The pain of alcoholism – Part 1

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The pain of alcoholism - Part 1

In my work as a coun­selor, some­times I see and hear “themes” for the week; com­mon threads woven through the tapes­try of sto­ries I’m hear­ing. Although I am a gen­er­al­ist and work with many types of men­tal health issues, this week the theme is alco­holism and its effects. It is syn­chro­nis­tic, in that I cel­e­brated 34 years sobri­ety on Mon­day, so my aware­ness of how dif­fer­ent my life would have been had I con­tin­ued to drink (if I were still here at all) is heightened.

I hap­pened to see four clients who are sober, and work a “pro­gram,” and are back in coun­sel­ing work­ing on other issues. They all feel the same grat­i­tude and humil­ity I feel, to be part of the lucky group that are sur­viv­ing alco­holism and drug addic­tion, and have a shot at liv­ing a full, rich life.

Oth­ers are strug­gling still, and fac­ing many of the con­se­quences which accom­pany the poor choices made as a result of chem­i­cal use. This includes loss of dri­ving priv­i­leges, con­flict with fam­ily, legal prob­lems, health trou­bles. One is deal­ing with chronic relapse cou­pled with long-​standing men­tal dis­or­ders and going to treat­ment yet again. One is begin­ning to look at the role alco­hol plays in his life. Another is start­ing treat­ment at an early age, rather reluc­tantly, in the hope of avoid­ing worse con­se­quences and losses.

I saw a num­ber of peo­ple whose lives are or have been deeply and frus­trat­ingly affected by some­one else’s chem­i­cal abuse. The lies, incon­sis­ten­cies, and cycles of prob­lems they expe­ri­ence and the aban­don­ment and con­fu­sion they feel is tan­gi­ble. Those that grew up with alco­holic par­ents are try­ing to fig­ure out exactly what hap­pened and under­stand the last­ing effects they expe­ri­ence, with dif­fi­culty trust­ing, believ­ing in them­selves, and cop­ing with their emo­tions effec­tively. They are angry, con­fused, feel­ing guilty and grieving.

It is unspeak­ably painful to watch lives dis­in­te­grate due to chem­i­cal use.

It is incred­i­bly reward­ing to see lives saved, knit back together, and hope renewed, when a per­son grabs hold of the life­line and does the work to get sober. It is inspir­ing to see a per­son work through ACOA (adult child of an alco­holic) issues and live a mean­ing­ful and bal­anced life.

It is ter­ri­bly frus­trat­ing to see how casu­ally our world treats chem­i­cal use, and encour­ages it.

In my work as a counselor, sometimes I see and hear “themes” for the week; common threads woven through the tapestry of stories I’m hearing. Although I am a generalist and work with many types of mental health issues, this week the theme is alcoholism and its effects. It is synchronistic, in that I celebrated 34 years sobriety on Monday, so my awareness of how different my life would have been had I continued to drink (if I were still here at all) is heightened.

I happened to see four clients who are sober, and work a “program,” and are back in counseling working on other issues. They all feel the same gratitude and humility I feel, to be part of the lucky group that are surviving alcoholism and drug addiction, and have a shot at living a full, rich life.

Others are struggling still, and facing many of the consequences which accompany the poor choices made as a result of chemical use. This includes loss of driving privileges, conflict with family, legal problems, health troubles. One is dealing with chronic relapse coupled with long-standing mental disorders and going to treatment yet again. One is beginning to look at the role alcohol plays in his life. Another is starting treatment at an early age, rather reluctantly, in the hope of avoiding worse consequences and losses.

I saw a number of people whose lives are or have been deeply and frustratingly affected by someone else’s chemical abuse. The lies, inconsistencies, and cycles of problems they experience and the abandonment and confusion they feel is tangible. Those that grew up with alcoholic parents are trying to figure out exactly what happened and understand the lasting effects they experience, with difficulty trusting, believing in themselves, and coping with their emotions effectively. They are angry, confused, feeling guilty and grieving.

It is unspeakably painful to watch lives disintegrate due to chemical use.

It is incredibly rewarding to see lives saved, knit back together, and hope renewed, when a person grabs hold of the lifeline and does the work to get sober. It is inspiring to see a person work through ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic) issues and live a meaningful and balanced life.

It is terribly frustrating to see how casually our world treats chemical use, and encourages it.

About SGH

Counselor, searcher
This entry was posted in ACOA, Addiction, Alcoholism, Codependency, Counseling, Health Issues, Relationships, Therapy, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

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