More times than I can count this week, I've heard the same refrain: "at least I can drown away my sorrows."
I used to clutch to this belief. Whether it was a bad break-up or being passed over for a promotion at work, I counted my blessings that at least I could rely on alcohol to feel better.
What I failed to realize at the time was that drowning my sorrows had a profound impact on my ability to withstand any disappointment.
With time, I became practiced at turning to a cocktail whenever I felt down. On the flip side, I noticed that I felt this way with greater and greater frequency.
Here's what was going on: every time I poured a drink to forget how I was feeling, my ability to see myself through any emotion atrophied. I became less and less resilient in the face of my negative emotions. Not only that, but as this part of me grew weaker, smaller disappointments felt more and more intolerable.
Does this mean that anytime you crack open a bottle of wine in order to drown your sorrows that you're doing something wrong? Certainly not.
But for people like me who learn to use alcohol as a crutch in the face of negative emotions, pouring a drink to cope with how you feel can have a tremendous unexpected downside: it chips away at your confidence that you can see yourself through whatever is thrown your way.
It turned out that I was drowning my sorrows, I was dismantling my faith in myself.