The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

I’ve made it no secret in this blog that I Hate Alcohol. There are so many reasons for that that you’ll have to read the original blog post to find out why. I haven’t had a drink in 35 years and I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d intentionally do so. Think of all the time and money I’ve saved, the feelings I’ve spared, and the health I’ve maintained.

Having said that, I’m not some prohibitionist. If you can drink in moderation, or only occasionally, and definitely NOT while driving, then cheers to you. I don’t care if you drink in my presence, as long as you don’t make an a$$ out of yourself. But if you know someone who is an alcoholic, whether they’ve admitted it to themselves or not, then this blog post is for you.

I’m writing this post now as New Year’s Eve is coming up, and most alcoholics will use that as handy excuse to get totally wasted. This will look even more pathetic in a pandemic year, because they will most likely do this all alone, with no fellow drinkers to cheer them on. If you’re sitting by yourself in an empty house or apartment, drinking away, then you have a problem. There’s no shame in seeking help.

But I’m going to hit you today with an observation. I’ve never known an alcoholic whose emotional growth wasn’t stunted in one way or another. I’ve been screamed at by alcoholics. I’ve seen them get violent. They throw tantrums. They take no responsibility for their actions or behavior. They are selfish. They are unreliable. They are impulsive and make very bad choices.

These are the traits of very immature adolescents.

Most people drink because they can’t cope with life. Effectively, they go away. And while they are “away”, they are not maturing as their peers are. They are not learning important life lessons because they aren’t truly living. They’re not developing people skills. They are so busy being pickled by alcohol, freezing themselves in time, that they don’t learn as much compassion as you or I do.

Alcoholics make horrible friends and spouses and parents. They will hurt you and they won’t care. If there’s any sign that you are outgrowing them, they will hurl abuse on you as you head out the door. Since their growth has been stunted, they cannot stand seeing growth in you. They will do whatever they can to hold you back.

It’s important to remember that none of this is your fault. It’s important to remember that you have a right to move on. Your alcoholic’s stunted growth doesn’t have to stunt your own.

Happy New Year. May the coming year bring you fresh insight and, if needed, a brand new start.

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4 thoughts on “Alcohol Stunts Your Emotional Growth

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    Decided in teens that I wouldn’t touch the stuff. Now I cook with it, not sure how long it has to boil to be inactivated. Have known a couple of people who disappeared down the neck of a bottle, and glad I stayed clear. Glad also that my best friend quit sometime before I met him.
    Some people, though…I know someone who single-handedly supports the wine dept. at the co-op, and she is never impaired, and is expected to bury all the rest of us.

    1. Great decision on your part! And alcohol burns off really quickly when cooking with it. And yes, some people have an amazing tolerance, and more power to them!

  2. Lyn says:

    Then there is the physical damage this toxin does to a body. It kills cells, damages cellular networks in the brain and is a carcinogen . It causes fetal alcohol syndrome in babies from a mother consuming as little as one drink. Personally, my body rejects even an ounce by sending me into anaphylaxis shock. That’s it’s way of telling my brain, “Hey, dummy, don’t drink poison”.
    This article says that a safe drinking level is a myth. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/mar/07/safe-level-alcohol-consumption
    Globally, alcohol consumption increased as much as 70% between 1990 and 2017, from 20,999 million liters per year to 35,676 million liters per year. (That’s a lot of cell damage.) I’m sure 2020 will see an even steeper rise. We need better alcohol education in schools and more accurate warning labels on alcoholic beverages because what we have now, clearly isn’t working.

    1. It is a shame how socially acceptable it tends to be, and how willing people are to look the other way at what is clearly a health crisis. And yes, 2020 hasn’t helped.

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