(888) 277-4253

The love-hate relationship with alcohol

Why is alcohol so attractive?

Beyond being a hobby and intellectual interest for a rare few, it mainly allows us to express parts of ourselves that we would not otherwise be comfortable letting out. Charities figured this out a long time ago when they started offering free alcohol at their benefits to their well-to-do guests. A $100 bottle of Dom Perignon is a small investment if its affects encourage a wealthy donator to add an extra zero to the end of their contribution.

As Freud would describe it, alcohol gets rid of our superego - the part of us that acts as our conscience. Without this, money is easier to part with, otherwise unattractive people become supermodels, and frequent trips to the bathroom aren't prefaced with the thought, “gee, I wonder if they bleach in here at all?” Alcohol sometimes offers relief to people who are plagued by negative thoughts or fear social situations.

It's no wonder, then, that people who are ruled by a harsh conscience would find alcohol to be so attractive. Nobody will deny the social lubricating effect that alcohol has on an otherwise timid and shy person. But because it's so attractive, and because it's so easy to have too much of a good thing, alcohol is very easily abused. Add in some physiological side-effects and you have a horny drunken caveperson with little-to-no awareness of reality.

If you're in the company of other horny drunken cave people, you can rest assured that you won't be alone for long - especially if the lights are dim and the beer goggles have been passed out.

Besides not drinking at all, which isn't a realistic option for the majority of people out there, here are a couple things I would suggest to curb your excitement with the relationship you have with the bottle:

1. If you go out with friends who are willing to help you limit your drinking, make sure they don't leave you alone at the bar. If they do, find new friends.

2. If you go alone (or without friends who will inventory your drinking) take your ID and a limited amount of cash with you. Leave your credit and ATM cards at home. This is a good way to force yourself to stop drinking… unless other people start buying for you.

3. If you find that others are buying drinks for you and you can't or don't want to stop drinking, enjoy the ride. It might get bumpy, but you'll be too drunk to notice or care at that point.

When you sober up and realize that it might be time to put limits on your drinking, a therapist can help you with some behavioral techniques and may be able to help change your views of alcohol altogether if you're ready for it and is that's what you want.

Stephen Brewer, M.A. is a registered psychological assistant (PSB33858) in Mira Mesa and is supervised by Angela Spenser, PhD (PSY15450). He runs a LGBT and Kink friendly practice, specializing in addictions, trauma, HIV/AIDS, and men’s issues. He can be reached at 619.377.3120.