People are drinking more than ever, particularly millennials. Women especially, guzzle wine like crazy, and according to one article in The Fix, “Women are drinking twice as much wine as men.” So what’s going on? Why are so many women numbing themselves with such regularity? What do women, and men, lack inside that they continue to search for something outside of themselves in order to feel fulfilled? Is life so fruitless for so many that they can’t feel and deal unless they have spirits? Why should anyone yearn for an altered state of being? These questions beg to be explored, but can we find the answers?

I think we can, but the true answer comes in the form of something that may make some people balk. People drink and drug because they want to fill a void; the gaping hole in the soul that can only be filled with God. People self-medicate to try and fill themselves up; with something, anything to help them feel different.

Most all of us yearn for some sort of communion with the divine.

What too many fail to realize is that the yearnings they feel is the divine spark within searching for its main source. Whatever spirituality that we are born with gets snuffed out by childhood traumas, bullying, fears, resentments—those difficult times in our lives, if we don’t deal with our feelings as they come up, but instead stuff them deep inside, it’s like planting bitter seeds and expecting to bear sweet fruit.

We are born wanting a spiritual connection but that connection is severed by our own hand; by the choices we make to either deal with our painful feelings or self-medicated. Alcohol and drugs pulls us further and further away from the source of power and bliss, a connection that most people don’t even realize they desperately want. When you ask people why they drink, the most common answer is, ” Because it’s fun,” but is it really?

For the single girl who wants to meet a mate, the bar may be her go-to place, but after a person’s twenty-fifth birthday, perhaps a bar is not the ideal place to find your soul-mate—unless you happen to be out with a group of friends for a specific reason. But any one who spends all their free time hanging in the drinking places is going to be a drinker, and believe me, they make horrible mates, (been there done that with husband #1).

What happens after the few hours of bar fun is the lonely ride home when you realize that, no, you didn’t meet your prince or princess, your buzzed, and you’ll flop into bed only to wake the next morning with the gaping hole in the soul that now feels like a canyon. The empty feeling only goes away when you ponder the next outing, the next vacation, the new outfit, the new guy or gal, the next party, the next happy hour. The next the next the next…we minimize our discomfort, and pop goes another cork. The attempt to fill ourselves up for what we lack on the inside works, temporarily, until it doesn’t anymore. The gnawing feeling always comes back, and so people keep drinking or spending or chase one vice after the next…anything to fill the vapid void. If we stay medicated, busy or preoccupied, we won’t feel so alone.

Drinking can easily turn into a lifestyle that can soon enough strike like a lion and grab you by the throat. It’s only when you find the courage to sober up and start working through all of the emotional baggage that dragged you down in the first place, can you start to break free. It’s a whole new life when you can free yourself from the dismal cycle of self-medicating.

I contributed to a piece that recently ran in the Epoch Times. I had no way of knowing what slant the writer of the article would take, since we talked for almost an hour on the phone, but Conan, grasped what I wanted to impart—people are wounded, often turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their inner turmoil. The only real solution to freeing one’s self from the vice of addiction is a spiritual solution. Spirituality is the cure for most, not all, depression, anxiety, panic attacks—many mental health diagnosis are caused by repressed emotions. Deal with the emotions, and you have your cure.

We Have to Heal Our Insides First.

Some wounds may go back to childhood, and if we don’t have a strong sense of self to being with, those wounds tend to pile up and pile up; alcohol becomes the proverbial release valve that allows us to enter the vicious cycle of not wanting to feel our feelings. Many people drift through life with a sense of foreboding that something is missing, but at least with the alcohol, the emptiness is tolerable.

There is no medication or material possession that will fill the hole in the soul. Self-medicating only works for a short time. The real solution, the permanent balm for a troubled soul is to find a God of your understanding, and it’s in that space where you will find your healing.