Alcohol and Drugs
What is it about the lure of these that can attract or repel us with equal passion?
The lure largely comes from the desire to try the forbidden, to seem ‘hot’ or to rebel, to act out unhappiness or escape from it, or just repeat the patterns of adults around you.
The repelling comes from a natural place of non-desire chemically in the brain, fear of the consequences, the desire to be healthy and make sensible choices, or repeating the patterns of adults around you.
The bottom line is that ultimately it’s your choice what you put into your body. The problem is that what seems an exciting exploratory choice to start with, in having a drink or taking a drug, can quickly take over your life.
Our brain is a highly complex piece of engineering; in fact the most complex thing in the known universe. It is essentially a complex ‘chemical computer’ with chemicals being the ‘signals’ that are transmitted round the brain to enable us, or cause us, to do all that we do - from:
- instructing our arm and hand to scratch our head
- thinking about and solving the most complex problem
- turning the food we eat into the chemicals we need to function
- creating the level of energy we have to get through the day
- experiencing our emotions of happiness, sadness, anxiety, etc
- to making all our organs function and our limbs move etc.
ALL of these things are driven by complex chemical signals relaying information between the many parts of our brain and all the ‘systems’ that it runs and the functions it carries out.
These ‘signal chemicals’ come from only two sources:
- The many ‘manufacturing plants’ we have in our bodies
- The food and drink that we consume
Our ‘manufacturing plants’ turn the food, drink and any other chemicals that enter our body into the chemicals that our body and brain needs.
If we put the optimum nutrition into our body, we will get the optimum function out of our body and brain.
However, if we don’t put in the optimum nutrition and/or we add in extra unnecessary or harmful chemicals - such as alcohol or drugs - our body and brain will not function at optimum capacity. i.e. some of the chemical signals won’t get sent or the right connections won’t be made from one part of the brain to the other, causing a chemical imbalance.
Our primitive mind, which is responsible for keeping us alive, then takes action to restore that balance. However it does not care about our quality of our life, so does so by the simplest method possible.
Consequently, your primitive mind records that you had that drink or took that drug which altered your brain chemicals but you stayed alive, so it decides it needs to maintain this ‘new’ chemical imbalance and forces you to continue the habit, making it a normal part of your survival needs, irrespective of what other damage it is causing you.
It actually encourages you, through cravings, to take what will maintain that now damagingly-altered chemical balance.
It’s not long until you wake up and the first thing you want is a cigarette or you start to want to drink more often or the drugs aren’t giving you the same kick so you need more and more.
Some people have a more addictive predilection than others, which is why some people can drink or smoke or take an occasional drug without getting hooked whilst others find it a slippery slope.
The biggest and most damaging part is that this decline can get to that state without you even realising.
The result is reliance, dependency and then addiction.
The saddest part is that however much you think you can be in control of things and could easily monitor and stop if you felt it was becoming a problem, if you have that addictive predilection, you can’t.
Once your brain chemicals are altered you no longer have that power to discern or combat it without proper treatment. And that’s a whole other nightmare of expense and going round in circles very often.
The good news is that, whilst the current forms of treatment and help available are limited, segmented and incomplete, I have now teamed up with an expert in alcohol and drug misuse and together we have formed an organisation called “Best Life Possible” that enables people with a whole range of problems to deal with them and learn how to be their best self with their best life.
If you, truth be told, are already aware you have drink or drug related issues, or have a parent or relation who has, or are even on the road towards that, PLEASE CONTACT ME NOW. Just email me with a brief outline and we will get back to you and do all we can to help.
I have worked with clients who started drinking or taking drugs as a teenager and I promise you it’s a very tough journey for them to get their life back on track.
And it’s not even like “I started taking drugs aged 15 and now I’m 25 and have stopped, my life picks up as a normal 25 year old”. It doesn’t. Everything that should have been going on in your brain development over that time has been well off course and essentially that time is just lost. If you stop drinking or drug taking, you pick up from the age you started.
I do understand that you are only young once and that you want to try things and that you may have all sorts of reasons to strike out against the rules and boundaries and that it’s boring to hear different, yet I do promise you this:
No one who has ever gone down the route of drugs and alcohol would make that choice again if they could start over. It ALWAYS leads to extremely damaging consequences.
Recently I worked with a chap of 33, who had an alcoholic dad and had got on a wrong path from a very early age. He was bright and very personable and could have done so much. He would like to have been married with children, living in his own house, working as a painter and decorator and enjoying life.
Instead, the craving for drugs and alcohol had overridden everything else and he’d got into crime and debt and was living in squalid conditions. His mother thought she was helping him by paying off drug dealers and ‘supporting him’ but all she was really doing was enabling him to keep in that state.
Another client, a very attractive, bright, smart lady, who had rebelled in her teens through not feeling understood or feeling that she fitted in or was good enough, had experienced an extremely traumatic path of drugs and alcohol, being raped and abused and spending 20 years in a struggle with life.
The price you pay for what starts as that thrill, I promise you, can be very high.
So, instead of resorting to alcohol or drugs in order to try the forbidden, to seem ‘hot’ or to rebel, to act out unhappiness or escape from it, or just repeat the patterns of adults around you, how about we address the underlying issue of why you would want to do this?
I can tell you as a fact that the ONLY reason people do ANYTHING that is harmful to them, unless they are too young to understand, is through a lack of self-worth.
Think about it - what person who is comfortable in their own skin and totally accepting and happy with who they are, would make a choice to harm themselves?
Even smoking - which might seem relatively detached from self worth - is still about putting over 4000 harmful chemicals into the body with each and every cigarette. And any one of those cigarettes could trigger lung cancer.
People start smoking for all the reasons they do - and then that brain chemical imbalance creates the primitive mind responses so that it’s then the ‘addictive’ habit it becomes.
That is not a reflection of high self-worth. It’s just the habit that we are tricked into thinking we need and enjoy.
High self-worth enables us to make positive choices for ourselves, whether that’s not to indulge in harmful behaviour in the first place or to quit an unhelpful habit, because it automatically puts us into a different part of the brain - the part I call our Palace Mind.
Our Palace Mind is just next door to our primitive mind in our own head. This part is an intellect and can think for itself and has a vast resource of all our answers and solutions, so even in the hardest times we can find ways forward or positive ways to cope. It is positive and rational and makes a sensible assessment of things. We naturally perform well and achieve and also produce feel good chemicals to feel brave and happy.
The good news is that you can learn how to feel high self-worth and live in this part of your brain so much more easily than you might imagine!
I encourage you to explore the other topics on this website and get my book (The No 1 Guide for Teenagers to be Happy) to really learn how you can ‘unlearn’ all that doesn’t serve you, discover and take back the power of your mind that you do have (but probably just don’t realise) and to feel really good about you - with lots of self-worth, self-respect, self-command and enjoying life!