Recovery from Alcoholism


For recovery from alcoholism, there are many treatments and programs that exist to get alcoholics started on the road to recovery, not as many take into consideration the long term, years long, recovery needed. In fact, the term "recovery" is a bit misleading. It implies a return to normality that might not even be possible.

The wreckage that the disease leaves behind might mean that a full recovery from alcoholism isn't possible. Better is always on offer, but physical and relationship damage may not be. Some acts are permanent. A death caused by drunk driving will never completely heal, a divorce probably won't, and a criminal record stays forever. Sometimes, the best we can do is look forward and accept some scar tissue.

Another issue is that the alcoholic is usually focused on their own problem and recovery from alcoholism. While this is justified, those relationships we've harmed and the people we've sacrificed for the addiction aren't in the program with us. The 12 steps of AA do address this problem, but it's ongoing. There will be little chance of ever entirely leaving the reputation of being a "drunk" behind.

For many, this failure of the world beyond them to change as much as they did is a disappointment. Realistically, we have to accept the world as it is, including those parts which will never heal. Alcohol causes physical damage that doesn't just go away with sobriety either. It is likely an alcoholic in recovery will still die younger than they would have if alcohol had never entered their lives. Their body has suffered real damage and there are real scars to go with the emotional ones.

Is recovery from alcoholism still worth it? OF COURSE IT IS. But real recovery from alcoholism is ongoing and accepts the limitations. We are after the best life we can have, not the best life.

One day at a time refers to more than just not drinking. It applies to all those things for which we need the strength to overcome disappointment. Long term recovery from alcoholism has to be based on truth, and that truth includes a willingness to honestly separate the possible from the impossible. Getting into the truth habit might be the highest goal of initial recovery from alcoholism; keeping that habit alive the goal for the long haul.

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