The reality of active addiction is that alcoholics will often rationalize their drinking. As with any addicted individual, alcoholics engage in wishful thinking and live in a fantasy world when it comes to alcohol and their addiction.
Oftentimes, out of their sheer desire to maintain the habit, they refuse to acknowledge the fact that it has become a deterrent to a happy and fulfilled life. Here are some of the most common erroneous thoughts of an alcoholic.
1. I can drink without screwing everything up.
Probably the most common misconceptions among alcoholics is the idea that they can drink without serious consequences. They might even go so far as to simply utilize designated drivers or Uber services, thinking this will curb any negative impact. However, simply preventing a drunk driving incident isn’t the problem.
The illogical part in this scenario is the idea that being chemically dependent on alcohol is no different than drinking socially or on occasion. The latter situation involves an individual who typically employs the use of a cab service or designated driver in an effort to drink responsibly.
However, there is nothing responsible about alcoholism. It affects more than just the ability to drive with proper judgment. It wrecks families and relationships, careers, spiritual, psychological and emotional well-being and physical health.
2. I can have just a few.
Other than wishing the terrible consequences away, an alcoholic also mistakenly believes that he or she can have just one or two drinks. But, in reality, when you’re an active alcoholic, a few will always turn into a few too many.
3. Alcohol will help me forget my life is falling apart.
When you’re in active alcoholism, you like to think that alcohol is your friend--the one thing that can help you forget your problems. However, it is faulty thinking to consider that alcohol helps in any way.
In actuality, it is creating new problems and perpetuating a vicious cycle that causes you to feel as though your life is falling apart. And when you’re living a life of active addiction, it certainly is.
4. I can quit whenever I want to.
Whether it’s alcohol or any other substance, when it comes to active addiction, denial is plays a big role. You find yourself saying things like “it’s not a problem,” and “I can quit whenever I want to.” What’s worse, you end up believing what you say.
However, believing that you are not addicted or can easily quit without any outside help is a delusion the highest order. In fact, it’s the very reason the first step of the Twelve Steps is admitting you have a problem.
5. I’m not an alcoholic because I’m successful.
There are far too many individuals – addicted and otherwise – who refuse to see alcoholism for what it is unless there are obvious signs of severe consequences taking place (i.e., unemployment, homelessness, etc.). However, the latter is not the first sign of alcoholism but is actually referred to as advanced alcoholism.
In fact, acquiring a home, keeping a relationship or gainful employment has nothing to do with determining whether or not you are an alcoholic. To think you are not addicted simply because you can maintain a seemingly successful career is wishful thinking indeed. In the field of addiction and recovery, that phenomena also has a name; it is known as being a high-functioning alcoholic.
6. I can drink in moderation now that I have it under control.
When you enter into recovery for alcoholism, it doesn’t mean the illogical thought processes stops. In fact, the experience may even add a few more distorted thoughts to the list.
One complete falsehood in particular is the idea that once you’ve been sober for a while and received the necessary treatment for your disease, you can return to the world and easily have a glass of wine with dinner or a toast of champagne on New Year’s Eve. Of course, that’s a lie that equates to relapse and begins the journey of active addiction all over again.
But, the scary reality is that a misconception in this case can prove deadly. Sobriety causes your tolerance level to drop. Due to this adjustment, returning to active use to the degree you used prior to getting sober can result in overdose and death.
Facing the Truth
It’s vital to successful recovery and your life itself to realize it’s nothing more than self-deception to believe you can ever drink in moderation. Just like any other disease, there is no cure for addiction.
The lifestyle changes required to manage the disease of alcoholism require you to abstain from alcohol. Period.
That’s why it’s recommended for you take it one day at a time and prevent the overwhelming thought of never drinking a drop of alcohol again.
Wishful thinking isn’t exclusive to individuals who suffer from addiction. However, if you are an addict in active addiction or recovery, it is something that can perpetuate your suffering, be detrimental to recovery and have fatal consequences.
To continue in successful recovery, be sure to check yourself and your ego regularly so you don’t give in to what your alcoholism wants you to do—drink.