Although it is possible for a psychologist, doctor, addictions counsellor or psychiatrist to diagnose you with alcoholism it is only yourself that can truly accept that you are an alcoholic.
Possibly the greatest myth about alcoholism and its effective treatment is that “Only once acceptance of the illness has been reached by the alcoholic will any treatment work.” This is false.
It’s critical to understand that it’s entirely due to the alcoholism that the patient has a diminished awareness of their condition, and how severe the actual problem is.
Once a person is dependent on alcohol they have the brain disease of addiction. One feature of the illness is patients diminished insight into their condition – this feature expresses itself through denial. It’s important to understand that many alcoholic patients are forced into treatment centres and that this is NOT a bar to recovery.
It’s the precise job of the alcoholism treatment clinical team to help the patient to gain more insight into their condition and learn to accept parts of themselves that they have been to afraid to look at and accept.
Don’t delay getting alcoholism treatment for your loved one, waiting until they’re ‘ready’ is entirely the wrong approach.
What if the answer to “Am I an alcoholic” is “Yes”?
If you find yourself considering the question “am I an alcoholic?” with a sense of shame then please take heart and consider seeking addictions advice from an expert addiction treatment consultant.
Modern medicine agrees that this is a “no fault” disease. People don’t choose to get cancer or diabetes – nobody chooses to be an alcoholic. You’re not responsible for the fact that you have an illness, but you are responsible for getting alcoholism treatment and maintaining behavior that will promote long term sobriety.
The behavior required is generally some sort of maintenance program. Many alcoholics remind themselves daily of the answer to “am I an alcoholic” by working at a program of recovery such as the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This program has been proven to be effective at preventing relapse and promoting personal growth. People who have earnestly worked this program testify to the tremendous benefits.
So if you’ve answered “yes” when asking yourself “am I an alcoholic” you need not be afraid of judgment. Just like any other disease there are well established treatments for alcoholism. As yet our technology is unable to completely cure this disease, but is able only to arrest its development and help the person return to functioning as a well member of society. Just like diabetes can’t be cured, but can be treated - so it is with alcoholism.
“Am I an alcoholic”… now what?
Taking responsibility for your recovery is the next step after you’ve accepted that you have a problem. Actions that you can take to show your commitment to getting well could include working the 12 step programme or better yet checking into a drink rehab clinic. Answering the question “am I an alcoholic” should be followed by firm action to combat the disease. Simply knowing that you have a problem and doing nothing about it is fantasy!
In fact if you’ve answered “yes” when asking yourself “am I an alcoholic” then you’re a step ahead of many people with the same problem. These unfortunates have not acknowledged their problem and desperately attempt to continue drinking. They suffer terrible consequences (car crashes, arrests, loss of family life, job loss, and so forth) never knowing that alcohol is as at the root of their misfortune. By answering “yes” you’ve empowered yourself to take action – to get better. That’s something to celebrate.
If somebody close to you is suggesting that you go into an alcoholism clinic then you should try to be as honest as possible when asking yourself “am I an alcoholic”. They must have a very good reason to suggest that you have a problem. If there is more than one person suggesting that you have a problem then you have all the more reason to wonder. You may even consider checking into an alcohol rehab program just to pacify them and discover the answer for yourself.
Professional psychologists and other addictions therapists will help you with your diagnosis. At least you’ll have peace of mind knowing the answer for sure.
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WeDoRecover is staffed by professional and independent counselors who can provide immediate access to the best alcohol rehab facilities in South Africa, the UK and Thailand.
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