Mod 1 Recap & Mod 2 Intro
Congratulations on completing Module 1 of Reframe! We’re so happy that you’re here, plugging in with this program each day. Our hope here at Reframe is that this program provides you daily support, education, and tools to begin an alcohol-free life, or support your path if you’re a little farther along. None of us are meant to do this alone, and Reframe is here to be your little pocket support.
In Module 1, we took a deeper look at why we drank in the first place. Alcohol is a powerful substance that can become difficult for anyone to consume in a way that feels manageable. You are certainly not alone if you’ve found yourself struggling with your drinking, and there’s tons of science behind why this happens. Being able to moderate alcohol use is far more than just “will power.”
On Day 2, we considered why we drink. We put a name to what alcohol is: ethyl alcohol, ETOH, a chemical depressant, a drug. We took a peek at some of the neuroscience behind addiction, primarily that alcohol alters our levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that impact our happiness, mood, anxiety, ability to feel pleasure, and stress. We normalized that this is hard - there’s nothing wrong with you if you find abstaining from alcohol difficult. We can also heal our bodies and minds from the impacts of alcohol.
On Day 3, we took a look at some of the different models of addiction. Here at Reframe, we believe there are many paths and modalities someone can use to live an alcohol-free life; there’s no one right answer. The Self-Medication Model of addiction suggests that addiction is primarily driven by self-medication of unresolved trauma and mental illness. The Disease Model posits that addiction is a disease, there is an affected organ (the brain), and this requires medical attention. The Learning Model suggests that addiction is a result of learned behaviors and the brain operating as it is meant to, and we can unlearn these behaviors. Perhaps pieces of each of these models ring true for you, or you identify strongly with one. These are helpful frameworks from which to approach our recovery.
Days 4-6 were focused on alcohol and the brain. Understanding the brain chemistry and structural changes we undergo with extended alcohol use is an integral part of reclaiming power. Understanding the mechanisms at work helps us build compassion for ourselves - when we consume a neurotoxin, it makes sense that it would make some dramatic changes in our decision making, memory, and mental health. We reviewed the hedonic setpoint and the impacts of alcohol’s artificial dopamine spikes on the baseline. We checked in with the prefrontal cortex to see what changes about our higher functioning, and we learned about how we can repair damage with neuroplasticity.
And finally, on Day 7 we began reframing our experience from what we’re missing out to what we’re gaining by removing alcohol from our lives. Alcohol directly and indirectly imparts harm in our lives. When we no longer drink, we gain clarity, presence, health, better relationships, and hangover-free mornings.