I once tried pickled onions as a way to help me control drinking!
Spicy, Salty, Exciting!
I haven’t asked around to see if anyone has the same tastes as I do, but I have a ‘thing’ for sauerkraut, Kalamata olives (pitted!), Dolmades (also known as stuffed grape vine leaves) and Tabasco sauce and such things spicy, salty and exciting! It’s a bit of a recent thing – I haven’t always indulged in all these things, so perhaps it’s my age, or diet. Who knows!
Pickled onions aren’t normally something I seek out, but I saw them on the shelves in the supermarket last time I was buying olives (big bottle!) and decided I needed some! I did enjoy them, but they were a bit sweet for my taste – I’ll look for some ‘bitier’ ones next time!
Dipping into the pickled onions at home (yes, I do double dip, because no-one else in the house shares my tastes in these things!) it reminded me of many years ago, when I started eating pickled onions in an attempt to control my drinking.
Tony and I were living in Atlanta, Georgia on a two year assignment from Australia with Tony’s work. It was before we had children, it was a huge adventure and we had an absolute ball. Happy times.
However, it was also a time when I remember drinking quite a lot. I can’t remember the week days, but I know I’d drink pretty much an entire bottle of Champagne on a Friday night (with home made pizza – it was amazing). Evidently, I was drinking a lot of other drinks during the week as well, as I remember trying all sorts of things to have, instead of a drink.
I always got to work on time and I don’t especially remember hangovers, so perhaps my level of drinking wasn’t so bad back then as it got in more recent times (where my prevailing memory is of burning eyes, throbbing head and extreme guilt that I was taking my young children to school in this condition…)
An Alternative Buzz
But, for whatever reason, I was trying pickled onions in an attempt to not drink that particular day. My reasoning was something like this. I liked the tang and burn of the wine, so perhaps the tang and burn of the pickled onions would satisfy me and I wouldn’t need the wine. Unfortunately, the pickled onions didn’t give any, how shall I say, after effect. I got the burn, but not the buzz.
When I first left home and starting cooking for myself and my housemates, I tried a vegetarian lasagne with brown lentils. I was bitterly disappointed. It tasted nothing like meat. I thought it was going to taste like meat. I have no idea why I would think lentils would taste like meat, but I had that expectation. My housemates were very appreciative, telling me it was great, which was lovely. I married one of them!
Expectations are a bit like that – they can let you down. Especially if they are unrealistic. Because the need for a drink goes hand in hand with an expectation. An expectation that the first few mouthfuls will not only taste comfortingly familiar, but they’ll be followed with the fuzzy buzz that travels through out body and triggers our relaxation or stress release. Pickled onions are pretty good, but they fall far short of expectations, when the expectations are of a chemically induced dopamine hit.
I am proud of myself for trying, but I knew so little about the human brain back then. I had no idea that sheer willpower or distraction were near impossible ways to control alcohol addiction.
It took me many, many more years, and many, many more attempts, but I finally discovered the keys to extracting myself from the miserable cycle of try – fail – feel bad.
The Keys to Escaping the Vicious Cycle of Drinking
The keys turned out to be:
- Alcohol is a poison. It is a carcinogen. Looking for a way to make it an acceptable substance to put into our body is lunacy! (I do not, however, judge people who choose to drink, even knowing this. Each to their own. Own body – own choice! Keeping alcohol out of my body is my personal choice, now.)
- Our human brain responds to the alcohol in such a way that it makes our body crave more alcohol – usually around 24hrs after the previous application of alcohol, because that’s the length of time the alcohol ‘hit’ lasts. A heroin hit lasts around 4 to 5 hours.
- In addition, chemical body cravings aside, we have our human habitual behaviours – ‘it’s 5 o’clock somewhere’! I now habitually look forward to my bubbly water (mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime) around 5pm each day, and get just as much enjoyment out of it as I thought I did wine.
- Some of us cling to the brain-dulling effects of alcohol to soothe our inner emotions. Be they anxiety, stress, or some other troublesome feeling, they will never be healthily treated with alcohol. Nor will any soothing effect be long lasting. The only solution to inner emotional issues is to address our mindset and inner programming. I have continued down the path of learning about mindset and exchanging unhelpful behaviours for more desirable behaviours to become a mindset specialist. We can become the person of our dreams! You are warmly invited to connect with me via www.sonyamatthews.com .
Help to Stop Drinking
Tony and I have poured our hearts and learnings into this neat online course:
And you can try it out for only $1 for the first month!