The normal drinker must wonder – “What the fuck makes alcoholics drink like they do? Why can’t they just put a cork in it and call it an event?”
Here’s an analogy that might help.
**Imagine you have an enormous mosquito bite on your left forearm. Do you remember how maddening itchy mosquito bites can be? They can itch so intensely you can’t focus on anything else. Okay, now multiply the intensity of that itch by 100. Is that not the most offensive idea you’ve read all day? Would you agree that an itch that powerful might make focusing on anything else a ridiculous challenge? Would you agree that alleviating that itch might be somewhat of a priority?
Your first, automatic response is to scratch it, right? That’s obvious. The problem with a mosquito bite is that although the initial scratch usually feels really good, the itch comes back. Scratching only exacerbates the itch. You might get creative and slap it, pinch it, put cream or ice on it, or even snap it with a rubber band, but eventually you learn that you simply have to suffer through the itch, and try to ignore it because nothing really works at alleviating it.
To add insult to injury, what if the bite never healed and couldn’t be removed? What if it was permanent? How challenging might it be to find creative ways to manage your suffering itch every time it flared up?
What if every time you scratched it it made the bite bigger, and it made you a little bit crazy? What if you had a Dr. look at your bite and the Dr. told you, “If you want to maintain your sanity, if you want to live – you must never ever scratch your itchy bite again regardless how badly it itches. You shouldn’t even look at the damn thing.”
The itch from your bite can be compared, fractionally, to the ravenous compulsion or thirst an alcoholic feels to drink. Let this information marinate for a minute.
Our addiction – born of habitual drinking over an extended period of time – is our bite. Our compulsion to drink or thirst for alcohol is the itch. The itch doesn’t rest in some small space like our forearm or big toe, it fills our entire bodies and minds. Drinking is our way of scratching. Our bite never goes away and the itch, that we aren’t supposed to scratch, can be consuming. Drinking relieves us, temporarily, of our itch. And like scratching a mosquito bite, the more we drink or scratch, the more our bite itches.
The enormous internal struggle that takes place inside the addict once the bite starts to itch is nothing short of a fucking drag.