Thursday, January 5, 2012
Alcoholism, Crazy Hot Sex, and Dopamine
The first month was the worst. I would go to AA meetings and sit there crying. I got all sorts of phone numbers that I knew I'd never call, but it was nice to know other people felt as crappy as I did. Misery + company, you know the cliche.
One of the big problems was redefining my life. Everything I did involved a glass of wine or a gin and tonic, margarita (on the rocks, no salt), so co, or whatever. Writing was the hardest of all. Under the influence of glass after glass of wine I was crazy prolific. The buzz loosened me up, made me less inhibited (I'm super uptight, I'm sure you've heard the coal/diamonds adage). My writing was really messy with a lot of repeated words, but it flowed. Stopping drinking stopped my writing. Cold.
Now I had lost two things I loved. I had my month long pity party, got my chip, then never went back to AA. I think what had changed was that I was identifying myself as an alcoholic and not a writer.
I actually wrote Mind, Body, and Spirit as a challenge to myself. To see if I could write sober. More specifically, to see if I could write sex scenes sober (I've mentioned I'm uptight, right?). Good news = I'm still a writer. The writing flowed. I knew the characters and where I wanted the story to go and it went there. The sexual content was super hot and I wrote unabashedly. I felt awesome. Successful. I was proud of my work again.
I have since learned that part of the difficulty in giving up something like drinking is that we view the drink as an award. It comes with a chemical high from our bodies, not counting whatever the alcohol itself provides. That little burst of dopamine that comes with sipping that glass of old vine zin is our brain's version of a kudos. Same happens with infatuation - just thinking of that special someone makes you slightly buzzed. Some people are addicted to new relationships, always chasing that infatuation high. I was/am addicted to alcohol. I love that I also get that happy-buzz from writing. Addiction to writing - I think I can handle that.
I still struggle, but it's the specific beverages I miss more than the getting my drink on. I also miss the camaraderie that comes with drinking. In regard to World of Warcraft, my dps has improved substantially but Vent is much less interesting when I'm sober. :)