What do you need to understand about the role dopamine plays in your experience of joy and well-being, in order to successfully stop drinking and stay sober? How does the dopamine hit that you get from a drink make you reliant on alcohol?
All drugs which lead to dependence appear to affect the dopamine system, and alcohol is one of those drugs. The following articles are written by members of our BOOM community. Sharing our varied experiences of what worked for each of us in the hopes that it may help others.
Anyone who is getting sober, or is working on staying sober, understands how it feels to rob the brain of an alcohol induced dopamine “fix” that has become habitual. At the very least, it sets off a psychological withdrawal, a kind of emptiness or restlessness or craving for something that feels uncomfortable. It’s a “pull” back into whatever habit we formed that set off all that dopamine release in the first place.
The path in early sobriety or intermittent sobriety is all about that “pull” but also all about getting past it. Getting free! Some people do a flawless job of getting and staying sober, but for many it’s a process and a path strewn with stumbles and falls. And it’s human nature to focus on the disappointments and not upon the gains. So that’s where this article comes in.
read more The Dopamine Dance in your Brain
From Breaking Free
” The hardest thing for me about stopping drinking was the vulnerability I felt when I removed the coping mechanism I had used my entire adult life, but, removing that coping mechanism allowed the vulnerability that enables change. Opening myself to knowing that I could not control alcohol, that I could not control my external world, that I could not control the chaos but that I could choose to NOT drink was enough to start the process of breaking free.
One of the reasons that people feel raw, exposed, and vulnerable when they stop drinking, is that their brains haven’t learned how to shoot out that “feel good” chemical dopamine without the alcohol key in the ignition. But writing that list and checking things off is the beginning of retraining your brain to feel good naturally!”
Read more here : Breaking Free
Everyone who decides to drink alcohol uses it in that moment because it affects them. I used it FOR that effect and I became far too dependent on the effect. I truly believed I needed to get that effect from alcohol – and so I used the drug alcohol for the wrong reasons. I used the drug to change my mood. I used the drug for the dopamine hit.
I drank alcohol to mask my feelings, enhance my feelings and stop my feelings. I become dependent on that drug to do that for me. I thought I needed it to do that for me.
…. there are many other ways to get your mood change without using alcohol. It was those other ways I had to learn and it took a long time to accept them as alternatives. Alcohol was an ‘easy’ option which gave me my dopamine hit quickly. The dopamine hit from alcohol calmed my anxiety or elevated my mood quickly. Other options (the ones in capitals at the bottom of the page) take a bit more effort and time and there’s many more options not just those in the list. For me – despite my discomforts at first – they have become better options than poisoning my body with a drug that has so many negative side effects.
Eventually the dopamine hit from the successful lie, from “getting away with it”, becomes almost as powerful as the dopamine hit from the drug. Hiding away. Me and my bottle. Me and my smokes. My precious.
When I was pretending not to smoke, and pretending not to open that second bottle of wine at night, the pretending was almost as addictive to my brain as the alcohol and nicotine. Eventually the dopamine hit from the successful lie, from getting away with it, becomes almost as powerful as the dopamine hit from the drug.
Read More :
10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally By Erica Julson
Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke MD
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