Alcoholism is a disease that tells you that you do not have a disease. It is a disease of denial. Even when an alcoholic is at a so-called “bottom”, he continues to think he has the willpower to stop drinking if he so chooses. Thus, the insanity results in the individual continually trying to drink like a “normal” drinker and failing over and over and over again.
Recently, a client of mine casually mentioned that he had a problem with drinking. He stated that his physician had told him he needed to stop drinking. My client confessed that he had tried to stop drinking on a daily basis but could not. I was aware of his familial history with drinking. His father died in his early 60’s of cirrhosis of the liver due to his alcoholism. My client was well aware that he was following in his father’s footsteps. He had even mentioned that he was concerned that he had been a bad role model for his own children. However, when I suggested that there were treatment options as well as 12 step programs to help him stop, he stopped the conversation. He was unwilling to listen and became resistant. He claimed that he had no choices. It appeared that he felt this was how he was always going to live; fighting to control his drinking on a daily basis. Obviously he had not hit a bottom, nor was he ready to receive help. That sense of hopelessness that he is just doomed that this is his cross to bear is very common. He was not willing to give up his drinking. He was still trying to control his behavior.
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