For me, and Iím pretty sure this applies to most addicts out there, alcoholism was all about denial. I denied that I had a problem, I denied that I needed help, I denied that my whole life was going down the drain as the alcoholism exacerbated to the point in which†it took over completely, and I denied that drinking was making things worse rather than helping me cope. Iím guessing that I couldíve been free of the addiction much sooner had I realized that I was lying to myself.
Unfortunately, it took me years to correct the unhealthy behavior and even now, after years of sobriety, I catch myself trying to rationalize faulty thinking patterns into existence. Just yesterday I found myself thinking that maybe I could relearn to drink in social contexts. Fortunately, dismissing this category of judgment is Rehab 101. However, the simple fact that the idea came to mind goes to show you that youíre never really 100% safe. I started reminiscing about other lies I told myself during my alcoholism period and I thought Iíd share them with you
I can sober up instantly with a cup of strong coffee
While now I find the concept laughable, that used to be my justification for heavily drinking soon before an important event in my life. Oh, thereís a big meeting with the board of directors in the morning and Iím still in the bar at 5 A.M.? No problem, Iíll just finish my drink, put on a pot of coffee, pop in the shower and Iíll be fresh as a daisy in no time! I was ignoring the fact that neither the coffee nor the shower helped my body process and eliminate the alcohol. I was still drunk during the meeting, just slightly more alert and agitated.
I can drink more than usual because I had a big meal
Whenever I didnít feel like leaving the bar in spite of having clearly reached my limit, I justified my ďone more beerĒ by telling myself that the larger meal I had earlier would prevent me from getting intoxicated. Thatís also pretty ridiculous, because if you think about it, the alcohol amount in your body isnít going to be absorbed by the food and magically disappear. However, because the absorption was slower and therefore the drunkenness installed later on, I easily rationalized this concept and drank more than I could handle.
Iím not an alcoholic, I only drink beer †
The classical ďIím not into hard liquor, so Iím not an alcoholicĒ was another way to justify my drinking whenever someone confronted me about it. The fact of the matter is that if you habitually indulge in drinking to the point in which†you become intoxicated, then youíre either an alcoholic or at the very least well on your way to become one. It doesnít really make much of a difference whether you drink 5-6 beers or 3-4 glasses of whiskey, the amount of ethanol you ingest and its effects are largely the same.
I only managed to kick the habit for good after learning how to stop living in denial and lying to myself. If you recognize yourself in the description or perhaps have your own similar rationalization patterns, then perhaps it would be wise to seek therapy. Iím glad I did!