In a recent online discussion of what type of treatment works best with alcoholics, addiction recovery coach Allistair Rhind stated that-
Alcoholics are immune to all forms of treatment when they are not ready to quit, and when they are ready to really quit, then a wide variety of approaches will benefit them.
At his website he lists 7 stages of getting ready to quit, saying that while the journey from step 1 to step 7 is inevitable, the “questions are: will there be enough time to complete the journey? What damage and losses will occur before the individual finally gets to the last stop?”
Good questions. Scary questions. In looking at them, it seems like we may cycle through them many times, moving from denial to resistance to desperation and surrender, then back into denial.
1. DENIAL: There is nothing wrong with me; I don’t have a problem; I don’t need to change. It is everyone else that is out of sync. If only they would get off my back and leave well alone then there would be no problem.
2. AMBIVALENCE: I am in two minds about this. Sometimes I think that maybe I should do something about this. But mostly my mind is thinking positively about it.
3. RESISTANCE: Why should I have to change? Why am I different? I will sort this thing out my way, so just get off my back.
4. RELUCTANT COMPLIANCE: OK, OK, I will do what you want. I will go and see that Counselor or whatever he calls himself. I will see if he can fix me (and in the process maybe that will fix your nagging)
5. SURRENDER: I am really beaten by this thing; I just can’t take any more. I really have to quit.
6. ACCEPTANCE: I realize that this is no longer working for me and I really have had enough. I am looking forward to being free of this behavior and this overpowering need.
7. ACTION: I am ready to quit now and to give this thing up for good. I will do what it takes. I am sick and tired of it all and I really hate my addictive behavior/substance. I am willing to change and move on. What help can I get?
Many of us may believe that we are at step #7, the day after New Year’s. What we do next to get the support we need will probably determine how successful we are and keep us from starting all over with #1-Denial, after the memory of the hangover is gone.