Drinking away disappointment

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.

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.

I became less and less resilient in the face of negative emotions.

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.