Dry Life, Health, Journal

What Emotion Drives Your Drinking?

15 days today, kids. 15. I’m in a bit of shock over that, and at the same time, I’m surprised it’s been as easy as it has. I really expected many more days of really, really wanting a beer, but it hasn’t been that way. I mentioned back at the beginning of the month that I was going to pay attention to my emotions and see which ones drive the desire, and I’ve narrowed it down to one primary emotion: anger.


Anger has many definitions, and I’m learning that my personal anger encompasses many feelings, most especially the feeling of disempowerment. It’s how I feel – quite often, come to find out – when I am in a situation wherein a complete lack of control over my own life is the overwhelming emotion. Situations when I do things to keep the peace, when I must work to pay bills and put food on the table when I’d rather be sending light or reading a book, when communication is so tumultuous and full of roadblocks that I just want to scream and cry with frustration…and on and on. I was unaware at how little control I feel I have, and how little satisfaction I am getting from my life. There’s a huge feeling of beating my head against a wall, and, even stronger than that, of keeping the peace at the expense of my own peace and serenity. One can’t say what really needs to be said to that particular customer who makes you want to pull your hair out, nor is raging at someone who drives you bat-shit crazy with sheer frustration acceptable, and that extreme need to express one’s self – yet not be able to – leads to the need to be all stabby; and as that is really not ok to do, that turns into a deep, dive-into-the-ocean desire for alcohol to make it all go away before you do or say something you can’t take back.


I originally went into this #dryjuly with the thought that any and all emotions and day-to-day experiences were what leads people (well, me) to drink, but I’ve learned differently. I don’t feel the desire to drink when I’m happy or content (though a hot summer day can make a cold beer sound really, really good), and the habit of picking up beer after work has quickly gone away (that surprised me almost more than anything else). Nope, it all comes down to being middle-aged and feeling that “is this all there is and is it always going to be like this?” will never go away. That I’ll die full of frustrated dreams, unsaid words, and an deep well of anger.

What drives your drinking?

©Pip Miller – 2015