10 February 2014

Denial

I see Paul Gascoigne's back in rehab. His sobriety didn't last very long, despite the TV programme I saw on him a while ago, where he seemed to be doing well. "Seemed" being the operative word. The trouble is that a lot of alcoholics seem to think that once they have kicked the habit, they'll be all right to have the occasional drink after that. They seem to think their addiction has been knocked on the head once and for all and they are back to being like the rest of the human race. They seem to think they can make their own choices.

Greg seemed to think that too. He would always say after one of his hospital stays, when he emerged reborn, off the drink and much healthier, that the occasional social drink, the occasional drink with his Sunday dinner, the infrequent get-together with his old work pals would do no harm.

Denial is a huge factor in alcoholism. The alcoholic will deny they have a problem, that they  don't drink heavily, that they can stop whenever they want to (they just don't wish to), that they are not causing problems, are not hurting their family etc etc etc. Once they have finally admitted it, gone through detox and rehab, they are often still in denial ... they think they can go back to drinking "normally"  as and when they want like the next man. Their families are often in denial too. I admit I was. I didn't want to admit Greg was an alcoholic, that he had a problem, that it was causing us problems. The search for another reason often takes a long while, until the truth finally dawns.

The fact is that an alcoholic once made sober again, be it from a hospital stay, detox, rehab or whatever, can never touch the stuff again. Not even one solitary glass. Because their addiction will grab them by the throat and lead them back down the path to alcoholism once more, quicker than you can say "hangover". That's the bit a lot of them just can't get. Whether you are rich or poor, famous or not. Sadly, Paul Gascoigne still hasn't got it.

12 comments:

Nota Bene said...

I hadn't seen Paul Gascoigne's latest.. It's a shame, but no more so than for any other alcoholic. I assume the denial thing is the same for any one with any sort of addiction...

Hippo said...

So true. It is that ever present, insistent and very persuasive little voice in the back of my head that says. 'Go on, one won't hurt...'

K Ville said...

oh I know, he can always 'not have a drink if he wanted to but he wants to' is my OHs favourite shout back. He isn't dependent he just wants a drink. 'A' wouldn't be a problem. The frustration watching it is almost indescribable. Paul Gascoigne was so full of his receovery on Piers Morgan. He will lose the battle with it in the end, it seems almost inevitable. What a waste.

Flowerpot said...

It's so difficult isn't it? I do feel for him and his family and friends.

Isabelle said...

So sad. I do think alcoholism is so particularly rotten in that no one expects to become addicted. If people smoke, then they know they'll get addicted, but most people drink a bit and don't get addicted at all. So those who do - well, it couldn't have been predicted.

DD's Diary said...

Very sad. He's going the way of George Best, alas.

Furtheron said...

I went to a meeting last night and met a guy who a few months ago I thought "had it" - been stopped a good while, over a year but... last night, he was clean, sober and healthy but beaten again. The "I can just have a couple" idea came to him and several weeks of off the scale later he is back at the start.

You never can tell who gets it or who doesn't - I know those who've started after decades off it...

One is too many 1000 never enough... I have to remind myself that every time I think I may be normal. Btw that thought comes in unbidden, I know I'm an alcoholic and cannot drink safely still my mind somewhere goes "oh yes you can" from time to time. Honestly it is like being schizophrenic I imagine as it is my voice but not my real belief but it sure is powerful, tempting and I work hard to ignore it

janerowena said...

My ex-husband is an alcoholic, he did the classic thing of running off with the barmaid at our local pub after eighteen years of marriage. I was relieved. In his efforts to make me out a liar, he stayed off the booze for a couple of years. 20 years later, she runs the pubs, he is dished out pocket-money because she can't trust him, and my daughter, who lives nearby is phoned on a regular basis and has to tell him to go to bed when he is being obnoxious to the customers, because he won't listen to anyone else. Everyone has to tiptoe around an alcoholic, it's very hard.

Ellen said...

It's so sad that every word you said is true. It's a vicious, relentless disease and I have huge respect for those who fight it every minute of the day. I just hope that Paul Gascoigne's instinct for survival is strong enough to slay his demons.

pinafive said...

Very true. The nature of alcoholism is that just one drink will deactivate the addictive pathway. As they say in AA, one's too many, a thusand's never enough.

It took this recovering alcoholic YEARS and countless relapses to admit I could never "just have one". Thank the stars I've grasped that concept now and I'm six months off the grog and off that horrible roundabout.

When it comes to who will be lucky like me and able to grasp sobriety, it seems like a roll of the dice. Intelligence, age, social status have no bearing on it. Greg was clearly a clever man and I am sorry he was not able to get a hold of long term sobriety, for himself, you and Kay.

pinafive said...

Sorry, that should have been ACTIVATE, not deactivate

Donnie Benson said...

Denial is one of the most common barriers you face when reaching out to an alcoholic. I do agree that most of them don’t want to accept the fact that they had a problem. They even reject the fact that they were in desperate need of rehabilitation. In my opinion, whatever the case may be, it’s important to continue persuading them to get some help, either by rehabilitation or psychological support, in order for them to recover as soon as possible. Anyway, thanks for sharing those awesome thoughts, Addy. :)

Donnie Benson @ Midwest Institute