How the Pervasive Mythology is Keeping You Drinking

The Steppers have so indoctrinated us over the past decades that most of us have come to believe a number of things that simply have no basis in reality. These include:

  • the misuse of alcohol is a disease;
  • alcohol abuse isn’t just a disease, but it’s a progressive one;
  • you are powerless over this disease;
  • no one can ever return to “normal” drinking habits;
  • AA and the 12 Steps are the only solution;
  • you must be “in recovery” forever;
  • you must go away for 30, 60, or 90 days of rehab;

There are many other myths most of us have picked up over the years but these 7 are among the most damaging. That said, let’s consider the research, not AA and the rehab businesses’ “alternative facts.” (Thanks, Donald, for that appropriate term.)

Alcohol abuse is not a disease, it’s a choice. Granted, none of us wanted to get to the state we currently find ourselves in, but we got there because alcohol provided a ready escape from anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and a dozen other conditions. We were neither dumb nor diseased, we just developed a habit that, in and of itself, eventually became a problem. Still, choose to fix the underlying condition(s) and the abuse goes away.

A person’s use of alcohol, contrary to the “progressive” theory, is usually pretty stable, regardless of the level of use or abuse. You probably know that from your own experience or the example of other drinkers you know.

You’re certainly not powerless any more than the tens of millions of people who have altered their drinking habits were.  Notice the word “altered”. Millions of alcohol dependent people have reverted to abstinence, normal social drinking, and less risky levels of drinking. In fact, 60% of “alcoholics” manage this without any involvement with AA, Steps, Higher Powers, or other voodoo magic.

AA and the 12 Steps not only aren’t the only way to end alcohol abuse, they aren’t even in the top 20 – but they are a great way to become an “alcoholic” if that’s what you aspire to. Otherwise, you might want to consider Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works.

If you actually fix the conditions which you’ve been medicating, guess what, you will recover! “In recovery” is just a way to maintain an alcohol-focused life which, as you know, isn’t much of a life at all. But you do get to keep drinking and hang out with people you normally wouldn’t be caught dead with.

Finally, the biggest and most expensive myth of all: you have to “go away” to fix the problem. That myth is the biggest con game of the past 50 years and grosses $35 BILLION annually selling you the same AA Steps that are available for free and which, for 95% of drinkers, don’t work anyway. Let’s see, let me sell you a phony “cure” for a “disease” you don’t have and brainwash you into believing that it’s your fault that it didn’t “work” and then order you back for another round of this same non-cure? Great business model.

Now let’s take a moment to look at what the research, as well as most people’s experience, actually says.

Real, Not “Alternative,” Facts.

When you decide a little help is in order, and real help can shorten the process of recovering from several years to a few months, look for help which:

  1. is based on research, not AA or some other “magic;”
  2.  is individual, or works with you as a couple, not groups;
  3. is confidential (i.e. no groups, AA, insurance, etc.);
  4. treats whatever is being medicated (i.e. anxiety, loneliness, depression, boredom, unbalanced relationships, overloaded life, trauma, grief, etc.);
  5. uses or teaches what actually works (i.e. CBT, assertiveness training, motivational enhancement, diet considerations, habit reformation, etc.);
  6. encourages you to build relationships with normal people and activities, not alcohol focused losers;
  7. teaches you to manage your time to avoid burnout;
  8. suggests you eliminate the words “alcoholic,” “alcoholism,” “in recovery” and “relapse” from your personal vocabulary;
  9. builds on your interests,
    strengths and abilities;
  10. celebrates your full recovery, however you define it.

Remember, any program, or individual practitioner (i.e., therapist, physician, psychiatrist, etc.) who orders AA as resource is ignorant as to how to combat alcohol abuse and will cause your drinking to get worse, not better, and exacerbate your real problems.

Care to discuss your individual situation and possible solutions? It’s a free call, email, and or consultation.