“Screw it all! I have tried and tried again, and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m going to the bar.”

The pressures of life can get overwhelming sometimes. Things don’t work the way we hoped for, and even our greatest push backs didn’t accomplish a thing.

Our sweat and tears are in vain, and our efforts run down the drain. Nothing we try seems to work, and we need a break from all this crap. Just a moment to recharge. It seems that life gets a step up if we can forget our struggles for a night.

So we crack open that lager or light up that doobie. As we feel the cold running down our throat, and the haze filling our lungs, we know everything will be just fine. Things will be ok at least for tonight. Tomorrow will worry about itself.


The reason we drink

The issue people are referring to is an addiction, and the effects drugs and alcohol have on our health. Like we don’t know that. Like we don’t know that stuff isn’t good for you.

I won’t deny that our bodies can get addicted to any substance. It’s part of life. But once we remove the drug only for a couple of days, our bodies are just fine. It’s our mind that’s hooked.

We connect the feeling of a cigarette with the morning coffee and the satisfaction it has after dinner. We like to play with the smoke and roll the tip between our fingers. It’s not the drug we get addicted to; it’s the comfort it provides that keep us coming back.

Drugs and Alcohol are only one of many coping mechanisms. Reality becomes too difficult to handle, and we seek a break from our current situation. It is no different then biting nails, controlling behaviors, or even binge watching on Netflix.

The sole purpose of these actions is to deviate our mind to something other then what is going on. We happily jump into distraction because we are instantly gratified.

Because we let ourselves fall entirely, it is easy to lose ourselves in the moment. Our ability to assess consequences goes out the window as the heat escapes our body on a chilly winter day in Minnesota.

We don’t want anything to impact our inner positivity since the breeze of carelessness intoxicates us. We kick out everything that reminds us of what we are escaping including realistic consequences.


It’s all in our heads

I argue that alcohol only lets us play out what we feel on the inside. Even when fully drunk, we are still aware what happens to our marriage if we sleep with someone other than our spouse.

The gin doesn’t take away our ability to understand consequences, but it does numb our capacity to judge effects correctly. Our state of mind distorts not only our problems but everything else as well.

It doesn’t matter if we are drunk or lost in video games. Our mind is in a state of denial, and our interactions reflect that. Selfishness and Self-pity take over our brain chemistry, and it is not easy to jump out of that.

The tireless mom who serves without a break in Sunday School and bakes the goodies for the retreat might have the same issue like the drunk banker from Wall Street.

It might look like serving in holiness but in reality, she might try to numb the accusation of unworthiness released upon her by the church because she is a woman. Both try to escape reality, and both choose to do it in different ways.

We need to look behind the curtain. Telling people not to get drunk is like telling them not to fly. We know what we shouldn’t do but so did the Israelites and they still worshiped the Baals.


Tried and tested problem-solving

The military has a great track record of identifying problems. They perfected this skill because it is a matter of life and death. An excellent strategy to assess our current situation was made famous by Colonel Moore in his book “We Were Soldiers”. When faced with a crucial situation, he recommends to ask three simple questions:

  • What is happening?
  • What is not happening?
  • What can I do about it?


What is happening?

The best way to get clarity is to admit something is wrong and then to define it. We can’t fight an enemy that we don’t know.

Analyzing our behavior and emotions will give us valuable clues. We have to be completely honest with ourselves. We have to admit that maybe we are hurt by mean things someone else said. It is crucial not to brush things off because we still have to deal with our emotions.


What is not happening?

We need to stop listening to our fears. Our mind has the habit of making up stories out of thin air. We have to catch this ballooning and recognize that the worst things we anticipate will likely not happen. We have to cut through our warped perception of reality and analyze our situation as best as we can. If a remark hurts us, could it be that we only took it the wrong way?


What can I do about it?

If we honestly answered of the first two questions, we can put together a solution. This is by no means easy, but it is realistic. Things are easier to deal with if we have a concrete understanding of what they are. This brings down the big, nebulous cloud swirling over our heads. We often find out that there is a way out.


One thing to remember

I pray that these strategies will help you to tackle our problems. Keep in mind that no one starts out as an expert. Failure is part of life, but that doesn’t make you a failure. What we do doesn’t define who we are. We are who God says we are. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

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