I feel sick. Therefore, I want a drink.

I’ve had a mild cold all week, a sort of achy, exhausting weight that follows me around and occasionally gives me a splitting headache. Everyone else I know has it too, and I am sure it’s just a matter of time before we all feel better.

In the meantime, it makes me want to drink. What a great illustration of how unpredictable (and stupid!) drinking triggers can be.

There is nothing logical about wanting a drink when I am sick. Drinking will not help my cold heal faster (in fact, because alcohol impairs immune function, it presumably could have the opposite effect). Even more obviously, alcohol is hardly the key to feeling less tired or prone to headaches!

But anything that makes me feel stressed (emotionally, mentally, or physically) is a drinking trigger for me. This may be a matter of habit, because I’ve followed the “I feel stressed, I need a drink” train of thought so many times. Or it may be a result of long-term alcohol abuse effecting subtle changes to my brain, so that any negative feeling prompts substance cravings. Mulling over the cause/effect relationships is a decent, though temporary, distraction, but I don’t really know the answer.

What I do know is that I have little control over whether I get the latest cold or flu that sweeps through town, and when I do, I will probably find myself wanting a drink. And hopefully, like tonight, grumpily drinking tea instead.

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