One of the most educational (addiction-wise) books I've read recently is Gabor Mate's 'In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction". He is a Canadian addiction physician who is Buddhist-influenced.
About.com explains the Buddhist concept of hungry ghost this way: ""Hungry ghost" is one of the six modes of existence (see Six Realms). Hungry ghosts are pitiable creatures with huge, empty stomachs. They have pinhole mouths, and their necks are so thin they cannot swallow, so they remain hungry. Beings are reborn as hungry ghosts because of their greed, envy and jealousy. Hungry ghosts are also associated with addiction, obsession and compulsion."
One needn't have a Buddhist outlook to see how this description of Always Hungry but Never Satisfied fits most of us who are struggling with alcohol. (Hungry for alcohol, that is, not for food).
Mate discusses the difference between a passion and an addiction: "The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates." Which makes it very clear- for me, wine has been a flame that incinerates and destroys the richness that could be my life. Even though at times I tried to convince myself that is benefited me, added enjoyment, made my life better.
He says: "When we flee our vulnerability, we lose our full capacity for feeling emotion." And that is certainly what I have done with alcohol: used its anesthetic effect to avoid feeling stressed, vulnerable, not-enough. The challenge with this is that one can't blunt just the negative emotions- any action that blunts them, also blunts the positive emotions- and, as he says, we end up diminishing our capacity for feeling all emotions.
Where do the Bare Knuckles come in? In hand-to-hand combat with Wolfie. If I am losing the battle, my last resort is to re-read a quote from his book (at least 10 times in a row, preferably out loud) and go to bed as soon as possible. I have the quote written down on a card that I carry in my purse at all times. Here it is:
"I don't NEED a drink now. I'm only having an obsessive thought that I have such a need. It's not a real objective need but a false belief. I may have a feeling of urgency, but there is actually nothing urgent going on."
That kinda says it all, doesn't it?