It is often said that one of the reasons for drinking and getting drunk is “to forget”. When one has pain, disappointment, bad memories or negative thoughts a person can seek alcohol to quench these thoughts, to drown out memories, feelings and emotions, to get around the pain. However, this function of alcohol can take an unexpected turn, which then becomes the dominant mechanism: you start drinking to forget, then continue and on other occasions “not to forget”. Not all people calm down by drinking, some instead light up, as alcohol has an euphoric and disinhibiting effect, before being sedative. Some people react to alcohol by getting agitated, talking more, thinking faster even if in a less connected and logical way, with a increased emotionality. This type of effect also includes an overturning of the relationship with bad memories, pain, disappointment and a sense of abandonment. Who gets drunk can feel strong again, have ideas or spirit to fight back, to bring back memories and deal with them. If we are dealing with disappointments, the sorrow can change and become a desire for revenge, or a feeling of being able to overcome disappointments by relaunching, without giving up the fight, but facing it again and with more conviction. In romantic relationships, in particular, those who have been left, or estranged, or mistreated, can find in alcohol a tool to emotionally forget the pain and instead project themselves towards a possible resumption of the relationship. We understand how the alcoholic effect is therefore not always constructive, because it can delay the detachment from unlivable situations, or a source of unhappiness. It can feed the illusion that something finite is instead recoverable, that moves of rapprochement, or declarations of love, contacts or demonstrative gestures can be successful, when the conditions are contrary.
Those who are disappointed have two ways: to detach themselves from the illusion that has collapsed, or to reproduce a new illusion, an illusion about the illusion. Although often the first way is the most logical and constructive, the second is the one that the brain prefers immediately, because it can “save” the illusion, and keep it as a lively and concrete push, a mission or a starting point. without which life would lose its meaning. Sometimes, even after some time, those who get drunk seek contacts with “ex”, with a mood that can easily oscillate between desire and love and irritation and resentment.
In other cases what the person seeks is not so much the illusion of a happiness that he has lost, but the strength to consume a revenge, a revenge. The disinhibiting effect of alcohol can make you feel superior, find cruel words, say what you think, and unload your hatred on those who hold themselves responsible for wrongdoing. If the wrong is a past wrong, what feeds on is the memory, as if it were useful to dig deep into the memory to deal once and for all with one’s ghosts.
Basically, by drinking and getting drunk, the contact with what has made us unhappy do not tend to close, rather they risk continuing for a long time to never resolve. Resolution often means going through a pain and processing it, alcohol comes into play with the promise of soothing the pain, but it ends up fueling the illusion, and then taking with that illusion a new dose of pain. When you think you can erase the thought of the wrongs suffered, alcohol comes into play with this function but ends up developing an attitude of defiance towards those who have done the wrong or towards the now buried past. The function of oblivion, which takes place immediately during drunkenness, and instead transitory for events that have now happened and memorized, and also to forget unpleasant speeches, unpleasant facts or thoughts that were made to account for a pain, means interrupting the process of “digesting” a pain. Indeed, sometimes it means reversing this process, and keeping alive “corpses” of relationships that have now ended or harmful, memories that instead of being fixed they return to be part of our present.
Although the person’s presentation is often that of drinking “to forget”, to not feel and to drive out depression, clinical reality says that over time the function often becomes that of producing a mood that is good enough or euphoric not to see the problems. , face them mentally with the impression of being able to defeat them, or get lost in endless struggles with past or irrelevant issues that continue to remain unresolved, precisely as a result of drinking.
Therapies for alcoholic abuse, especially that which begins with a phase of depressed or agitated mood, must therefore take into account this need to correct the excitatory function on thought and behavior, and on the other hand provide that, when one stops to drink, the unresolved issues will emerge and will have to be managed towards their resolution and archiving, avoiding an “illusory” way out.

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