Alcohol plus low self-esteem equals more alcohol.

Dear Editor,
I am not sure how many souls that are submerged in the miserable sea of alcohol will resonate with the title/equation of this article, as countless are struggling to keep their sense of worth above the surface of water, while witnessing others sinking with alcohol lower and lower, going under forever.
It’s an exercise in futility for those who are consuming alcohol to assuage feelings of inferiority and poor self-worth, trying to excise from consciousness what consciousness cannot bear – negative feelings about self. Escaping from oftentimes unbearable feelings of purposelessness, of not being socially useful and enduring a meaningless existence with the aid of alcohol only provides temporary respite and a kind of pseudo-relief. Trying to suppress our reservoir of feelings of inadequacy with copious amounts of alcohol is like trying to erase your shadow instead of the thing that causes it.
Personally I have had my episodes of drunken escapades, drinking sprees and periods of sobriety and relapses. I have on countless occasions tried to articulate the reasons why I have imbibed and overindulged so many times over, the totality of which are too numerous to recall. And almost invariably what I have discovered about myself is that lingering somewhere on the border of the conscious and unconscious are feelings of not being good enough, of not being confident enough, of not making the cut. Negative feelings of being inadequate aided and abetted by the poisonous culture of comparison resulted in me internalising unhealthy impressions about myself.
And what worked therapeutically for me to assuage feelings of low self-esteem albeit temporarily with long-term unavoidable consequences was a high daily rate of alcohol consumption; in order to flee from my low sense of worth. I literally medicated myself with alcohol and sought refuge in the abundance of confidence which increases and flows in proportion to one’s alcoholic intake.
Where those feelings of low personal value came from I have tried to appreciate from the literature of psychoanalysis, as constantly being at a low about how you feel about yourself can have a debilitating effect on your morale and overall motivation to be productive participants in life. And I know there are communities of people who have had their spirits crushed because of how they have perceived their sense of worth in relation to others.
And as much as we seem helpless on occasions to keep comparing ourselves to others at bay, comparison nevertheless continues to be the weapon that fatalises our joy, taking with it any residue of any positive regard we may have had about ourselves. We then, unknown to ourselves and unaware, mistakenly try to eject from our person those images, feelings and thoughts of not being good enough in relation to others by drowning ourselves, going overboard with alcohol.
But somehow we continually fail to see or are fearful of seeing that the illusion and relief alcohol promises us is the beginning of a dangerous, self-destructive habit. A habit that perpetuates with never-ending days of misery and darkness.

Orlando Patterson

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