The Spiral of Disability

By Greg Baer M.D.

March 22, 2019

Last year I saw Blaine, a man of considerable intellect and energy. He was CEO of a corporation and master of a relatively large domain. But he knew absolutely nothing about feeling or giving Real Love, so he felt empty and alone. One of many ways Blaine dulled his pain was the use of alcohol. When he spoke of his drinking, he always minimized, rationalized, and justified it, but it affected his personal happiness and had a strikingly negative effect on his marriage.

When his wife described Blaine's drinking, he dismissed what she was saying or contradicted how much he'd had to drink. On one occasion, I spoke to him on the phone when he was quite drunk–loud, manic, completely unable to listen. I asked him how much he'd had to drink, and he said that he'd had two beers. Sure, I thought, you've had two beers in the last thirty minutes, but you've had at least three times that amount in the past couple of hours.

Caught in the Spiral of Disability

In Blaine's defense, and as I explained to him later–because he couldn't hear anything at the time he was drunk–as soon as he used alcohol to dull his pain, it dulled and distorted everything else for him, including his ability to even assess the effect of the alcohol on his thinking and feeling. More simply put, the more drunk he became, the less he was able to accurately gauge his alcohol impairment. So he was caught in a spiral of disability, using alcohol more and more to dull his pain, all the while less aware of what he was doing or feeling or thinking.

Blaine's impairment is obvious, but when we use ANY behavior or substance to dull our pain, it dulls and distorts everything else as well: our ability to be happy, our reasoning, our ability to make wise choices, and our clarity in judging how impaired we are. For example:

  • When we become afraid, we become blind to almost everything but our fear and pain. We are not then aware of the degree to which our perception is distorted, nor do we see how much we protect ourselves. We see potential threats everywhere, unaware that they're nearly all illusions.
  • When we're angry, our anger consumes us with a fire that needs no fuel. We are caught in an unseen spiral that sucks us down into the depths of misery, all the while inaccurately justifying what we are seeing and feeling.

Avoiding the Spiral of Disability

How do we avoid the spiral of disability? Easy: don't jump into it. As we are consistently truthful about ourselves, we create opportunities for people to unconditionally love us. We find ourselves on firm ground, unaffected by the life-sucking whirlpools all around us. We find and share love, instead of using behaviors and substances that minimize our pain while simultaneously blinding us.

In the short term, pain is highly motivating. We automatically reach out for anything that will minimize it, but we must pause to consider the overall effects of what we choose.

Learn how to deal with the pain in your life in a way that will not send you into a spiral of disability. Listen to Real Love, the truth about finding unconditional love and fulfilling relationships.


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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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