A study on early view at the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research shows it’s not easy to keep your past in the past. Read More
This article was very enlightening and helpful for me. Thanks so much for writing it.
"One key function of treatment is working to uncover the unresolved experiences in your past that cause you to drink. Is there something in your past that makes you compensate with alcohol in the present? Only by working to resolve this past mistreatment can you truly move forward without feeling these needs, cravings and compulsions to drink."
Sure, therapy can help people understand why they drink. But does it actually work at removing the *consequences* of their abuse, and thus the "needs, cravings and compulsions"?
What I mean is, and to use an analogy you made in your post: can therapy *actually* regrow the head of the joy of people who were emotionally neglected? Or are they just stuck *understanding* that their joy's head has been cut off, and that's why they drink, blah blah blah?
Understanding why we have a need, a craving or a compulsion isn't enough to actually *eliminate* that need/craving/compulsion. Thus my question: does therapy work at eliminating those needs - or only at understanding what they are and where they come from?
eliminating, is not the goal. elimination of anything, is never the goal. being aware, recognizing and accepting, allows you to make choices that you may have not had before (when you didn't understand why you had a need, craving or compulsion- which by the way, never truly goes away- "once you've had it, there isn't life without it")
so once you can see why you wanted it, you can start to find reasons why you don't want it anymore. and you find your other "it" that drives you.
my two cents anyway.
I suffered from emotional neglect. Maybe emotional abuse, my mom and dad ignored me until I did something wrong, then they told me what a rotten kid I was.
Notice how they get the names mom and dad, but not parents. That is because parenting is a job and they didn't do it.
I learned to binge drink, that wasted about 20 years of my life. After that I was just drunk all the time. Finally I quit. I have depression, OCD, and social anxiety.
But I guess it wasn't a total loss, they got to have fun.
All I can say is, if you don't want a kid don't have one. I've chosen not to produce offspring. I don't think anyone who has led a life like I have would have children.
my mother abandoned me at birth......guess that's emotional and physical neglect
Then my father died when I was 9..a long, drawn out affair...nice..
So, additional second hand trauma of the first order
Then, care giver was, literally, a German from the war.....cold, distant, hypercritical; judgmental; perfectionist...so everything I did was wrong and subjected me to shipment to the orphanage
so....how do i drink? what are my alcohol "issues" ?
Can't stop when I start; want to start often; even though I want to stop forever, I want to feel better; l often drink to blackout; pass out;
How does knowing that my Dickensian childhood screwed me up..including drinking...help me stop? Doesn't it just encourage me to say: it's my destiny; I drink like this because of my screwed up childhood; doomed in childhood; doomed in adulthood... doomed..
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Richard Taite is CEO and founder of the Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center in Malibu, California and co-author of the book Ending Addiction for Good.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?