Last night I had a dream about alcohol. Not unusual. In the dream my husband offered me a sip of his alcoholic drink. I was so pissed at him. I said, “you think I’m going to throw away eight months of sobriety for a sip of a root beer flavored booze, if I want to taste root beer, I’ll just have a fucking root beer.”
When I told my husband about the dream he said he didn’t really understand why having a sip of alcohol would be throwing away my sobriety. My husband is one of those unusual people who can easily have one or two beers on occasion and never have the desire for more.
If I had a sip of alcohol it would not send me into a downward spiral of drunkenness, but I would no longer consider myself alcohol free. I would have to start over
Thing is, I have no desire. I see booze for what it is because I no longer romanticize it and attach stories to it. Alcohol is a sedative. The reason you feel buzzy and more sociable is because the alcohol is sedating a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex helps control our impulses and behavior. Keep drinking and it will sedate other parts of your brain affecting your motor control. Eventually, as you begin to feel tired, your ability to stay conscious is diminishing. You are not really falling asleep, your passing out.
Some people believe they sleep better after a few drinks. The truth is you are not entering naturally into sleep, it is more like a form of anesthesia. In the book Why We Sleep Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Mathew Walker, PHD, it states, “alcohol fragments sleep, littering the night with brief awakenings. Alcohol is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM sleep that we know of, it’s rather like the cerebral version of cardiac arrest preventing the pulsating beat of brainwaves that otherwise power dream sleep.”
I always felt tired when I was drinking. Alcohol not only negatively affects your sleep, it also dehydrates you. An energy sucking combo. Whenever I drank, I would always wake up around 2:00 a.m. feeling wide awake and thirsty. Sometimes I would even dream of big pitchers of cool aid. I still keep a glass of water by my bed, but it is rarely touched by morning.
Now that I am fully aware of what alcohol does to my brain, not to mention the rest of the body, I just don’t feel the same about it. We need to wake up as a society and acknowledge that alcohol is a harmful drug that has harmful effects on our bodies and brain.