This week’s HTYH is the continuation of a medical doctor’s story: At the point of orgasm the male brain becomes flooded with beta-endorphins–natural morphine.We see this phenomenon in motion pictures where after having sex the man is laying in bed smoking a cigarette and he’s all goggle-eyed. Smoking also increases dopamine flow and at that point of ecstasy he doesn’t care if the sun raises, sets, or is going sideways.

When you’re a 12-year old boy and you’ve just found a new pull toy and you don’t understand anything other than it feels good and you go to church and hear the preacher say it’s a mortal sin and that if you don’t stop doing that you’re going to hell—it’s confusing. I adore the church, but I was hearing about conditional love, we love you if you do this but we don’t love you if you sin and etc. This is not what made me an alcoholic, it confounded me, but what made me an alcoholic is that I’m bodily and mentally different than normal drinkers. The 1990s became known as the decade of the brain and through better paradigms and methodologies most of the smoke, mirrors and magic have been removed from the malady of alcoholism. Alcoholics are playing the game of life with one hand tied behind them—we have literally brought a knife to a gunfight. Researchers have discovered that alcoholics are born deficient in important brain chemicals and they are restless, irritable and discontented from birth.

Much of this was prophesized in the greatest textbook ever written on alcoholism entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous,” that was published by Bill Wilson in 1939. Wilson said, “A self-imposed crisis is what makes us drink alcohol and we can either postpone, or evade it, but if we drink any alcohol whatsoever, we might as well ship our butt somewhere else because our brain is going to the devil”–that’s just the way it is. That young alcoholics drink differently than old alcoholics and that women are more adversely affected by alcohol than men, was written in the chapter “More About Alcoholism,” 70 years before medical science ever suspected it—and now we know why, it’s called genetics, our chromosomes and genetics cause us to be deficient in feel-good brain compounds. That’s what makes me an alcoholic—I am bodily and genetically different than normal people. The Big Book called alcoholism an allergy because alcoholics have an abnormal reaction to alcohol and that’s a good diagnosis but now, through medical research we know why.

Some of my alcoholic patients swear that there’s no alcoholism in their family and my first question is: “Did your mother ever take a trip longer than two weeks after she married your daddy,” if we look long enough in the attic we will find an alcoholic among our ancestors no matter what we think.

Conditional love and trying to be perfect and trying to deal with all of the things that stem from “people pleasing” and “perfectionism” are also a problem and if they’re not dealt with-we return to alcohol. We drink for the effect and when we drink alcohol our brain chemicals flow-they exceed normal levels and we feel wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to feel wonderful? If we don’t use alcohol, we get confused and cannot deal with our feelings of inadequacy. When new people show up at our AA meetings, after a terrible butt whipping, it’s our responsibility to tell them that there’s another way of life and if they don’t want the whipping to continue they don’t ever have to drink alcohol again. There’s another way of living, it’s called the fourth dimension, the Big Book says so, and I’ve lived it.

John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer