An Absence of Perspective

by The Discovering Alcoholic on May 21, 2008

The complicated and all encompassing nature of alcoholism never ceases to amaze me. It seems that every time I am asked about the disease that I have to concentrate on just one facet lest I confuse myself in the explanation. The mental, physical, social and environmental aspects of the disease are all very relevant and easy to explain one at a time, but together they have a pathological relationship that can be as difficult to understand as quantum physics.

Today I was asked how someone could continue to drink knowing full well the damage it is causing which raises a whole other issue; the lack of perspective those with healthy minds have in relating to those suffering from this mental illness.

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The mental aspect is one of the most difficult things for an alcoholic to explain, I would guess that it is just as difficult for someone to explain how schizophrenia “feels”. Those with normal brains and thought process just don’t have a way to place this information in context and have a difficult time relating.

So the best way I can do this is by saying that our desire for alcohol is so strong that we have the ability to minimize the importance of any task, chore, duty, or relationship as secondary to drinking. Conversely we also inflate the importance of these same things so that the fear and stress generated by them overshadow the negative consequences of drinking. I think because we have only one way of dealing with issues in life that we too lose all perspective unable to see logical alternatives. Alcohol is the problem, alcohol is the solution, and alcohol is the only choice- so the end result is always going to be the same.

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