On a brief relaxation of lockdown in Delhi, what do we find? A long, ill-organised queue of alcohol seekers. Mind you, these are not people from the middle or upper class but most of them come from lower-middle or labor class. What does it show about human nature? Why would they be spending their hard-earned scarce money on alcohol instead of a necessity? What does alcohol represent to them? Why are they drinking?
The obvious answer is that they are drinking out of depression.
When a person does not face the painful reality head-on, there are two outlets. Either to express the anger that is called aggression. Or direct the anger towards yourself that is called depression. Either aggression or depression, both are unhealthy ways of coping with hard reality. Since they can’t face reality because it is so painful, they want to escape from it in the fake celebration by drinking which is really the depression.
What will be the healthy way to deal with hard reality?
The first thing we have to understand about human nature is this. We deal with the hard reality only when we have deep inner resources that give us the confidence that in a fight against difficult reality, we will eventually win. By contrast, if we feel deep down that we can’t win, we will not even fight. So those people who run away from facing the hard reality, they do so for good reason. The good reason is emotional self-protection. But when we do not face the reality, we feel powerlessness and helplessness in the situation. That is what brings out depression. Then to beat that feeling of depression, we resort to drinks or drugs that mitigate our pain. But there is a problem with this solution. Drinks or drugs can make us forget the real cause of our depression but the real cause doesn’t go away. The reality is to be faced if we want to address the root cause of our depression.
Then what are the effective ways to deal with painful reality?
What are the effective ways to deal with harsh reality?
One of the effective ways is-
DIVIDE AND RULE.
By ‘divide and rule’ I mean that divide your problems into various parts. Once the problems are divided into various parts, then you can pick up a manageable part of the problem and devise an action plan. Take your problem part by part and give yourself some time to solve the problem. Achieve small victory every day. And give yourself some incentive/ reward for achieving a small victory. For example- if you drink five pegs a day, reduce it to three and since it is a small victory, celebrate it with enjoying it with three pegs without regret or remorse. Next week, reduce it to two and enjoy two pegs without regret or remorse. Thus, in a month’s period you will reduce your excessive drinking to moderate drinking. The problem comes when you drink uncontrollably and then regret and get angry at your own weakness. Don’t do that. Accept gently the way you are and self-acceptance will increase your ability to deal with harsh reality more effectively.
But there is another dimension to the root cause of our drinking and depression. The root cause was some harsh reality. You have to work on improving the reality of reality. Suppose you are not earning enough and that is causing problems. Think long and hard what steps you can take to earn more. What skills or knowledge you need to get a higher-earning job/ work. Work on that area long and hard and gain some small victory there, day by day. Suppose you are making X amount, don’t think of 5X or 10X immediately. Think of adding 10% or 20% more say within the next three months. And once you achieve those little victories, celebrate it with drinks.
The journey from depression to celebration passes through four steps. They are:-
In simple words, LEAD. The difference between a winner and a loser is this-
A winner drinks after learning, earning, achieving. A loser drinks without learning, earning and achieving. Be a winner and celebrate life.