There is a lot of science out there about the chemistry of the brain and the effect of alcohol on it. The bottom line from all research whether pro or anti-alcohol is more or less the same. Alcohol affects the brain, PERIOD!!!!
I would love to go out there and do tons of research, but neither Beers-are-US or Fuzzy-but-Deadly, are willing to give me a grant to study the negative effect of alcohol on humans. Why did I pick those two, they were the first ones to come to mind since the first one makes enough beer to drown a continent and the other makes nice fuzzy, fruity, innocent tasting drinks that KILL. Obviously, I did not put the name of real alcohol producers since they would sue my knickers off!
I have been a member of an online community for a bit now and I have heard many stories which have convinced me further that I should continue to pursue an alcohol free lifestyle. A lot of testimony showed me that not only are there triggers that get us to drink, or re-start drinking, there are TURNING POINTS in our lives, events that gets us started. None of the people in my community, including me, have just woken up one morning and said “I am going to start getting drunk every day from now on and make sure I never go to bed sober because it seems like a fun thing to do”. Sometimes, it is a relationship that goes sour, a health incident or being around people that drink and make you feel like that is the only way.
Based on that observation, I decided to try to find what that moment was for me. When did I start thinking that being sober is no fun whatsoever… Interesting, I just said: “FUN”. When did life start to be less fun for my brain and it needed to be chemically fooled into thinking it was having fun!
Here is an excerpt from scientific research on alcohol and dopamine:
“ Some of the better researched neurotransmitter systems with which alcohol interacts are the following:
Endorphins: Alcohol affects the endorphin system in a manner similar to opiates, acting as a pain-killer and giving an endorphin “high”
Dopamine: All drugs which lead to dependence appear to affect the dopamine system. Stimulants like amphetamine and cocaine affect dopamine directly whereas other drugs appear to affect it indirectly. In this article we will review the research on the effect of alcohol on dopamine
Norepinephrine: Also known as noradrenaline. Alcohol causes a release of norepinephrine in the brain which is one reason why alcohol acts as a stimulant and not just as a depressant.
Adrenaline: Alcohol causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline–this is another reason why alcohol has stimulant properties. The adrenaline is carried to the brain via the bloodstream.
Alcohol does not lead to an increase of dopamine throughout the brain; it only causes an increase in dopamine in the area of the reward pathway (Boileau et al 2003) https://hams.cc/dopamine.pdf
Right there, I see three things: Dopamine, Endorphins and Adrenaline.
What is so special to me about those three? I LIKE THEM!!!!
Here are some examples:
Dopamine: I really, really enjoy sex. I don’t care what anyone thinks, a lot of us do. If you don’t that is your thing but it is fun with the right partner. It is relaxing, intimate and well, just plain FUN!!!!
Endorphins: When I exercise vigorously, my body releases those. So, I went to the gym, I got all pumped up and I felt good! I was having FUN!!! (Not to mention the other people in there wearing some outfits which leave little to the imaginations (there goes the dopamine dose (FUN!)))
Adrenaline: How many of you like a little thrill? Come on, get dressed in front of a window thinking that the neighbor might see you. Take that corner a little faster to see how it feels. I used to walk around the house naked all the time. I drove open wheel race cars around track at stupid speeds and waited to the last second to brake and almost scarred myself unconscious. I mountain biked in an area where people barely dared to walk. It was FUN!!!!
The thing is, because of time constraints and an unsupportive environment, I pretty well stopped going to the gym and even workout altogether. Life is too busy and there are too many things to do to bother. I have a partner for whom sex is not important, it is a chore and only performed to make sure the other doesn’t stray. Finally, I am supposed to be mature so I should not speed or try to break my neck. My last recollection of trying to scare the living day lights out of me was a track day with a Porsche 911 Turbo (nicknamed “The widow maker”). That was early 2012. I honestly don’t remember when I was in a gym last or work out vigorously.
So my three favorite natural molecules were pretty well no longer being fabricated by my body. I was no longer having FUN!
A number of not so fun events also happened from 2012 and that made matters worse. I will not get into that since you have had bad stuff happen to you too so fill in the blank. So, guess what started to ramp up during this time. That was way too easy right? Who said alcohol consumption? Give yourself a pat on the back, you win.
Less “FUN” more BOOZE.
More “You can’t or should not do that” and more BOOZE.
Something as simple as a week camping, where suddenly pretty well everything I used to do is now dangerous, obscene, or inappropriate for a person my AGE! So the camping trip becomes a booze fest which is easy since so many people like to go camping to get drunk. I used to like it for the outdoors, the stupid sober stunts and nature!
Drinking at every event turned into drinking when I get home from work (it is an event kind of) to drinking myself to a coma to go to sleep without thinking. My brain was having so much “FUN”. I was feeding it all that liquid fun!
Then I woke up drunk and alone in a crowd . What a lucky, lucky, lucky turn of event! There were a few glimpses of my problem, like videos of me with my grandkids looking like a sad sack. I could see in the fog that changes were needed. I started reading posts in this comunity and saw myself in so many people. I saw what had happened to me. I needed less liquid “FUN” and to go back to the three more natural molecules in my life.
This is recent, I am only 19 days sober. Maybe I don’t yet have the right to write this essay on alcohol but I really don’t care what people think. The last 19 days have been the greatest most satisfying and painful kick in the back end I have had in a long time. Am I having fun yet? I wish I could say: “Absolutely” but one must be realistic so maybe a little with some rough days.
I am way more lucid. Waking up without a hangover is… FUN!
I took a picture of myself in the mirror naked. (I am allowed to say “naked” right?) That got me to start finding an exercise plan. The workouts are not completely fun yet. I am removing the rust and gunk accumulated for the last 6-7 years. I also workout at home so no cuties in skimpy outfits (except for the one on YouTube teaching me the moves). I have the support of an amazing niece who is helping me get in shape. I am going to rock that thong by my birthday… You might be invited so don’t laugh. I think that I might actually feel some endorphins soon. I went for a bike ride yesterday and got caught in the pouring rain, FUN!!! (Adrenaline). Some of you are so naughty, you want to know about the third chemical. Again, my super open minded niece told me to take matters in my own hands and I am. I will not force anyone to participate in activities which are unappealing to them. Just don’t ask me what I am doing behind that closed door (unless you really want to know). Sure, it would be more fun with a willing partner but life is all about adjustment based on what is at hand (no pun intended here).
Am I saved? Am I cured? I think it is too soon to tell. I think I am on the right path and I have all this on-line crowd to support me plus an understanding family member who loves me and thinks I am strange. Who could really ask for anything more. Am I going to stick with it? I can’t answer that but if I keep reading what is out there, I will be scared into sticking to it. Being scared releases Endorphin i.e. FUN!
I am also kind of enjoying going onto the war path against something mainstream that people believe is good for them. I see more and more close ones who are affected by alcohol consumption in a negative way. My choice to become sober also created Artemis. I am growing attached to this character, however obnoxious it can be. I am Artemis. Actually, I was Artemis but lost “ME”. It is time to be me again.
I have said it in the past: “I am not a doctor, at least not the kind that help people” I just want to share my experience and my journey with others in the hope that I will make a positive difference in their lives.
Alcohol is the only drug that people will question you for not using but we understand how it feels to lose your off switch. If you are drinking too much too often maybe we can help. We are an independent, private, anonymous community forum. Working together to rebrand sobriety for ourselves in a world that sadly glorifies binge drinking.
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It’s never too late.
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