If I stop drinking will I ever enjoy life again?
There is life after drinking, however the first step is to realise that to carry on drinking is not the solution to your problems.
Often, a crisis or the imminent threat of one prompts an individual to start to question their relationship with alcohol and the consequences of their drinking. An ultimatum from a partner, a serious disciplinary at work or waking up in a police cell can force a drinker to realise something is seriously wrong. These dark hours, far from being 'the end', as many drinkers might fear are actually powerful opportunities for new beginnings disguised as catastrophes. They might be enough to make an individual want to find help with their drinking or actually want to stop, but almost inevitably a flurry of false rationalisations bombard them back into inaction.
One of these false rationalisations is the notion that an end to drinking will mean an end to most of life's enjoyment; the drinker will become a dreary, boring and lifeless shadow of themselves if they stop. It never occurs to the drinker to question whether what they do when drinking is actually enjoyable at all, so it might be useful here to talk about what enjoyment, or happiness is. It goes without saying that happiness is different for all of us, we all have different things in life that we like, different ways we have of expressing ourselves and different ideas about life. That said, most people with happy and contented lives seem to experience the following similar things in their day to day experience:
- They have close and honest relationships with people.
- They have jobs or other activities in their lives that are important to them and that contribute in some way to other people,
- They are able to be intimately honest with themselves and have a degree of self acceptance.
There seems to be a gulf of difference between the temporary high that drunkenness brings (followed by the inevitable low), and the long term happiness that self knowledge and connection to others offers, and unfortunately the former is aggressively promoted in our society and the latter is frequently ignored. It is possible that no drinker actually really enjoys themselves at all; they might relish the relief from the burdens of self that the first drink brings, they might confuse a deeply narcissistic self-centeredness for satisfaction, but they are missing out.
If you are reading this, wondering if you stop drinking now whether you will ever be happy again, you might want to take tentative step into the unknown for a little while and see if there might be a whole world of enjoyment and contentment that you have never known. Here at Life Works we know that alcohol addiction rehabilitation works and that individuals can have healthy and fulfilling lives without the need to drink.