Tag Archives: alcohol addiction problem

Alcohol Rehab Shows I Was Living With An Enemy…

alcohol is the enemy as is rexThat image above might seem funny or cartoonish, but I assure you that it’s real. It’s meant to represent an enemy that many people face on a daily basis: Alcoholism. Even me…

My Alcohol Rehab Story: Life Lesson

Growing up in a family and in a country where drinking to excess was considered normal, not just normal but in fact you’re right of passage and patriotic duty, there was no doubt that as an alcohol addict in the making I was living in the right place.

I was handed my 1st drink at a very early age, this was for the purpose of sending me to sleep so the grown-ups could carry on with their party without having the responsibility of having a child to be cared for. As I got older, more children came along in the forms of siblings and cousins and the same was done with these. As a child and prior to embarking on my recovery I never questioned this, I had normalised it, as it was the case with lots of other children and families that I knew.

What this actually did was physically build up a tolerance for alcohol within me. I could drink more than any grown man by the time I’d reached 16 and along with that I’d picked up a lot more habits that would ultimately cause problems for me down the road.

What alcohol did for me I could never do for myself. It gave me confidence, the ability to speak to people I would never have dreamed of, it helped to drop inhibitions and it made me more open minded in regards to taking other substances or drugs that I would otherwise have passed over, had I been sober enough to make an informed decision on.

I never for one minute thought I had a problem with alcohol because it was such a large part of my upbringing and current life. I never got arrested but I did wake up in hospital on a few occasions after having my stomach pumped and after drinking so excessively that I’d actually become severely dehydrated and malnourished to the point that I keeled over in a club. Friends saw this as hilarious, and it was a great story to tell whilst drunk. It really didn’t stop me and only fueled the fire.

This type of drinking carried on for a long time, and more and more I would find myself in precarious situations. My parents despaired of me and my friends began to drift away, at that point I felt I had nothing to lose. I became unstoppable, unemotional and isolated, even within the relationship I was in (as co-dependant as it was). Even my son did not factor in my determination to self- destruct. I was offered drug and alcohol addiction treatment but on many occasions I turned it down, proclaiming to know better.

Fast forward a few years and I didn’t self- destruct! It’s actually a miracle that I woke up and saw what was going on in front of my eyes. The turning point was when I was at a low time in my life. I asked myself: “If I could go back again, how I would have changed things?”. I checked myself into an alcohol rehab facility. It was my wake-up call and the very thing that helped me realise my mistakes.  The reality is that I could never have changed things, my family were a family with the same compulsions and obsessions that I had, I just chose to explore other avenues of research. The reality is that I started to make poor choices because it was the easy way.

I decided that I wouldn’t be the same parent as mine had been. My new sobriety has given me the ability to be open and honest with my children around the reality of the negative consequences that come with using alcohol and substances addictively. I can’t stop them drinking, but I can give them the facts and educate them. They can make sure they know the consequences of alcohol addiction and possibly choose not to participate long before it starts.

Or… if I really want to scare them I just show them old photos of me!

Alcohol Addiction and Step 9 From AA: Make Amends

Alcohol addiction causes chaos and devastation to every aspect of your life:

  • Your health
    • Both mental, physical, and spiritual
  • Your job
  • Your education
  • Your relationships with loved ones
  • Your friendships with those around you
  • Your home
  • Etc…

alcohol addiction step 9 aaIn a lot of instances your alcohol addiction may have ruined and destroyed your relationships with friends, colleagues, and importantly your family who you will need now more than ever to help you stick with your abstinence.

In your using; you may have done things that were dishonest or broken trust by lying, stealing, and/or manipulation. In some cases you may have become violent and caused injury to another person and damaged property. Dwelling on what you did is never a healthy option, but it is possible to work on amending the damage you have caused and work towards healing broken relationships. This specific part of addiction is addressed in Step 9 from the AA Twelve Steps. If you are partaking in a drug rehabilitation program in residential treatment, your therapists and counsellors will support you in writing an amends list and guide you on how best to approach it.

Step 9 From the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Program:

Step 9, as you may know, is the step that deals with the amends process. This is the step that helps towards repairing damage caused by your destructive behaviours and to set right past wrongs. Sometimes it is not appropriate to make amends, these instances would be when it would cause more harm than good, for example if you’ve had an affair and it would hurt your partner to know the level of dishonesty in your relationship when you were in the process of working on repairing the relationship. This is known as “making a mess, not amends”. Sometimes it is not physically possible to make amends, maybe if a person on your list has died, your counsellor or sponsor will advise on how best to approach this, maybe it will be in the form of a graveside amends.

Amends is not just about praying and reflecting on these wrongs. Whenever possible, practical action must be taken in order to repair what needs to be fixed. For example, if you stole money to pay for drugs, it is not enough to simply apologise, the money must be paid back. If you damaged property with your mistaken actions, that property must be indemnified by your hands.

Step 9 also states that members making amends “must not shrink from anything, even risking their reputations or going to jail.” Sometimes amends can just be about rebuilding a relationship you had neglected for years. Do not be disheartened if however an amends does not work in your favour, the person to whom you are making amends may not accept them. It is your intention that is worthy, and you have acted as a fully participating member of your recovery, and you will survive! You need to make the effort to make amends to those whom you’ve harmed, wherever and whenever possible, but only to the point where to do so will not bring further pain or harm to those individuals. If and when you encounter this rejection, the first thing that is advised is to call your sponsor, or therapist, who will usually explain that it completely normal, and you have “cleaned your side of the street”.

It’s also important to note that they can’t do it for you. This is something that you have to take responsibility for yourself and make amends for yourself. Having someone else even come close to doing this for you might end up in failure on your part. We don’t need to see that happen, especially if it’s what has helped to cause this alcohol addiction problem in the first place.

If you feel that your past life is littered with one consequence after another and one failed relationship after another that doesn’t mean that this is what the rest of your life has in store. Your life is what you make of it. You’re in recovery, you have been handed the best gift EVER and you have been given an amazing opportunity to put things right not only in your life, but for the others around you that you have harmed.

You are right where you need to be and you have the power to make life good for yourself!