Have you ever heard someone say “they’re going to drive me to drink!”? Maybe you have said it yourself. In times of stress, it’s pretty common from someone to think that a person, place, thing, or institution is pressing our buttons. There certainly are occasions in all our lives when we have real, legitimate gripes. When we are annoyed or frustrated though, can our conditions and problems, or any outside influences, really lead to a drink?
Normal Drinking Vs Alcoholism
For normal, temperate drinkers, the thought of having a drink after a stressful day of work isn’t a big deal. It’s a way to relax. For alcoholics, the thought of a drink can be a death sentence in disguise. This is a stumbling block that alcoholics face: there is no safe drink. There cannot be just one drink to unwind. One drink for an alcoholic always turns into many, and the cycle begins again.
Normal drinkers can have that one drink without complication. They don’t get a compulsion for liquor. Conditions may “drive them to drink,” but for them it is a mechanism to de-stress and relax. In this sense, a normal drinker really isn’t driven to drink at all. They have the option to take or leave it. An alcoholic who feels they have to drink because of people, places, things, or institutions is really only kidding themselves. They are drinking because they have a compulsion to drink, so any excuse is a good one.
Conditions Can’t Drive anyone to Drink
Why can’t conditions drive you to drink? It is pretty simple. I’d make the argument that if all people drank because life was difficult, the entire planet would become alcohol addicted. Even normal drinkers would develop tolerance and start to drink more and more. People around the world would be drinking because of intolerable conditions everywhere on a regular basis.
If this was the case, no one would be able to stay sober at all. There would be no recovery from alcohol dependence. People wouldn’t bother with treatment centers, the medical field wouldn’t invest millions a year, and governments wouldn’t fund programs from treatment, and so on.
Clearly, millions of former alcoholics around the world have gotten sober, lived sober, and many have stayed that way up to their deaths. If conditions drove them to drink, anytime there was a family death, a court proceeding, a divorce, or even an issue with the family dog, alcoholics would be drinking. Heck, it wouldn’t even take a major even to drive an alcoholic to drink, too. If you have ever lived with someone with a serious drinking problem or interacted with them, you know that any reason for a drink is a good one – at least in their eyes.
If someone claims that you’re going to drive them to drink (maybe your spouse or parents), you can kindly tell them that it just isn’t possible. The only thing that can drive you to drink is your own desire to do so and you don’t have to drink even if you want to.