turn to and easily justified by our peers. If we told each other how we felt, how unbelievably lonely, sad, or upset we may be feeling from our days or years of ignoring our peace, who would listen? Is poison our best listener? Or is it just the only listener that we feel comfortable enough to turn to? Telling a human how we feel consumed with loneliness that we may cave in and decay is much scarier than quietly sipping that drink and sulking deep into the chair you decide to sit upon. 

Alcohol and sex are even more dangerous yet soothing to the lonely soul. I have reached out to a former partner, or a complete stranger, just to soothe my temporary drunken need to bond. To not be alone. The desire to be held, kissed, loved, fucked, etc is through the roof when we are intoxicated, and we will reach out to anyone to fill that need if we cannot fill it ourselves. But that’s the thing about liquor. It can destroy our ability to be there for ourselves like we need. The poison can overrule our true selves and send us into a euphoric yet dishonest part of being. And that’s where this all begins, and my mind begins to wonder.

WHY do we feel so lonely? WHY do we seek these temporary reliefs and HOW can we fix this ongoing and common issue that we all seem to struggle with, yet no one speaks upon it or admits to it? Of course, not everyone drinks and has sex to fulfill this desire to bond, and there are times when drinking can be a good night that does not turn into a night of coping with reality, but these times seem slim to none compared to the countless times I have drank to cope and I have seen mostly everyone around me do the same. And if you aren’t using drinking to cope, the likelihood of us using another crutch, like the ones I previously mentioned, are pretty high. Drinking to cope usually leads to attraction to cope, to feel seen, wanted, or important. The desire to be seen is heightened when we are drinking. I have countlessly started off a seductive and low-key night with a cocktail or two and it has led to me being out for hours, receiving validation and attention from people who could actually care less about me, they just want to be seen too. To feed off a soul hungry for the night. So even if you aren’t drinking to cope to start the night, ask yourself – WHAT is the point of this night? Is it to be flirted with? Is it to meet someone you can go home with? Is it to receive some sort of validation that you cannot give yourself? Is it to post a hot pic? If your answer is honestly nothing to do with a desire to be seen, wanted, or accepted – that’s great. We need more people like you in this world. More people who feel seen, heard, and valued inside themselves. More people who had a childhood filled with little to no severe neglect, abuse, or trauma. We wonder why so many people use these ways to cope and use other people to cope, well let’s look at our childhoods. 

My desire to bond, to be accepted, needed, and loved stems from an incredibly dark childhood. I cannot even remember any of my childhood before the age of 12, a very common effect of trauma. From a very young age I got the message that I was unsafe and deserved to live a chaotic life. My father, dangerously unreliable, always promising things he could not deliver than manipulating the situation and topping it off with his narcissistic victim mentality, combined with my mother who suffered years and years of alcoholism at a young age due to her family trauma and an overall distrust for the world and for people around her, caused me to be comfortable in a very unreliable and unsafe home. Children have primary needs and wants that must be met. If these needs are not met by the main caregiver, the child gets the message that they are unsafe, and they will begin to cope and survive in whatever way they can. For me, I coped with lashing out. I survived this chaotic childhood by making everything bigger than it needed to be. By crying, fighting back, yelling, or screaming as a child and by over drinking and over destructing as a young adult. I didn’t care if it took me screaming to be noticed as a child, as long as I was noticed at all – which I very rarely was. As I grew up this survival mechanism stayed with me but just translated into heavier and more “adult” ways of coping/trying to be seen and understood. There have been many times when I’m drunk and off drugs where I just want to yell, “Will anyone understand me? Will anyone hold me? Fuck me?” These have been times where I am that child. Destroying and sabotaging everything around me because that’s how I survived as her. That’s how I was finally seen by my caregivers. I remember being a child and crying so loud in my room just in hopes that one of my parents would come check on me. 

Now, as an adult I see that these ways are fucking useless and will not help me survive. They no longer serve who I am today – someone who is caring, compassionate, and fearless. However, there are still many nights where I do result back to this inner child and I reach for that temporary relief rather than soothing myself. Alcohol and sex only soothe you for so long. The real way to soothe ourselves is to tune into these feelings – into these deep desires to be understood and not alone. But this is not the easier option. I understand why so many people turn to the crutches for help. I understand how I spent dark nights out drinking, being seen, being fucked, only to wake up feeling emptier and alone but somehow doing it again the next night. I understand how we as a society believe that coping with these feelings looks different than it actually is. Because the truth is, the crutches we turn to do feel fucking good, and they do make you feel important. But the importance never lasts, and as we are all fighting to be seen over the person beside us or to be the desired one among a crowd, we must ask ourselves what need from our childhood we are trying to capture so desperately and obviously. And if you are lucky enough to face this need and wound without depending on alcohol, a depressant… then you are blessed and well on your way to a healing path where you are heard and seen by no one more important than yourself.

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