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Alcohol, Control, and Loneliness

By Dr. Margaret Paul
February 13, 2023

Alcohol is often a way to have control over feeling empty, alone, and lonely, as well as a way to have control over others.

addiction to alcoholAdele had been struggling with her alcoholism for years before consulting with me for help.

Adele is a very bright woman who devoted her life to raising her three sons. She thought that staying at home and raising her children would fulfill her, yet her drinking started a few years into motherhood. When her sons were gone from the house, it got even worse, which is why she finally decided to seek help.

Adele was a lost soul. Having devoted her life to taking care of others, she had no idea how to take care of herself. In fact, taking care of herself never occurred to her, because she had been taught that taking care of herself was selfish - that being a loving person meant taking care of others. Because Adele did nothing to take care of herself, she had a big black hole inside that constantly wanted filling. She believed that if only others would love her and have compassion for her, then the hole would get filled.

Many Forms of Controlling Behavior

Adele spent most of her time pulling on others to fill her black hole - with compliments, presents, money, as well as with anger, blame, and complaints. When she did not get the love, attention, and compassion she was seeking - which was most of the time because her husband and children had withdrawn from her neediness and demands - she then sought to fill the hole with alcohol. Alcohol became a way to have control over not feeling her own emptiness and loneliness, as well as a way to have control over others. She knew that her family hated it when she was drunk because she became very blaming and abusive. She used drinking as a way to punish them for not giving her what she wanted, as well as a way to try to get their compassion. She believed that if she was drunk enough and miserable enough and angry and blaming enough, they would finally see how unhappy she was and give her the love and compassion she was seeking. All it actually did was push everyone even further away from her.

Adele was a very lonely person. Being so disconnected from herself, she could not authentically connect with others, so the love she desired was always eluding her.

Adele's lifelong project had been to have control over getting love and avoiding pain, and alcohol was just one of the ways she had learned to attempt to have this control. However, the pain of her addiction was now outweighing the gain, and Adele became willing to open to learning.

It was not easy for Adele to give up her traditional ways of getting love and avoiding pain, but as she opened to her spiritual guidance and started practicing Inner Bonding, she started to discover how to bring love to herself - the love she so desperately needed. The more she took loving action on her own behalf, the more the hole within got filled, and the less she needed to fill it with alcohol and attention from others.

Aloneness and Loneliness

Peter started drinking heavily after his wife suddenly left him. Having no idea how to handle the loneliness that had been filled by his wife, as well as the feeling of inner aloneness resulting from his self-abandonment, he turned to what he knew to fill the emptiness. Peter had spent his life denying his feelings as a way to get through an abusive childhood, and alcohol was just another way to continue the denial.

However, when Peter's business started to suffer as a result of his drinking, he sought my help. Peter discovered that, while he believed in God, he had never brought the love that is God down to the level of feelings - his inner child. He took care of everyone else, but he never took care of his inner child. He would attempt to give others what they wanted in the hopes they would love him, but his caretaking rarely resulted in his feeling loved. "Giving to get" just resulted in his feeling worn out.

Peter was a fast learner. As he started to give himself the love and attention he was always giving to others and seeking from others, he found an inner joy and fullness that he had never before experienced. His desire to drink rapidly declined as he brought Inner Bonding into his life.

Alcohol, as with other addictions, is almost always a way to fill the emptiness, aloneness and loneliness that result when we are not taking loving care of ourselves and not connecting with a source of spiritual guidance to help us care for ourselves.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Image by Maria Saveleva from Pixabay


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