Choice or Disease?
There is a welter of choices available to you when it comes to unraveling your misuse of alcohol. Your understandable inertia isn’t helped by all of the conflicting and, usually, bogus information you are bombarded with on a daily basis.
This is, of course, compounded by the fact that you usually aren’t in the best of circumstances for making a thoughtful and informed decision. How could you be when most of the information you might use is misinformation designed to lure you into “programs” that are designed to fail, though they are regularly touted on TV, in the movies, in novels, and in every sort of media?
But, there are a few ways to begin to work your way through the quagmire of options and to identify the ones that might help you and eliminate those that won’t.
First, it helps to resolve the “it’s a Disease” vs “it’s a Choice” debate. It’s an argument that generates the usual heat and precludes any light seeping in. And, typically, it’s based on people’s wish for simple answers. Sorry. No simple answers apply because “it’s neither a disease nor a choice.
Instead, it’s a complex amalgam including being a symptom of a lack of coping skills. a habit, and a learned behavior, with some possibly contributive genetic factors. Often it’s also situational. And so on.
It’s a disease is too simple and has no factual basis. It’s a choice is also too simple and trivializes what is a serious problem with difficult solutions.
Recognizing it as a symptom leaves the possibility of multiple factors, individualization, and specialized approaches by skilled professionals.
It’s important to note that your alcohol use is based on a mosaic of factors which need to be addressed and resolved or you will find yourself either continuing to drink excessively or trapped in one of the “in recovery” cults.
Good short-term help leads to recovery whether that takes the form of abstinence, moderation back to normal social use, or less risky harm reduction levels.
That part really is a choice, as is staying in “contemplation hell” and doing nothing beyond reading a newsletter.
AA or Smart Recovery or Life Ring or Women for Sobriety or None of the Above?????
If you feel the need for a support group, and some people do, you’ll want to choose carefully.
AA offers the advantages of being nearly universally available, escaping responsibility for your drinking, continuing an alcohol focused life, and never having to deal with the causes of your drinking, never having to recover, and being able to continue to using “alcoholism” as a passive-aggressive weapon against whomever and/or whatever you used drinking to avoid and punish.
The disadvantages include pretty much the mirror image of the above. With actual recovery, you will replace aggression and passive-aggression with assertiveness, avoid labels, resolve the mosaic of anxiety, loneliness, boredom and depression, develop your capacity for intimacy, and gain control of your life.
Programs other than AA, SMART Recovery in particular, aim to assist you in making the transition and fully recovering.
However, all “programs” that involve groups also leave you exposed and labeled. AA for example, hasn’t been “anonymous” since WW II, if it ever was. If you are a licensed professional, hold an executive position, have security clearances, or simply want to maintain your privacy, you will want to avoid any assistance that isn’t individual and truly confidential. You will find that hard to find.
But good, professional, individual, confidential, affordable, and effective short-term help does exist. We know because that’s what’s we’ve offered for over 15 years to hundreds of happily recovered and unlabeled clients. Will you be the next one?