The pain of alcoholism — Part 1

Read­abil­ity

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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