Anxiety and Alcohol

If you think about it logically everyone who drinks alcohol for the very first time and continues to drink it over the following years drinks it for one simple reason and that is to change their brain patterns with a drug. Maybe a small change, maybe a large change. But we put alcohol (or any mind altering drug) into our system already knowing what effect it will have on us.

After that first experiment…

Some choose to never touch it again.
Some touch it and decide to have small amounts.
Some touch it and choose to have moderate amounts.
Some touch the drug and slowly build up to using it in excess.

Whatever you choose is up to you if you are happy to do just that. 
But some of us are not because we become aware that we are increasingly dependant on the drug to change our brain patterns in order to cope.

It’s WHY you want or need that effect (and to what depth) that matters.


I hate that word. 
I hate that label.

Am I an Alcoholic?

My issue was and still is much deeper than that….

You have your own opinion as to whether you agree with the label ‘alcoholic.’ – it’s important that you have your own opinion.
Maybe you are happy with the term and that’s great.

I personally think labeling is meaningless. There are too many people drinking alcohol nowadays for a label to ‘fit’ what being an alcoholic means anymore. Too many peoples’ intake of alcohol is in a “grey area” in this modern world. What really matters is that if you feel that alcohol is affecting you and your life in a negative way then you should be able to address that without fear of being labeled.

Unless you’re happy with that label.

That worry of being labeled alcoholic has actually prevented many from stopping drinking for fear of such a label. 😓

But alcohol is socially acceptable and
to not drink it is seen as odd behaviour by many.
Many don’t want nondrinkers around them.
To label you alcoholic may take the focus off their own drinking issues.

I now know I have an addiction.

I am addicted to trying to overcome my ‘normal’ anxiety traits in order to cope with my life.

Alcohol, the socially acceptable drug (once I found it in my teens) became the tool I used too frequently in my quest to cope with my ‘normal’ anxiety traits. The amount I could consume grew steadily as my tolerance levels increased over time.

Alcohol became a regular habit. My gift at the end of a long day. My ‘tool’ of choice to relax and quell any anxieties I may have on that day.  Over time my ‘normal’ anxieties turned full circle and I also became anxious about my intake of alcohol. Anxious of how alcohol changed me into someone else I didn’t recognise or like.

But if I stopped drinking alcohol my ‘normal’ anxiety was still there.

Alcohol was the only tool I knew to cope with my anxiety.
Yet alcohol increased my anxieties soon after drinking it.

Round and round I went…….

It’s taken me over five and a half years alcohol-free to truly accept how much my ‘normal’ deep rooted anxiety traits can affect me. Because no matter how much I try sometimes they still appear. But now I know its appearance is dependant on many factors.

My ‘normal’ anxiety affects me in such subtle ways I’d ‘missed the point’ when I thought alcohol was the actual problem.

The most damaging addiction tool I could ever have decided to use was alcohol in order to cope with my ‘normal’ anxiety trait.

Thank goodness I’ve obliterated alcohol from my life. 

I am now addicted to other more healthy tools and methods to cope.

– like exercise, breathing techniques, binge-watching series on TV, knitting, yoga, reading books and articles, listening to podcasts etc – and reading posts and talking to all of you on this site…

My issues are and always have been controlling my ‘normal’ anxiety – so labeling myself alcoholic means nothing has been resolved. Maybe you are drinking too much alcohol like I was and if so I’d recommend taking it out of your life. Give yourself the chance to find out the real issues of why you need to change your brain patterns.

Maybe like me you’ll find that alcohol was only papering over the cracks of your more difficult natural traits – and ultimately making things worse.

 Face your fears head on and slowly learn ways of coping with who you are in a less damaging way.

Alcohol may be the tip of your iceberg. Maybe like me you’ll find it’s much more complex than that and your real issues are hidden deep below the surface.

“Alcohol can trigger panic attacks because on a physiological level drinking can cause low blood sugar, dehydration, increased heart rate, and increased levels of stress. … So while alcohol and anxiety attacks are correlated, it may be that those with anxiety disorders are more likely to drink.”

Alcohol & Panic Attacks – How Alcohol Abuse Can Worsen Anxiety

‘Hangxiety’: why alcohol gives you a hangover and anxiety

Chronic Drinking Increases Cortisol Levels

If you are drinking too much too often and want to take a break…come join us for Dry January or 100 days of Change .

We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

You can read more about us Here

Download the Mighty Networks app here for easy access and search BOOM Rethink the Drink

Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying “I think I have a problem with drinking”

Top Sober Living Blogs
Feedspot Top Living Sober Blogs

6 responses to “Alcoholic”

  1. […] William Porter also explains why we get that awful anxiety when we have a drink or two and feel the overwhelming need for more alcohol. Our brain is releasing chemicals to counteract the sedating effect of alcohol. When someone has been drinking too much for too long (like me) the brain releases the stimulating chemicals quickly because it is used to the onslaught of alcohol that follows that first drink. At this point in my life, I cannot drink enough alcohol to numb the anxiety that the first drink triggers. I was drinking until I was sick and the anxiety was still there. A vicious cycle. […]

  2. […] By all definitions I am a highly functional alcoholic. The highly functional kind is the worst because all of the wonderful things that we accomplish every day encourage us to think that we are in control. […]

Blog at


%d bloggers like this: