Are alcoholics more honest than non-alcoholics
Why does the alcoholic deny?
Now we expect the alcoholic to respond with insight and serenity: Yes, Doctor, you must know that. I'm going to quit drinking for good. The doctor then prescribes something for his swollen liver and broken nerves. Then the next patient can come.
That's how we would like it to be. But the fact is that it cannot be that way. The human personality structure is such that a person cannot simply accept such a shock (being an alcoholic), which causes a change in life. Man needs time and perseverance to cope with this turning point in his life. In similar human situations, we take this as completely normal, but not with alcoholics.
If the doctor has to explain to a patient with a severe back injury that medical ability is at the end of the line and that he will have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, he will not be able to see it easily and take it with ease. The thought of having to lead such a life resists him; he fights against it: the doctor cannot have meant it that way, perhaps he was mistaken after all. He will need time, effort, and patience before he can accept his lot and lead a contented life again.
Even the cancer patient cannot so easily surrender to the deadly disease as long as he still feels human strength within himself. We understand these sick people and can only hope that one day they will see it.
The alcoholic is incapable of accepting the naked truth
The alcoholic is often on the verge of admitting excessive alcohol consumption. He pours the rest of a bottle into the sink and swears to himself never to touch a glass again. When he is supposed to go to work in the morning, terminally ill and miserable as a dog, he reaches for the empty bottle and for heaven's sake says to himself, what have I done! I must have been drunk. What I need is a drink from the bottle. Alcohol becomes his friend and only savior for a new day at work. The alcohol is good for him. Alcoholic? he? No! It's just hard, too tragic, too shameful for an otherwise healthy, strong man to be an alcoholic. He is opposed to it, he fights against it, he denies it. But it is precisely this doubt, this uncertainty that takes him a step further. He became aware of his excessive drinking. By using all his willpower to prove to himself and others that he is not an alcoholic, but also by constantly failing, he has further experiences that bring him closer to the admission. Denial is quite normal for people who cannot see the situation right away.
The moralizing environment
The moralizing environment is a second reason for denial. As a child, the later alcoholic had to hear how characterless, unscrupulous and selfish the drinkers are judged by their parents, friends and acquaintances. In religion class, from the pulpit, he heard the moralizing and demonizing judgment and it made a deep and terrible impression on him. The brand that the environment imposes on the alcoholic presses him heavily. He cannot bear this shame and nowhere and in no one does he find relief except in alcohol. He pulls himself up, throws himself into work to prove that he is not a weak, characterless and irresponsible person. Nobody tries so hard to drink in a controlled manner as the alcoholic, even if nobody fails so badly. The moralizing environment gives the alcoholic yet another reason to deny alcoholism. Not only is that normal, but he's also right because he's not what people make of him. His wife and employer confirm his opinion. If he doesn't drink, he is a hard-working, capable and dear person and not a drunk, an alcoholic, a good-for-nothing.
Thank God, in professional circles the alcoholic is no longer judged that way and something is already happening in human society. For the environment, too, it will be laborious to learn the facts, and through painful experiences, people will gradually come to experience and understand that alcoholism is a disease.
People who have been branded like this, people who groan under a pathological sense of guilt, need help. You can find help e.g. B. in an AA group. Some people listen up when they hear in a group:
There's no shame in being sick but it's a shame
nothing to do against an illness.
Alcohol ruined health, influenced thinking, distorted facts, became our blackmailer. We came to believe that only a force greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. These alcoholics speak of a God who stands by them, who is among them. Here the alcoholic is accepted as he is. He is brought back into human society, he is viewed and treated as a complete human being. He feels superhuman help and it actually becomes easier for him. The tension loosens, the debt burden becomes more bearable and he feels new strength, which gives him hope again. Everyone freely confesses their mistakes and offenses and is convinced that God will remove them. Here we don't talk about the mistakes of others, here we don't want to change the bad world, because we are convinced that if you change yourself, the environment changes with us.
Why? Why? Why?
The injured person in the wheelchair wonders why did this have to happen to me? The cancer patient wonders why did I have to have this disease? What did I do wrong in my life? Why is the Lord punishing me? I believe that for the alcoholic too, the question of why it had to happen to him is the most difficult and painful period he has to go through. Even the alcoholic asks himself: Why do I have to drink every day? Why can't I stop drinking when I want to? Am I a bad human? Why is God punishing me? The tragic thing about this period is that it is also the most sterile. His feelings are torn. He cannot muster his strength to endure his situation. He fights against God, against himself, against everyone and everything, just not against his illness. The why period is painful and desperate because there is no answer. The reasons given by himself, his wife, the doctor, the psychiatrist, the pastor for his excessive drinking leave him unsatisfied. Some get over this why period, others retreat into the undergrowth of the jungle like wounded animals and in solitude they suffer for a crime of which they do not feel guilty. Others, in turn, indifferently and indifferently surrender to fate. There is no longer any point in defending yourself. There is no point in the why? to ask. They vegetate more than they live. The AA group can also help him out of this difficult situation. He hears his friends going through the same thing and getting over this period too. It is only important that he wants to stop drinking from the bottom of his soul, that he understands and admits that he can no longer cope with his life. The useless question of why he became an alcoholic fades into the background. The only important thing is that he gets out of this misery.
Being honest with yourself is hard
Everyone has a subtle kind of self-deception from which hardly any human being can be exempted. Anyone who wants to look inside themselves knows that there is a long way to go to honesty.
For years it was his wife, parents or employers who defended the alcoholic against the accusations of his fellow men. He liked to be convinced that he was in control of his drinking. His defense system becomes an automatic action. On the one hand, he does not consider himself a characterless person, so he cannot be an alcoholic, on the other hand, his drinking becomes more and more unbearable. But who would want to admit complete defeat? Every natural instinct in him defends itself against such an admission of his powerlessness towards alcohol. Indeed, it is terrible for him to admit that through the glass in his hand he drove his thoughts and all of his inner being into the addiction of such destructive drinking. It's hard for him that he lost control of himself and became a slave to alcohol. In the AA group, he learns again to be honest with himself. He learns from his friends that no amount of willpower can free him from this compulsion to drink, only those who are honest with themselves have a chance.
I don't think any group of people hates themselves as much as alcoholics hate themselves. Our moralizing and demonizing judgment of the alcoholic reinforces them in their self-loathing. Statistics confirm that alcoholics are seven times more likely to commit suicide and attempted suicide than non-alcoholics, while they are less likely to commit murder than other people.
Once the alcoholic has experienced and felt that he is accepted and accepted by others as he is, it is now made easier for him to accept himself as an alcoholic, but still as a human being. An alcoholic has reached a point in his life where he can no longer get along with alcohol, but also without alcohol. Life with alcohol has gotten bad, but life without alcohol has to be worse. He hesitates to take the last step: to finally put an end to the alcohol that has been his companion and friend for many years and has helped him through many difficult situations. Saying goodbye to alcohol is difficult for him. It's a life choice, a life change. The alcoholic has to stop drinking because of him, he has to change his life because of him and not because of others.
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