October 1, 2009
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I was recently asked in a recovery meeting if I still experienced craving for alcohol after 14 years of sobriety. It’s a harder question than it appears on the surface, because while I don’t experience the gut wrenching physical pangs or the riptide desire for escapism of my early recovery… there is still that calm, seductive voice of my alcoholic thinking that might whisper as a tray of drinks passes. “What could it hurt?” The voice sort of reminds me of the demented computer HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey that talks so smoothly even while trying to murder its own crew. Once HAL ‘s actions are discovered, even his excuse and rationalizations seem eerily familiar to what an alcoholic would say.
Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over… I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal.
These days I recognize alcoholic thinking, let’s call the voice an alcoHALism, as the source of these irrational suggestions. For the most part I don’t have much problem avoiding the danger, but unlike Dave Bowman I cannot fully shut down my nemesis. It seems I will be forever faced with that voice in the back of my head that has a primary directive (to drink)- that it intends to carry out even if it kills me in the process.
March 26, 2009
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Thank you author and speaker Lisa Frederiksen of Breaking the Cycles for this regular series sharing her decades long experience of dealing with family alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Click here to see the rest of the series.
“The only reason I got a DUI was because I was talking on my cell phone.”
“I know we agreed I wouldn’t drink, but I’m going to have to drink at this party, otherwise everyone will think something’s wrong.”
These are the kinds of explanations that make perfect sense to an individual engaged in active alcohol abuse or addiction. In the first one, there is no consideration given to the fact that alcohol must have been present in their bloodstream; otherwise there’d have been no DUI. And, in the second one…well…
But it’s this kind of wishful thinking that slowly drives the family members of a person who has a problem with drinking to adapt and mold and convolute their thinking in order to somehow make this kind of logic make sense or worse, to become consumed with the insanity of arguing the inarguable. Someone who “thinks” this way (like those of the people making the opening statements) cannot be reasoned with, nor are they about to change their reasoning skills just because you yell or argue or point out just how stupid they sound. And, the fallout for those who try is that they often start trying to control other lives (e.g., their children’s) or double their efforts to control the drinking (e.g., making sure everything is done to perfection so there is nothing that can be criticized or used as a reason to drink), and in the process, they lose sight of themselves.
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