"Addictions" or Coping Mechanisms

Addictions - Coping Mechanisms and Your Relationship to them.

We have many tools at our disposal to deal with our issues. We distract or numb ourselves utilizing, alcohol, buying 'things', drugs, exercise, food, gambling, sex, social media, or work for instance. It wouldn't be reasonable for us to forget, to stay strong. Any of the above methods can become "addictions", mechanisms for coping, and ruin your life if your relationship with them isn't healthy.

I had many unhealthy relationships in life, including alcohol, cars, clothes, money, partying, and status, to name a few, this started when I was young and became increasingly worse as the relationships I had with myself, others and life continued to disintegrate.

By the time I realized how bad things had gotten, I had little to no idea of how to change anything, I was running my life on autopilot, and had been for years.

My coping mechanisms, where I'd not looked at them in this way, had initially allowed me to seek pleasure and enjoy life, in reflection, they had always been unsustainable and caused more harm than good.

This lifestyle almost killed me at forty years of age, after years of pain and suffering.


There is one thing I know for certain, my relationship with alcohol was never healthy. Then I wasn't healthy when I started drinking it. Every time I drank the stuff, as a large percentage of us do, I loved it. Loving what it did for me, aiding me in changing how I felt. My feelings of being on the sideline would disappear, I'd allow myself to act in a way I might not normally act, the insecurities discarded, knowing I could always fall back on 'I was drunk'.


The problem with any coping strategy is, you continually need more of whatever addictions/mechanisms you are using as a crutch, to get the same result. Before you know it, you've had too much of it. In the longer term this becomes unsustainable, your health will suffer.


Discussing my situation with a friend at the rugby one afternoon. He asked if I minded him telling me. "He thinks part of the problem with me and alcohol in particular was my competitiveness, he remembers me playing rugby", there is truth in that statement. Drinking was the only pastime I had, If I was drinking so much, I wanted to be the best at it. Besides, in certain circles people admire how much alcohol you can tolerate.

In my early days of drinking, another issue to add to the list. I thoroughly enjoyed fitting in with my older friends, and the guys I played rugby with.



Realistically the only relationship I'd ever had was with alcohol, although in some cases my partner and I were together years. Unconscious thoughts about commitment and vulnerability, to being hurt aside. No romantic relationship was going to be healthy, with the amount of alcohol I was consuming. I make no excuses as to why I was drinking so much, it's what I chose to do, it allowed me to feel the way I wanted to feel. There was no room for any other relationship.

Not part of the plan.

Coping with life using alcohol, or any of the other coping mechanisms, means you will be neglecting your relationship with your partner. It's difficult to find someone that has not planned to spend quality time with you. For me, in the longer term, the amount of time I was spending with my friends drinking alcohol, wasn't part of their plan.

The irony.

Neither my partners nor I knew why I needed to consume so much alcohol or be in 'my pub'. It stands to reason they didn't understand my behavior and we split up.

Here's the irony, the relationship breaks down due to the amount you are drinking and neglecting to help maintain it. When this happens you get upset, drink more, and blame them.

You cannot, however, take responsibility for their behavior, they blame you for your relationship with alcohol, golf, cars, whatever, and attempt to control you, because you're not meeting their expectations, or fulfilling their needs.

A Levels.

One of my A Level teachers once called me disruptive, I'd been drinking before the lesson. This is what I was doing, going to the pub on a lunch time for a couple of beers. I couldn't cope with them, there was too much pressure.

Personalities and my reaction to people that I didn't respect, also became apparent at this time. The only subjects I enjoyed, or behaved in, were the ones where I respected the teacher.

Not understanding at that time, this behaviour, whatever my thoughts about the people I was dealing with. Could only be detrimental to my enjoyment of life.


Early in my career I was drinking heavily, I've already stated that. There were always several of us doing this and we had some great times. I was unaware of what was driving me to drink so much at this point, it helped me feel good. The fact that, this sort of behaviour is instinctual, was something I was completely unaware of.

Finding myself in a situation where I was being indirectly and underhandedly told what to do, how to behave, was something that I wouldn't accept. My argument being, I'm in my early twenties and I'm not doing anything my mates aren't doing. Realistically there was no way, I was going to stop behaving in this way, assuming it was possible, because I was being told to do so.

Into their hands.

For me to win my battle and the war, regardless of whether anyone else thought they were fighting one. My tactics were totally wrong. We don't live in a world of what could have been, although I used to. I will never know if I'd have accepted and dealt with the loss of my grandfather, resolving that issue earlier in life.

Something I do know is, I didn't give myself the opportunity. Depriving myself of the required time. By fighting, remaining angry, believing I was right, and others were wrong. Continuing along the destructive path I was on, I unwittingly played into the hands of the people I was attempting to defeat; I'd lost before it had really begun. Any argument could be manoeuvred around to, but he is drinking too much.

There is the vicious circle. The more you drink and or fight, the more weight the response gains. If you aren't assertive in these situations, which I wasn't. You won't have an argument and it will become a disaster. The situation will become one you can't win.

Being in a situation such as this, you don't want to provide anyone with ammunition.

It won't work.

Speaking to people that have experienced issues in the workplace and dealing with them using alcohol. Or not dealing with them at all, attempting to ignore them. The situation gets worse, it had gotten to the point where dealing with issues had become extremely difficult. They had become unwell themselves and saw no way of resolving the situation. Eventually the only way out, seemed to be, to get out.


I'm comfortable saying now, after spending time earlier on in my recovery, analysing the situation in order to make decisions ongoing. There is also no emotion attached to this statement. If it hadn’t been the alcohol, it would have been something else. The behaviours displayed by individuals involved in the situation, allows me to confident in thinking this.

The difference would have been. I'd have been looking at the situation from a different perspective, with clarity and understanding. Potentially I could have made different choices.

It's been said, hindsight is a wonderful thing, at that time, I was drinking and I didn't make different choices.

Before you know it.

Live like this long enough, you won't know how to live any other way. Your life will be centred around your addictions, your life run by your habit. You will believe all your own excuses, I'm only drinking because of my situation, I love the taste, and my personal favourite, I don't hide how much I'm drinking.

We know when we are drinking too much and we very likely know why. It's difficult to admit and none of us want to, I couldn't admit I had a problem with alcohol. The biggest reason being, if I'd admitted it, I would have had to something about it. Another reason I think I didn't want to admit it; I was happy being drunk and miserable.

What I also understood though, by not admitting it. I wouldn't have to attempt to do something about it, possibly fail and look foolish in front of many people.

Some people will applaud you if you do try, at cutting back even, others won't whatever you do. The important thing to remember, the people that don't applaud and support you don't matter; achieve it and you'll never look back.

Importantly, this is about you first, and then the people that really do matter. I was very fortunate in this regard, I guarantee you will find out who these people are.


Eventually we don't know if you are coming or going, it becomes extremely difficult to think and function. Making decisions becomes difficult, for me, this likely being down to my mental health issues and lack of sleep, along with the alcohol, the alcohol compounding the other issues. The beauty of the human body it's forgiving. It can recover, if given the opportunity. Where it may not be perfect, there is every possibility you can lead a healthy and enjoyable life when you've stopped consuming.


Since the day I stopped my consumption of alcohol, it's not bothered me if someone wants to assign a label to me. As it unfortunately is with a large percentage of people, it's gone way past any label, if I drink, I will die. Initially it wasn't like that, when I was attempting to be discharged from the hospital, I would say to my friends, when I get out of here we can go for a celebratory drink. It was what was natural to me, this is what I did. They attempted to convince me I could never drink again; I still didn't get it.

I'm quite comfortable with the situation now and have been for years, I also find socialising more of a stimulating experience these days, along with life in general.

Addictions are Seriously Damaging.

Alcohol and your relationship with it, is particularly close to my heart. Something I've learned the hard way is, if you are coping with life using alcohol, it can put you in an early grave. To begin with, you won't attain a healthy level of sleep and you are highly likely not to eat properly, those two things alone can kill you. Adding a substance that in large quantities (although it could be what you choose to drink, not necessarily the quantity) has lots of negative impact on your body and you are heading in the wrong direction.

I didn't play hunt the bottle first thing in the morning, although I regularly stayed up late at night drinking. If I didn't get a drink by lunchtime the following day, my body would start complaining. When I didn't get one by early evening it would be screaming.

It was mentioned at the office one day, I seemed to be eating large amounts of chocolate, could I be diabetic? Chocolate made me feel more at ease with my body.


If you are using alcohol to suppress feelings and emotions, it is not going to be good for your health. If you have feelings of anger, depression or you are stressed and you are suppressing these issues in any way, speak to someone that can help you.

Addictions and  crutches can't suppress these feelings forever; they will come back and bite you. It's better to deal with them sooner, however tough it is, it'll be easier in the longer term and you will inevitably be happier.


Repression and Suppression can be sometimes be confused with each other. Where they are both defence mechanisms, we use to deal with unwanted thoughts. With repression, we push the unwanted thoughts out of our awareness, unconsciously.

Suppression is different, we consciously attempt to force the unwanted feelings and thoughts out of our awareness. We are purposely trying to forget, focusing on anything, not to think about the painful, unwanted thoughts.

Neither works, from experience, I'm confident saying this.

Modifying behavior.

If you genuinely believe you don't have any issues with alcohol, but realise you are consuming too much, cut back on your consumption. Mix your drinking habit up with another habit, if you don't have another one, make a new one.

After my first visit to the hospital, I thought I could control my consumption, I couldn't. Within no time of walking back into the environment that I found impossible to deal with and beginning to drink again, I was consuming weaker lager, but more of it.

Stopping consumption.

I've spoken to and know, several people that have successfully and completely stopped their consumption of alcohol. A few of them attending AA meetings, this has seemingly been a prudent method of quitting.

However, I've also spoken to other people, that didn't get on with AA, and were finding it difficult to completely stop, or cut down even. I myself didn't like the idea of attending meetings and talking openly about my consumption. Where I never hid the facts of my situation, I chose who, I spoke to about it. I decided what I wanted to achieve and dealt with the issue myself.

Talk to me about it, let us at the very least, discuss the addiction, if you believe there is one. If I'm honest, alcohol, was something I wasn't going to deal with, the main reason being, you must be serious about stopping. I understand the situation totally, it's tough to quit.

This is something I simply couldn't do, I must help people, with the knowledge I've gained on the subject.

Be sure to consult your doctor, before making any rash decisions about alcohol.


Studies have shown, that when we are experiencing emotional pain, the same areas of our brain are activated, as when we experience physical pain. The feelings we have, share much of the circuitary in our system.

We are all likely to have experienced some trauma, at some point in our lives, this could have been, the loss of a loved one for instance. Some of us might have suffered consistently and others to a lesser degree, either, being extremely painful.

The impact trauma can have on our lives can be immeasurable, as I imagine, anyone reading this is fully aware. We have a tendency, not to be with our pain, instead escaping from it. This can have a profound impact on our mental health and our behaviour.

Addictions are much more than mechanisms for leisure, they are forms of escape. Eckart Tolle says "Addictions begin with pain and end with pain" - from experience this is true.

I began to drink alcohol for the reasons I have already stated, one of the biggest reasons to continue drinking it in such quantities being, the anger, guilt, the pain, I was living with.


Recently, I was again discussing my situation with one of my consultant doctors. I was explaining, how I have a desire to help people deal with the underlying issues they are likely experiencing in their lives. Of course, this can include addictions to alcohol, but people also use other methods of not resolving the pain they are experiencing.

We discussed, how I'd realised early, I'd have to reflect on my own life, deal with my anger and pain, resolving my own issues. Allowing me to break my addiction, and become a happy functioning person, who wouldn't fall back on what was obviously a crutch for many years.

The most difficult thing to confront, was the pain itself. The fact that I was indeed suffering from anything other than, extreme alcohol abuse and the current issues I was experiencing, what had been happening in the business and it's knock on effects.

Then follows the understanding, why we invest so much time, in looking the other way, distracting ourselves. Focusing on anything but the trauma, stimulating ourselves, so we can forget, albeit for a short period of time.

Discussing the issues, you are experiencing, brings them to the attention of the conscious mind, they can then be dealt with in a controlled manner. Doing this with someone that has experienced addictions, not simply alcohol, I also enjoyed 'over buying' and 'overindulging' in general, which on many occasions, has simply been put down to my 'addictive personality'.

There is a distinct lack of understanding when people witness certain behaviours, it's far easier for people to put us in that box. Talking about and confronting our demons, in a compassionate environment, helps us to maintain our healing.

Allow me to help you deal with the issues, that are causing you pain, or holding you back in your life. Call today :- 07494677126

'My pub', gave me a sense of belonging.

Be the best version of yourself. I hope this site inspires you to make a change.

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