It’s about this time of the year, that complacency in alcoholism rears its head.
With Christmas in the air, having the odd alcoholic tipple too many is more socially acceptable than ever.
Having one extra at the office party? It’s expected.
Another one after the kids go to bed? That’s ok too.
Functional Alcoholism .v. A Problem Addiction
For most, this is perfectly fine….or at least, it’s considered …functional.
But for those with a pre-existing alcohol problem, it can be a serious risk.
In the absence of sanity, a season as forgiving as Christmas, can be the extra rationalisation, an alcoholic seldom needs, to go over and above an acceptable alcohol intake and put him(her) self or others in danger.
Not only that, it can be seen as, in a way, enabling the pattern of the individual’s alcoholism.
Some will see it as a temporary licence to go overboard – and that’s all.
Others will treat it as a gateway to using – (abusing) – any and every other occasion in life as an excuse to indulge. “I’m an alcoholic – what more excuse do I need?”….sound familiar?
Of course, the excuses, rationalisations and complacency seen at this time of year only serve to further hide the alcoholic from what’s really going on – the real reason for their addiction.
No alcoholic set out to become addicted to alcohol – but it worked out that way.
The seasons and occasions of the year represent an enhanced opportunity to avoid working on the underlying issues they became addicted initially – usually deep self-issues like self-esteem, beliefs about self, values, and sometimes, previous trauma.
Working on these things in quietude and solace, attempting to overcome deep issues of addiction, doesn’t seem to fit with the festive atmosphere this time of year eh?
It’s difficult to imagine the yearly office festive night out without the infusion of alcohol sometimes.
Yet, this is the situation those in recovery from alcoholism find themselves in.
They must effectively redefine what it means to be an alcoholic, not only at this time of year – but every time of year. Every day of the calendar.
Not an easy task.
But no-one goes it alone.
How To Overcome Alcoholic Complacency
The 12 steps is well known to alcoholics the world over and has seen many have much success in long term recovery by adhering to their guidance.
Step 1 tells us to realise – fully- that we are powerless over alcohol. That we have no control over our impulses towards alcohol and therefore, we must treat it as though we have an allergy to it.
Many will argue over the effective of this – how does seeing myself as powerless over anything, help me to feel powerful again?
Another way to look at it is – what if – Step 1 is an attempt to help us….avoid complacency in our recovery journey? What if it’s not about my personal powerlessness, but simply reducing the risk of relapse, especially in the early stages?
Can you see, that with an ongoing attitude of powerlessness over alcohol, it’s much harder to imagine getting myself into a position where I talk myself into having “just one”, or even letting myself get anywhere near alcohol at all.
The powerlessness over alcohol doesn’t have to be about me in order to be effective, as a deterrent, and to help me avoid alcoholic complacency, and the slide backwards that often goes with that.
For those of our friends in Scotland still waging war with the bottle, we do recommend speaking to the guys over at Edinburgh alcohol rehab.
The details for their Edinburgh centre are below too.