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Still don't get it

Old 02-24-2011, 04:34 AM
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Question Still don't get it

I've read tons of books on alcoholism, and there is still one concept that I cannot wrap my head around: if the alcoholic KNOWS alcohol will destroy his life, sees the damage it is doing, and professes that he wants to stop drinking...why won't he seek a program or treatment to try and address the problem when there are so many options available???

Is it because he doesn't want to be addicted, but really still wants to drink because of the addiction??

I just don't get it. He tells me: "be glad you don't understand".
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:03 AM
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Buttercream: Good question. Step back and look at the steps involved in problem-solving of any problem. It involves steps (in the same way that grieving involves steps). I cannot off the top of my head tell you exactly the stages involved in problem-solving, but they are there.

Think of some issue that you had to work through. Perhaps it was a job that you were not happy with but had some good reasons for you to stay. Think of the way you wrestled with the whole topic - first in your mind, then in talking with others. Perhaps you went through phases were you thought you could stay and ignore the bad parts of the job. Then maybe the next week you were pretty sure that the answer was to quit in the next month and work somewhere else. At some point, after much deliberation and angst, there was a tipping point where you knew what you were going to do and had the energy and determination to do it. My point is, the human being follows a predictable pattern is problem solving ANYTHING.

And so with addiction. Except in addiction, the very part of the brain that problem-solves is the part that is bathed in a numbing chemical - so the process takes a lot longer, and the tipping point for the addict to decide to seek help has involved a lot more pain than we (with our non-chemically affected frontal lobe) think is reasonable. Just because we loved ones have bottomed out on their problem does not mean that the addict is anywhere near to bottoming out - and that fact lies squarely on the reality that the frontal lobe has been essentially hijacked by drugs/alcohol.

Hope that helps. I think I answered your question. If not, what else do you wonder about?
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:38 AM
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Sojourner described it pretty well, I think. I kept thinking if I just tried HARD enough, I could continue to "enjoy" drinking without the negative consequences. It took me a long time to realize that wasn't gonna happen. Drinking = negative consequences for me, every time. Even if I was "controlling" my drinking, I wasn't enjoying it because I was feeling deprived. So even THAT was a negative consequence, from my perspective.

It was only when I finally decided I'd had it with the whole deal that I was ready to quit, and to give it my all by going to AA.

The other piece of it (why they won't go to a program like AA) is that asking for help feels like weakness. We all feel like we SHOULDN'T have to ask for help. It's ego, that's all. It hurts, initially, to consider the fact that we can't simply control our drinking or quit without help and support. So it's something most of us resist until we conclude there's no other way and we want to be sober badly enough to do what is necessary to get there.
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:57 AM
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So, if the frontal lobe has been "hijacked", if you will, then technically speaking, addicts now have a form of mental illness, albeit self induced.

Anyone else who has mental illness that has made themselves dangerous to themselves and others is often brought in for a mental evaluation and held for treatment, if need be.

Those dangers could include repeated drinking and driving, if you follow my drift.

Logic dictates then, that we, or law enforcement, if you will, should be able to request evaluation, with evidence, of course, and possibly forced intervention, legally, to address this issue.

For that matter, required followup regularly once diagnosed with the "illness."

I recognize the whole argument for too much government involvement in individual lives, which I am personally against; but, come on, in cases like I have lived through and other people I see on here?

I think it says alot about society that there are so many of us in the same boat.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:17 AM
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An alcoholic is says he wants to quit but will take no positive steps to get help, is as weak as a partner who wants to leave because of the drinking but is still here.
I used to believe him when he would cry and say he wanted to quit, now I think it's just a ploy.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
The other piece of it (why they won't go to a program like AA) is that asking for help feels like weakness. We all feel like we SHOULDN'T have to ask for help. It's ego, that's all. It hurts, initially, to consider the fact that we can't simply control our drinking or quit without help and support. So it's something most of us resist until we conclude there's no other way and we want to be sober badly enough to do what is necessary to get there.
So what does it mean when the A goes to AA meetings (twice a day!), claims to have stopped drinking, but is clearly STILL drinking?
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by buttercream View Post
I've read tons of books on alcoholism, and there is still one concept that I cannot wrap my head around: if the alcoholic KNOWS alcohol will destroy his life, sees the damage it is doing, and professes that he wants to stop drinking...why won't he seek a program or treatment to try and address the problem when there are so many options available???

Is it because he doesn't want to be addicted, but really still wants to drink because of the addiction??

I just don't get it. He tells me: "be glad you don't understand".
I just don't get it either and I have been observing my aw for over twenty years. The best theory I can come up with is this. Their sense of normalcy has been skewed by alcohol. Their sober is different from ours. They live in a house of mirrors. Drunk is normal, normal is drunk. Sobriety is riddled with uncomfortable emotions and feelings. They feel weak and vulnerable and scared. Not powerful and in control. They need to drink to feel normal inside. They would need to get sober for a time to clear the fog then deal with the underlying issues that makes them feel so different and uncomfortable when sober. This takes an extreme amount of self awareness to reach that level. Some get it some don't. Flip a coin and prey. My opinion fwiw.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:01 AM
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I have never been big on drinking, I do enjoy a few beers here and there My DOC is opiates and to withdraw from them is unbelievable bad. I was told by a few different people that alcohol is the only withdraw that can actually kill you. I have heard because it is so bad that is why they keep drinking. Alcohol has almost killed my father inlaw twice now he will be sober for a few weeks and then right back on the bottle. It just amazes me that after being sober for almost a month why in the hell would you drink again. The worst has to be over by then.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:15 AM
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Just from my experience - The way I truly came to understand and accept that Alcoholism/addiction was truly a disease was by attending open AA meetings.

I listened to those wonderful people share their stories, they became my friends, I became involved with a women's group - I was an al-anon speaker for a women's retreat.

I bonded with these precious ladies - we spent hours sharing our recovery stories, they were so so so grateful to be sober, getting their lives back, their children back and had multiple YEARS of sobriety and I would get a call about one of them "going back out"

It would break my heart!!

I believe the God of my understand has used this as a tool to help me understand the disease, help me to have healthy compassion for my daughter, my step-son and even my ex ah.

I heard an Old-timer AA speaker say "Alcoholism/addiction are the only diseases that tell you that YOU DON't have a disease"

This disease tells the person that it will be different this time, we will be able to control it - it will be only one drink, one pill, one hit, one drag and then we will walk away from it. Then the man takes a drink and the drink takes the man."

That is how the concept of the disease was explained to me.

If you aren't comfortable attending the meetings, you can go on-line and listen to AA speakers - there are some great ones ~ maybe that may help you. Sometimes listening to someone we don't have that emotionally attachment with can be a little more helpful.

Just my e, s, & h,
PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:15 AM
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May I suggest...

...letting go of the need to get it? Getting it won't change a damn thing. He will still be fully responsible for his recovery (or lack thereof), and you will still be powerless over alcohol.

Personally, I believe one of the biggest mistakes that can be made is putting so much energy into trying to understand that which cannot be understood or is none of our business. If that same amount of energy was put into our own recovery great things would happen.

Take care, take what you want, and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by buttercream View Post
Is it because he doesn't want to be addicted, but really still wants to drink because of the addiction??
Yes, as insane as it sounds, alcoholics drink despite all the harmful effects to self and family. To quote the Big Book of A.A.

"The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death." [emphasis mine].

What can I tell you? Alcohol is insidious. But drinking is just the symptom.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:29 AM
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trying to understand that which cannot be understood
I understand what your trying to say but isn't it in our nature to try to understand. After all, isn't that why we have astronomy?
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by buttercream View Post
I've read tons of books on alcoholism, and there is still one concept that I cannot wrap my head around: if the alcoholic KNOWS alcohol will destroy his life, sees the damage it is doing, and professes that he wants to stop drinking...why won't he seek a program or treatment to try and address the problem when there are so many options available???

I just don't get it.
When I was newly sober I had those thoughts.

Why wasn't it so obvious to me when I was drinking?

It was so obvious to me when I was sober.

Have come to believe that it's probably a combination of things, important to realize that alcoholism is considered by many to be a primary mental illness, so you're dealing with someone that literally isn't in their right mind.

When I got sober, I continued in a very unhealthy relationship with an active addict/alcoholic for nearly 4 years, and was always chasing the why's.

My experience, the why doesn't matter, all you need to know is the what. I knew the what from the start, chasing the why didn't help me one little bit.

I'll leave the research about the why's to people that get paid to do it.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:06 AM
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Just because it's our nature...

...does not mean it's a good idea. There are a lot of things in my nature that are not a good idea. It's in my nature to have sex with as many women as I possibly can as often as I can, but I'd argue it would be a very bad idea to act on this.

It's also in my nature to be the boss of everybody around me, and make them do what I want them to do, the way I want them to do it, when I want them to do it. I'd argue this also is a bad idea.

That's just two examples. There are many more.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by Midwestman View Post
I understand what your trying to say but isn't it in our nature to try to understand. After all, isn't that why we have astronomy?
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