How do I make a secure place for myself in life?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on March 24th, 2021 - Last updated: September 28th, 2023
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.

Dear Stanton,

I am so glad that I stumbled across your website.

Something sensible – finally.

I decided for myself that I am an alcoholic about 5 years ago when I was 29 years old.

I almost never drank at all prior to this. It was at this time that I was having a lot of problems with my mother and had recently split up with my boyfriend of a year.

I became a binge drinker and couldn’t seem to control the amount I drank. This was occurring about 3 times per week. There was no family history of alcoholism or other drug use in my case.

When I sought help for the problem I went to an outpatient 12 step program. It never really suited me, nor did any of the numerous other drug therapies and support groups.

What I’ve come to realize (I think) is that it all started from feelings of loneliness and abandonment.

I feel very insecure and it has only gotten worse.

The alcohol problem seems to drive people away (not surprising) which in turn only leaves me feeling more rejected and lonely. “Just stop” I tell myself but always end up seeking that initial pleasant numbness from booze every time I start feeling the slightest bit insecure.

I am not a wimp, ignorant, ugly, boring, dull or lazy.

I’ve managed to maintain a pretty stressful job, home, child etc.

I know that I can conquer this problem but I think it is merely a symptom of the larger problem – insecurity.

The reason I think this is because when I stay with my brother, an environment where I feel needed, loved and free from the worry of being abandoned, I do not even think about drinking and I feel happy.

My question is this: do you think that if I remain in that positive environment long enough that I will develop the skills or just time distance to truly become secure and free from the abuse of alcohol?

I do not want to become needy of others, but feel that I cannot build myself up enough to get through this.

What would you suggest and what things should I watch out for?

Thanks for any input.



I find this very interesting — that you don’t need to drink when you stay with your brother.

The easy answer is that you need to create such an environment throughout your life.

Living with your brother is probably not the answer per se — but to somehow create that feeling in your ordinary life.

You mention a family, but don’t say whether you are in a secure relationship. It would seem that you do not have the kind of security that your brother provides you with in this relationship, or else you don’t have such a relationship.

Of course, you need something in the interim to address your drinking.

It would seem that therapy (or self-work) might address all the elements that would make you secure and happy (like you are when you are at your brother’s). And, prior to that, you have to find a way to avoid destructive drinking, since that is hurting your achieving happiness and security (for example, how does it affect your son?).

Finding an alternative activity (like exercising) to respond to feeling insecure is one approach.

But your statement that “I do not want to become needy of others, but feel that I cannot build myself up enough to get through this,” is confusing – it seems that finding others to build relationships with is the direction you need to go in – you need to try to expose yourself to others, but in a way that is not too overwhelming for them.


P.S. A recent LPP Member shares his thoughts on ‘dysphoria’ – a concept that has helped him in overcoming addiction. You may want to have read his article.

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *