The same man will drink again

recovery requires changeThis is an addition to yesterday’s post. To clarify, in addiction treatment when we deal with the social and psychological consequences of addiction, we’re not trying to establish our preference for value judgements. We’re looking at coping skills and encouraging the clients to re-evaluate how they see and react to people, places and things.

For most people, not just those with an addiction problem, life can get hectic. It’s difficult to find the time to stop the merry-go-round, look inward to assess our emotions and state of mind, and to look outward to evaluate our relationships. When I say relationships, I mean romantic relations, friendships, relationships with co-workers or fellow student — all relationships.

In treatment, the client has time and opportunity to explore how they’ve coped with problems, determine how well the coping mechanisms have worked, and look at new ways to solve problems or just accept reality. Most of us develop coping skills at an early age and never stop to re-evaluate how well we’re coping with life presently. Some of our old ideas about people, places and things may not sync with our present reality. A life well lived, according to all the great thinkers on the subject, is a life honestly examined and improved as time goes on. Socrates said – Know thyself.

For the person recovering from years of chaotic addiction, these exercises in examination and improvement are not just nice self-improvements exercises — they’re very important to recovery. The Chinese have an old saying — The same man will drink again. This means for a person who has a drinking problem and stops drinking, if the person doesn’t change he/she will drink again.

We see it all the time in treatment – a person goes through treatment, becomes educated about addiction, is encouraged to re-evaluate their life and start a program recovery management, then they leave treatment and make no changes at all — soon they’re calling saying they started drinking or using opiates again and don’t know what happened. What happened is the same man/woman drank again.

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