95 – 97% of heavy drinkers and users outgrow this behavior as they become more mature and responsible. 5% would like to be like that 95% but genetics overruled best wishes. In the poker game of life, all the aces are in the hands of hereditary.
That’s the standard stereotype scenario for the adult with a drinking problem, toss in denial of obvious problems, crises upon crises in terms of damaged decision making, life collapses and when you have nothing left to lose you can always lose a little bit more. Hitting bottom, the drunk finally surrenders to reality and gets sober. We’ve seen the movie, read the memoir and have almost convinced ourselves that this scenario is universally accurate when there are innumerable variations and exceptions. Slogans be damned, each person suffering from alcoholism or some aspect of addiction is unique and wondrous. Some are perhaps terminally unique, and then you have such exemplary sobriety journeys as that of Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto.
Quinto, expressing gratitude for his four years sober, didn’t seek emotional solace from tween angst in the bottom of a bottle of single malt scotch. Nope he was never a party person, a heavy drinker or compulsive guzzler of wine, whisky, or rye.
“I wasn’t really a huge partier, I didn’t have my first drink until I was 17 or 18,” he said, “and I didn’t smoke pot until I was around the same age. I engaged those things relatively normally in my twenties, I think. It wasn’t until, interestingly, that I realized that alcohol, with a big dollop of ice cream made for an intoxicating treat that kept me more than buzzed, that I noticed that I was spending more and more time under the influence.”
For Quinto, it was not a case of wasted days and wasted nights with a rapidly vanishing bank balance evaporating in the heat of heavy usage. The real turnabout at the deepest seat of consciousness came when he noticed an important aspect of his life and personal perspective had gone missing.
“The most glaring component that was missing from my life was gratitude… and I had so much for which to be grateful, explained Quinto. I didn’t lose everything, I didn’t ruin relationships, but there was one day when I was like, I can’t do this anymore.”
The missing component, gratitude, returned in abundance as his body and mind became clean of the mind altering and mood bending traits of pot and alcohol.
Lack of gratitude is a prominent symptom of anhedonia — the inability to experience pleasure. As anhedonia increases, the more miserable the person becomes. Those experiencing anhedonia often self-medicate by increased marijuana use while unaware that numerous research studies have shown a direct relationship between escalated marijuana use and increased anhedonia.
Fortunately for Quinto, with four years clean, he is no longer experiencing anhedonia, giving the actor another item to place on his Gratitude list.