Alcoholism, Addiction, and the Double Life

“What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious; as the case may be still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame he becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?

Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony? Our self-centered-ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. – pg. 61 How It Works, from the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Often times even after receiving alcohol addiction help and getting sober the alcoholic likes to enjoy a double life like an actor in a play and gets upset when things go awry. Little do we know that our lack of success in this area has little to do with how we manage things but instead is a result of trying to take our will back, and enjoy “stirring things up” without wanting to deal with the consequences. We are often oblivious to this reality and are under the delusion that if only everyone else played along everything would be okay. When we enter into a drug addiction detox, AA, or 30 day rehab program we learn how to become a team player, and live an altruistic lifestyle. At this point we can finally see that it’s not all about us but rather about the fact that we are all bonded through this disease that has stripped everything from us and in turn share a common solution. Recovery is much bigger than us and our desires. It is a freedom from the bondage of self and our only role in this play is to be of service and help others recover from alcoholism.

Let’s Talk About Sex… And Alcohol

Though people often classify alcohol as an aphrodisiac, the truth couldn’t be further off. A drinker’s loss of inhibition does not necessarily ensure an enhanced sexual encounter. In fact, alcohol actually works to reduce physical arousal, while negatively impacting sexual function in both sexes.

Men and Alcohol

The negative effects of alcohol on human sexuality typically depend on gender alongside frequency and level of consumption. Studies on the topic have found the most common effect on the intoxicated male to be a reduced erection size. As a matter of fact, regular binge drinking may ultimately heighten the risk of serious dysfunction down the road. Additional and common side effects of extreme alcohol intake include difficulty reaching orgasm and diminished libido. Chronic alcohol intake also raises the risk for imbalances in natural hormones. Testosterone production is decreased while severely inhibiting the metabolism of estrogen. As such, many alcoholics will begin noticing signs of “feminization”, including thinning body hair, larger breasts, sterility and testicular atrophy.

Women and Alcohol

The most common alcohol-based sexual side effects in women include a diminished sense of sexual enjoyment and climax. In addition, chronic abuse can cause major harm to the reproductive system, with a heightened risk of ovarian cancer. Early menopause and menstrual irregularities are often seen in women who abuse alcohol on a regular basis. Women who choose to drink while pregnant place their child at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome, alongside a slew of potential development problems. Chronic abuse will eventually lessen the chances of pregnancy on the road to infertility.

Additional Effects

Studies performed on both males and females have found that frequent and excessive alcohol intake may serve in diminishing sexual desire, even when alcohol is not present. Self esteem issues and weight gain may also play a part in reduced sexual confidence. This combination of problems makes it harder for people to find and maintain meaningful, long-lasting relationships. Sexual experiences involving alcohol are much more likely to conclude in unsafe sexual practices, leading to potential embarrassment, the spread of STDs, or an unwanted pregnancy.

While a drink or two may help boost the confidence of a shy individual embarking on a first date, it should be noted that this practice is not beneficial long-term. Getting to know another person sound like a scary idea, but by using alcohol as a crutch to remove the natural anxiety, the event will become dull, wasteful, and expensive. A missed opportunity, if you will.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol addiction, our LA drug rehab counselors are available to help. Give us a call today, and let us help you back on track towards the happy, healthy lifestyle you deserve.