When it comes to alcohol abuse, it amazes me that so much of the media continues to teach the disease model and all-or-nothing message of alcohol abuse. Even WebMD – a contemporary and well trusted health information source published in its article Understanding Alcohol Abuse – the Basics, “The alcoholic’s continual craving for alcohol makes abstinence — an important goal of treatment — extremely difficult. The condition is also complicated by denial: Alcoholics employ a range of psychological maneuvers to blame their problems on something other than drink, creating significant barriers to recovery. Historically, alcoholic behavior was blamed on a character flaw or weakness of will; many authorities now consider chronic alcoholism a disease that can afflict anyone.”
If you were seeking help for an alcohol problem, would you feel hopeful after reading that? Of course not – you’d have more shame and negative feelings about yourself, and think that your only option was to give up drinking altogether.
For more realistic views, go to http://peele.net/about/index.html. You will find Dr. Stanton Peele’s take on the disease model of addiction as well as the benefits of moderate drinking.
Liz’s “Two Cents”:
One of the main reasons that I am such a follower of Dr. Peele is that when I read his findings on addiction, they seemed to be what I would consider to be “my” philosophy for recovery – but I discovered it AFTER I had already developed MODER8 and had begun my own recovery and moderation plan. Rather than read what he wrote and apply it, I was able to confirm what he said was true because I had already experienced it!
So instead of believing material like is published in the cited article from WebMD, know that you can overcome alcohol addiction – but first, focus on the SOLUTION – the “you” that you want to be without a drinking problem… and stop focusing on trying to control how much you drink!
It’s sort of like those 3-D hidden image stereogram posters that were so popular in the late 1990’s. Do you remember how the more you stared at the poster, the more difficult it was to see the embedded 3-D image? But once you relaxed and just let your eyes and mind go, the image became clearer and clearer. So stop worrying about your drinking problem so much, and start working on your goals and dreams. Eventually, you’ll drink less as you work on achieving your aspirations. (Try using this MODER8 Personal Goals Worksheet ). I realize it sounds overly simplistic, but a positive reason to cut back is ever so much more motivating than trying to drink less because you feel bad or guilty. Obviously there are other issues surrounding alcohol abuse to address such as metabolism, emotional issues, etc., but this is a great place to start – and it doesn’t involve believing you have a disease!