“...August 8, 1967 marks the death of Joyce Wilson Jones whose mortal body was absolved by Christ, and she was laid to rest after being overcome by alcoholism. Joyce was my biological mother, and I watched her suffer stubbornly to the disease of addiction making this essay the most difficult one to approach, perhaps the most difficult of tasks in all my collage years….” Death is one of the major causes of denial since one may not be able to accept the reality of the loss, Knapp, (1996) “re-opened a deep, dark wound that lay dormant in my soul ----a wound whose healing time has not only come ----but is long overdue.”
The author narrates the impacts of alcoholism, describing it as a “stubborn disease”. After the death of her mother, Knapp (1996) noted that love lets one to overlook another’s flaws, noticing, but not able to overlook her self perceived flaws. She drinks to gain relief over inhibitions and self doubt, hence developed a love with alcohol.
Alcoholism results from denial. Knapp was never comfortable with inner feelings and how to relate with others in a sober state. Drunkenness was her way of denying herself the feeling of inadequacy and vulnerability. It is a matter of attitude, tradition and routines and visualized as, the connection between a generation and the other and, learned by example. Alcoholics are never satisfied. This leads to an endless urge to continue filling up therefore, the physical stage of the increased tolerance makes an alcoholic to require more of the drug to fill up.
Alcoholism is as a “disease”, hording alcohol and avoiding the feeling of deprivation. As described by Knapp (2006), alcohol is used as a way to unleash a person’s true inner being by knocking down the fear of inhibition, thus making an individual to have a changed personality. It is falsehood and, makes drunkards to be liars, frauds, and manipulators, alcoholics keep drinking in order to hide away from the truth.
Drinking makes people to lose judgment. According to Knapp (2006), in matters of sex; alcoholics are not able to have true relationships because it prevents the reality in expression of love which, the alcoholics need desperately but work so hard to avoid. An addicted person will constantly look for someone to live through her life. For instance the author missed an opportunity to be with men who could shape her life. This is a self defeating task for a woman who lacks a sense of self according to her own standards (Knapp, 1996).
Alcoholism can make one to be lonely. It appears to be a social habit but soon makes one to progress to loneliness since a lot of energy is utilized in maintaining the drinking habit.
This condition consumes all thoughts needed to repress the feelings. As loneliness progresses, an alcoholic become more isolated and may choose to avoid reality in denial and assume the real problem of drinking.
As the “disease” progresses, an alcoholic becomes more and more isolated because they alienate those around them. Alcoholism is oppressive since isolation is part of the system. Therefore the need for closeness to other people contributes to guilt which aggravates the problem of continuous drinking.
Alcohol addiction interferes with a person physically, mentally and spiritually and, can be changed by diagnosis, counseling, acceptance and change of thought process. Addiction results when one opts to repress feelings in order to escape from the reality making it to manifest in one form to another. To recover from addiction, an alcoholic needs to learn to change unhealthy behaviors and thoughts with good and healthier behaviors and thoughts (Hansell & Damour, 2005).
Denial of an individual own identity makes an alcoholic to keep on consuming alcohol to hide and create a pretense as hideout. It results to alcoholism, and leads to hopelessness. It occurs by submission to certain circumstances which an alcoholic may not be able to react to and, to substances that exerts the way forward over such circumstances.
Alcoholism can be avoided through a process of recovery. The initial step of recovery is precontemplative. However, an alcoholic will never accept that a problem exists regardless of others. Hence cannot realize the desire to change (Kinney, 2009).
The other step towards recovery is contemplative, the shift in thinking towards the possibility of addiction. Knapp contemplates her relationship with alcoholism and ended up addressing the issue with her therapist, and an AA group, she realized that she was not doing the right thing since alcohol took control over her life. After realizing the losses associated with alcoholism, she decided to change her attitude about alcoholism. The contemplation effort can expand with time and much effort. More thought should be focused on realizing the effects of alcoholism.
In conclusion, alcohol is the master and slave. An alcoholic can realize the best action to take during the contemplation stage and may choose to follow people who lead in a perpetual state of fear and false security or follow the direction of reality, comfort and the feeling of acceptance
Acceptance is paramount in giving way to sobriety. An alcoholic can hit the bottom by having a turning point in life or a shift in thinking that things happen as a result of choices made by individuals. This occurs after accepting the reality that alcoholism is a problem. An alcoholic may need help to change.
Seeking help needs admitting by an alcoholic that a human being have both strengths and weaknesses. It the responsibility of the alcoholic to make the first step and then support comes from others to help the alcoholic in recovery. This help can be obtained from doctors, friends, family members or therapists. It is a great inspiration in recovering alcoholics.
An alcoholic can get healed in a process of learning changes in thoughts and behaviors. It is all about self discovery, approaching fears, building strengths and recognizing human weaknesses. The healing process can be achieved through acceptance with other people such as family members, friends and recovering alcoholics by, acknowledging and sharing of emotions in a genuine interaction with others. Finally, my wish is to see more programs devoted to treatment and improving the quality of life of alcoholics and chemical addicted people.
Hansell, J., & Damour, L. (2005). Abnormal psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kinney, J. (2009). Special populations. In Loosening the grip: A handbook of alcohol information (9thedition). NY: McGraw-Hill.
Knapp, C.1996.Drinking. A love Story. London: Quartet Books.