Why Can’t The Alcoholic See What is Happening?
Everyone ELSE can see what is happening. So, why can't they? Here are a few reasons:
- Social dependence distorts my perception of what is normal. Everyone in my group is living the same way that I am. My way of living is just NORMAL!
- Enabling removes some of the consequences. For years people around me covered up for me, made excuses for me, bailed me out, reduced the pain and the consequences of my choices. Then they wonder why I can’t see that my problems are related to my choices.
- My psychological defenses trick me (and yours trick you). Even if I get fired, expelled, divorced or abandoned, it is their fault, not mine.
- State dependent learning removes the impact by the time I’m sober again. The pain, embarrassment, and shame that I may experience while intoxicated is very real at the time. When sober, it’s just a hazy fog. Addiction can be tricky that way.
- Withdrawal learning confirms my distorted view. What happens when I stop drinking? I get sick—sometimes VERY sick! When I drink again, I get “well.” So, drinking saves my life!
- Impaired abstract thinking blocks understanding cause and effect. Drinking impairs the brain’s ability to link cause and effect. Problems don’t occur EVERY time I drink!
- Memory blackouts erase some of the problems. If I get in a fight when I’m drunk, my blackout prevents me from remembering the occurrence. To me, it didn’t happen, no matter what other people say or do.
These are just a few of the possible reasons why the alcoholic can't see what is happening. Of course, there are more.