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  • Jim Hoadley, LPC

Alcohol and Me, The Guy Who Loses His Temper

Alcohol, even in small quantities, can cause me to misperceive the motives and actions of others. Behaviors that might otherwise be viewed as neutral, unintended or accidental are now seen as dangerous, threatening and intended to inflict harm.

Alcohol has a dis-inhibitory effect on emotions and behavior. Alcohol lowers the nervous system's threshold for emotional expression, allowing, encouraging and supporting me to do things I otherwise wouldn't do, if I were sober. Alcohol also transforms behavior and makes me feel I have the "right" to act opposite to my normal self.

Alcohol disconnects the part of the brain that controls executive functioning.

When I drink:

  • I lose affect regulation - the ability to know what I'm feeling and keep my feelings from taking over.

  • I lose hindsight, insight and foresight - the ability to connect the past, present and future.

  • I lose response flexibility - the ability to pause before action and pick from a number of possible options before taking action.

  • I lose empathy - the ability to feel what someone else is feeling, put myself in their shoes and stay out of judgment.

  • I lose perspective - the ability to think about how my behaviors are affecting other people.

Alcohol amplifies feelings

If I am feeling angry, anxious, hurt, sad, helpless, disappointed or overwhelmed, drinking will make all those feelings more powerful. Alcohol affects mood in the aftermath of drinking. The more I drink, the worse I'll feel after I sober up.

Alcohol is a very dangerous choice

  • If I don't have an "off" switch

  • If I can't stop with one or two drinks

  • If I'm not able to predict what will happen when I drink

  • If I ever can't remember what happens when I drink

  • If I ever lose my temper when I drink


To discuss this topic or your anger management questions, Contact Austin Anger Management

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