For those who fall into the category of ‘problem drinker’, simply putting down the alcohol will likely be enough. If the motivation becomes great enough, a mere problem drinker will quickly and easily say “goodbye” to the liquor and beer and continue on to lead a happy, productive, and thoroughly normal life. The true alcoholic, on the other hand, may struggle immensely with what seems to others to be a blaringly simple decision. Give up drinking for a prolonged period of time, or continue to suffer at the hands of insanely disproportionate consequences?
The choice is a difficult one for the alcoholic, and continuing to drink in lieu of the cost is often the chosen route. Eventually, things may get so utterly painful that the alcoholic finds himself at a common crossroads – either die a selfish and booze-fueled death, or seek professional, outside help. At this juncture, the alcoholic will likely seek help, recognizing deep down within that there still exists a slight desire to live. An infinitesimal understanding that things could, in fact, get better.
Putting Down the Drink is Just the Beginning
And so the alcoholic checks himself into alcohol rehab, committing to the recommended 60-day stint. He sincerely believes that drinking is the root of the problem – that once he learns to stay away from the gin and the scotch, he will be fully capable of living the joyous and unrestricted life he had always dreamed of. He sits through hours of intensive therapy, participating when asked and truly attempting to absorb all that he can regarding the disease of addiction.
Self-knowledge, he thinks, is surely the answer. He learns of the physical allergy and the spiritual malady – he learns of the role past trauma has played in the formulation of his current perceptions and behavioral trends. He has been away from the liquor for nearly two months, and he hardly even misses it. Finally, he thinks, he is ready to re-assimilate into the world at large, returning to his job and his family a new man. A new, sober man.
Self-Knowledge Alone Means Nothing
From here, one of three events will typically occur. Firstly, the alcoholic may try his very best to stay afloat (on the wagon), finding quickly that, for whatever reason, he cannot. He might find himself in a vulnerable position – at home alone with a case of beer, or out at a Sports Bar with non-alcoholic friends. Soon he will pick up right back where he left off, likely falling victim to the progression of the disease and soon finding himself worse off then he ever was before. Another option is that the man is able to maintain sobriety for a period of time, fueled by will power, stubborn self-motivation, and perhaps a sprinkling of grace. The man in this circumstance will likely grow agitated, wondering why, even though he is ‘sober’, he is still so viciously miserable. Wondering why, despite his abstinence, he cannot seem to grasp the necessity of a psychic change.
This man probably attends meetings regularly, knowing that some footwork is necessary to long-term sobriety. He probably sees the veritable happiness and serenity in other attendees and thinks that he is simply incapable of attaining such inner peace. He probably recognizes the fact that many of the beaming men and women who pick up their medallions towards the end of the month give thanks to their sponsors and their higher powers; though this man is smart – too smart for a cult and too smart for religion. Too smart to get well.
Surrender – And Get Well
The third option is surrender. This option is by far the most unreasonable for the man who cherishes either logic or liquor – until things get too agonizing to bear. Surrender comes naturally to some. Some will throw up their arms from the pits of despair and incomprehensible demoralization, screaming, “Enough! I’ve had it! I will do anything!” Some will incessantly ride the nauseating merry-go-round, convinced that at some point in time their course will change, and the plaster horse will someday gallop off into the sunset rather than ceaselessly move along the same, tiresome path.
Surrender entails a willingness to go to any length necessary in order to maintain sobriety and live a life of spiritual, emotional, and mental recovery from addiction. Doing so typically suggests full immersion into a 12-step program of recovery. We at Next Chapter Treatment whole-heartedly believe that putting down the drink is only the very first step – that alcohol, for so long, served as the solution to the actual problem, which was a deep-seated spiritual sickness. We work tirelessly to uncover and adequately address all underlying issues, while setting a solid and maintainable foundation for lifelong recovery. Putting down the drink is not enough. Putting down the drink merely allows for the real work to begin. It makes the potential of a fulfilled future a possibility at last.
If you are struggling to commit to recovery, or if you feel you may be a helpless case, rest assured that you are not alone. Recovery is possible for anyone suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, no matter how far down the scale he may have gone. Please give us a call today – we look forward to speaking with you soon.