The Case of The Sensitive Alcoholic/and or Addict

Written by DeShawn McQueen on Monday, 26 November 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News

The Sensitive Alcoholic

It sort of sounds like an episode of the television program House, M.D., and in many ways it feels that way…….a struggle to remedy a mysterious, inexplicable disorder.

For many alcoholics and addicts, they went on for years, even decades, untreated, with symptoms of what we now know to be alcoholism and addiction.

The challenge occurs in sobriety when the alcoholic and addict recognizes that many of the symptoms of active alcoholism and drug addiction continue to exist, plaguing him with pain, frustration, and consistent incidents miscommunication.

One particular symptom that continues to plague me and many of my alcoholic and addict compatriots is sensitivity, or shall I say over-sensitivity to people, places and things.

As I develop more sobriety time, by not drinking alcohol and consuming prescription pills I recognize how much unnecessary pain and frustration I suffer due to my disproportionate reaction to people, places and things.

That’s right, “disproportionate”….. For the first time in my life, I realize that the problem lies with me, not with the other person. There is something so wrong with me that I am unable to co-exist in a world with others without resulting to seething anger, impatience, sadness, and so on due to people, places and things.

On any given day, I am overwhelmed by what I perceive to be “too much” noise in a room, music that is “too loud”, or “too many” people around me.

I always spot what is wrong with anything or anyone, and often, I imagine that I can recognize the negative tone in an e-mail or text message…..!

By default, I take everything people do personal, whether it is the cashier who places my money on the counter instead of in my hand.

That happened recently, and I walked thinking about it for more than three hours, ruminating and ruminating….wondering why “she thought I was not good enough to put my money in my hand.” That is not normal behavior.

This is what I refer to oversensitivity. For the alcoholic and addict, it is like a form of kryptonite that zaps so much energy from us and takes up so much of space in our head, occupies our thoughts and robs of so much joy.

Despite the fact that I am a grateful recovering addict/alcoholic, with more than three years between me and prescription pills/and alcohol, I continue to be plagued with oversensitivity.

It is a character defect that I spend so much time on.

On a daily basis, I use steps six, seven, ten and eleven of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous just to put a dent into the exterior of my oversensitivity.

I am learning to “act as if” as my sponsor says….to ignore my disproportionate reactions, to pause and to not say what is on my mind. It’s working.

I look forward to day when I can laugh at my oversensitivity, or dare I say it, “not recognize it.”


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Photo Courtesy of: onbeing.org

About the Author

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen is a staff writer at Recovery Now Newspaper and Recoverynowtv.com, an informative newspaper that serves as a resource for persons of all stages of drug and alcohol treatment, by giving them access to relevant and necessary information so that they may live balanced and substance-free lifestyles. DeShawn graduated from Wayne State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and premedical sciences. He holds a Juris Doctors degree in law from Valparaiso University School of Law. DeShawn’s writing and research has been published in such academic journals as Behavioral Pharmacology and Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior among others. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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