Personal Responsibility In Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Take a look in the mirror – see that person? That’s the one responsible for your alcohol recovery – good or bad.

BreakingFreeFromAlcoholismThe current state of your recovery path – it’s down to you.

Made a mistake and picked up? That’s yours too.

Emotionally triggered when someone offered you a drink at a social event? Yep, that’s yours.


Sobriety is tough to get right. It’s more of a bike-riding experience.

What I mean is, you have to find your balance.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re sober for the first time in….a long time.

Social group, employment, family relationships, living situation, finances of course….all this is the stuff of life, the stuff that the alcoholic version of us, was avoiding all those years. The stuff of…taking responsibility.

In the past we could mask responsibility by using alcohol. Then, later, by using the excuse that simply – I am an alcoholic, therefore, I can’t be trusted, or expected to carry responsibility. Why would you ask me to do that???? I’m an alcoholic.

Alcoholism can be our friend in more ways than one eh.


Personal Accountability In Alcohol Recovery

But once we wake up from the dream (nightmare?) – we need to get a grip on life, and that means, personal accountability.

Do you know any long term AA’ers, any stalwarts of recovery, who don’t take responsibility?

Me neither.

In fact, almost all of the dis-ease of alcoholism could be described by, not taking responsibility in life.

That’s a generalisation, yes, but it does explain what most alcoholics are missing when they first decide to commit to recovery, and where they want to be. Do you know any highly organised alcoholics that take full responsibility both for their lives, and their drinking? Me neither.

So how do we manage this? How do we successfully take responsibility in our lives, without alcohol.

The answer is….with a lot of support.

There is no recovering alcohol alive, who has made the journey alone. Isolation is a part-and-parcel pattern of the behaviour of an alcoholic. To isolate yourself, and expect to recover, is almost an oxymoron.


Alcoholism .v. Isolation

Carrying that isolation as a pattern, into recovery, will not serve you.

We must learn – re-learn – how to accept help from people – and, more importantly – how to ask.

In the asking itself, is the admission that simply “I can’t do this alone” – isn’t this what we were all so ashamed to admit, when the alcohol got us, so afraid to let go and admit our weakness?

So the long term recovery comes from a *multitude* of supports around us – for every situation.

If you’ve been in treatment already, you’ll know well what your triggers are – and what it takes to set you off.

It’s common sense therefore, to begin to set up a specific style of supports, that you can turn to, should those stressors occur again.

It’s difficult in itself, because, it involves an acknowledgement of the pain. And a recognition that to move through the pain, we *are* going to have to address it. And your unconscious will do anything to avoid that.


The Only Way Out Is Through

But, as we learned from the big book, there’s only one way round the mountain, and that’s *through*.

The fellowship of course embodies this approach.

The key is to surround yourself with support – yes – but supports that work for you, specifically.

One to one counselling for alcohol might be fine for some – but maybe you need more practical support.

My friend got help via Edinburgh Rehab Centre and panicked as everyone else but him got a sponsor very quickly – I explained – a sponsor can work for many – but perhaps a more spiritual approach is needed for your personal history, your relationship with alcohol, your conditionings, and associations to the booze.

The short answer is that the personal responsibility is yours to take if you want to recover….but help is available. You’ll be surprised, if you just ask 😊

Post contributed by Abbeycare Rehab Clinics.


How Much Of Alcohol Addiction Is Behavioural?

There are 2 kinds of alcohol addiction.

WomanBeachSunsetWhat I mean is, addiction functions in two different ways, and on two different levels, for all of us. Understanding this is an important part of alcoholism recovery.

Let me explain.


Physical Alcohol Addiction

Physical addiction and alcohol dependence develops from a very biological mechanism – the receptors in the brain become habituated to a certain amount of alcohol being consumed, and so increasing amounts of alcohol are required in order to achieve the same emotional feeling.

The same applies for drug misuse and drug rehab.

Essentially at this point if we detox or withdraw from alcohol or drug use, those same neuro receptors in the brain now not only do not have any of the original substance to stimulate the positive feelings, but they have less than they started with (effectively) since they had become used to the previous amounts, on a continuous basis.

The individual goes into what we label as alcohol withdrawal – with the characteristic physical and emotional symptoms that go with that – shaking, sweats, tremor, motor reactions distorted, etc


Emotional (or Behavioural) Addiction

Emotional addiction, and the behavioural mechanisms in alcohol addiction, occur much more subtly, and can be difficult to detect, and almost impossible for an alcoholic to perceive, or admit to.

Emotional addiction occurs when we adopt a way of being, or behaviour, consistently over time, that gets us a certain positive (and usually temporary) outcome.

It’s a means to get what we want in the short term, without facing up to the underlying issues which need to be addressed.

We all do this, in different ways, in our lives. An example from an alcoholic’s life could be – on one occasion, when his wife questions him re his drinking, he denies everything. When his wife is unconvinced, he becomes aggressive – in his unconscious mind – this is to protect his access to his coping mechanism. Upon seeing the aggression, his wife rescinds, and accepts his explanation.

It only takes a few repeats of this episode before the alcoholic’s unconscious mind learns “Ahhh – *this* is the way to continue to get access to my coping mechanism.”

Thereafter, upon any dispute about his drinking, the alcoholic becomes triggered into rage instantly – even himself completely unaware that behavioural dependence has occurred – he has started making behavioural modifications as a result of emotional addiction, and an underlying lack of willingness to face up to the issues behind his addiction – it becomes easier to avoid, lapse into coping mechanism behaviours, and act out, to protect access to his coping mechanism, than it is to admit responsibility, and get help.


How Much Is Too Much?

The question then becomes – how much of an alcoholic’s overall addiction – are these behavioural elements, designed to temporarily continue to be able to access alcohol – and how much is driven by the physical addiction to the substance of alcohol?

And I think you know the answer.

The reality is a mix of both, of course.

Usually the alcohol itself has been used as a coping mechanism on a short term basis or to relax from a particularly stressful set of circumstances in the past.

But even if addiction to alcohol as a coping mechanism doesn’t develop at this point, the awareness, at an unconscious level – that alcohol works – it works to help me relax without having to face up to my problems – has already begun.

And so it becomes much easier to turn to alcohol addiction again in future, when stressful events occur.

Once this happens, and the individual is drinking to cope again, it takes only a certain amount of consumption over time, to develop a dependence in the brain, as per our previous chemical explanation.

And then the behavioural mechanisms kick in to protect the *ongoing* access to the coping mechanism.


Overall Pattern Of Alcoholism

So the overall pattern in the alcoholic’s lifecycle is more likely explained by this pattern, over time:

Emotional Coping Mechanism for A Specific Episode –> Physical Dependence following ongoing exposure to alcohol –> Emotional/Behavioural dependence to protect ongoing access.

Does this resonate with you?



First post….much more on the way :)

Hello & a huuuuuuge welcome to, where we’re gonna cover the trending items in drug and alcohol recovery.

There’s a lot of talk on the web about recovery, but we plan to dig a bit deeper, and get in to the whys and wherefore’s, and not just become a standard news channel.

Are you in?

See you soon 🙂