Do alcoholics LIKE alcohol?

About 20 years ago, speaking to a group of addiction counselors assembled at a national conference on addiction, I asked this question.alcohol, alcoholic, alcoholism, recovery

I was met with incredulous stares and virtually everyone in the room raised their hands affirming their belief that alcoholics like alcohol.  What other answer could there possibly be?

They were somewhat surprised when I told them how wrong they were… but now I’d gained their attention.

Alcoholics do not like alcohol.  They love the stuff.

Normal drinkers like alcohol.  They enjoy the effect, the taste, the bouquet, and the ritual and conviviality associated with consumption.  They drink, enjoy, and move on into the rest of their evening, their week, their lives — not thinking about drinking until the next socially or situationally-appropriate occasion arises.

Alcoholics have a pathological love of the effect of their drink and, over time, matters such as taste, aroma, ritual and social context become less and less significant.

In fact, over time, the alcohol occupies the center point of the alcoholic’s life, obliterating relationships, jobs, interests, and ultimately, the health of the alcoholic.  Booze becomes the organizing element, the reason for being, in the ever-degrading alcoholic life.

For those of us who treat alcoholism and who believe that recovery from it is possible, it’s critical that we understand the grief that occurs when we ask someone to abandon the only source of relief that they know and, in some strange and twisted way, the most trusted “friend” they have.

We do understand that, and try to assist our clients in establishing recovery with the knowledge, delicacy, and understanding that the job requires.

- Mark B. Dunay, LICSW, LADC 1

On October 1, 2013, posted in: 12 Steps, AA, addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, recovery by
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