The need to “fit in” is an universal human trait – most youth do several things-dress alike keep up with the trends etc; some of them being drinking and smoking cigarettes- like a “rite of passage” and lo! It is an entry into the world of parties –being part of, etc. the shy gangly adolescent turns into a suave happening kid popular amongst the guys and girls alike. The intake begins in a small manner as that is enough to give a high, loosen the tongue and the inhibitions. In the flush of youth, studies are managed and the drinks increase to 6-7-8 , from weekends to two or three times a week.
The increase is noted by friends, warnings are issued but ridiculed by the young man – be a man-drink like me !” Is help accepted? Life is going great guns, the studies are done, the girls are there one or many ; more often one too many than one. The new job is gotten, a fat pay packet to boot. The alcohol flows, the money too flows generously “friends “ benefit.
Slowly the hangovers take over… waking up with heavy heads become a norm… the drinks are tried to be controlled now, the hangover hidden with coffee and soon enough through a drink to get over the hangover as the body and mind is in shambles … focus is lost.. meetings are missed, absenteeism sets in.One tries to “ cut down to two or three drinks” succeeds for a few days then one fight at the office or home front, the three becomes 10 in no time and without any inkling as to how it reached there… the intention had been just have the three drinks and pacify the girlfriend/wife [This is the compulsive nature of an addictive mind taking over] After three, all intentions get drowned in the bottle.The next morning one wakes up with absolutely no memory of what transpired the night before- a blackout . The blackout starts becoming frequent. [Is help accepted here?] The mind remains more befuddled .The thinking changes. It becomes more grandiose, emotions are exaggerated, mountains are made out of molehills- though alcohol s temporarily not there because it is untreated, the mental habits do not change. Everything triggers an emotional reaction either expressed or in expressed. Life revolves around planning to get the next drink or start drinking. [The obsession takes over]
Friends start avoiding as Dr. Jekyll turns to Mr. Hyde post a few drinks. Friendships are lost; guilt and remorse sets in and to forget it , guess what- more drinks are drowned. But does one forget? No- cause the drink only magnifies the hurt existent real or imagined. [is help accepted now]
Again the decision to stop drinks.. but in the next one day, one hour or next five minutes the man finds a glass in his hand and a half a bottle down. It is baffling! How did that happen? [it is a cunning baffling disease- and the time from a thought of a drink to an intense thought to craving to obsession and compulsive drinking can take a few seconds to minutes to hours or days ] Help accepted?
The family intervenes. The hands are unsteady the body trembles, cannot hold a glass; yet the thought” I can handle it” The liver is fired – on the verge of cirrhosis on the hospital bed- and yet the thought “I can handle the bottle” the struggle goes on; the life revolves around controlling the drink and going back to “social drinking” of 2-3pegs, a futile illusionary dream! [ this is the denial of dependency] The family tries to control the drink- drink wine- drink at home- I will drink with you- you are taking advantage of us! Another futile illusionary dream! [ the denial of the co dependent] Is help accepted? For, now it has reached the stage of Addiction – “first the man drinks the drink, then the drink drinks the drink, then the drink drinks the man. “
The drinking that was fun at a point and solution at times now has become a problem!
But one is unable to stop for long on one’s own. People around, “society” at large think that the man is a drunk. He can stop on his own but he is selfish and wants to enjoy life at the cost of his family. However, the person addicted drinks now to keep away pain- physical and psychological and there is no more “fun” in it. [ is help asked for and accepted?]He/she is sick and tired of feeling sick and tired
The family approaches psychiatrists or an experiential addiction counselor for help … the person who is chemically dependent now meets the counselor. An experiential counselor is one who has lived a life of addiction to drugs or alcohol and has accepted treatment and gone beyond the need to use alcohol or drugs for a substantial length of time. The light is seen at the end of the tunnel… identification is established… he understands my story, as my storyhas been his story… and if he can do it then I too have hopes of reaching where he has reached today and he will guide me into doing the things he did to arrive at where he is.
Help is finally looked for in the right place and accepted. Thus it is seen that one cannot predict when a person can ask for and accept help.
This is half the battle won!
We at Anatta are here to help those who accept help and to enable those who resist to arrive at a decision to accept help.