Drinking: A Slow Suicide

The Chronic Slipper: How To Help Those Who Continue to RelapseIf you asked a practicing alcoholic if he or she was trying to kill him or herself, the answer would be no. Few people in the midst of an addiction are coherent and self-aware enough to understand that their addiction is about more than a deep compulsion to engage in some behavior or intake some substance. All they know is that this “fix” seems to promise something better than the life they inhabit. Whether it is a high, an escape or some kind of boost, it tricks the addict into believing that it isn’t so bad and everyone needs to take the edge off from time to time. Is that so wrong?

Addiction and Denial

This is because addiction is characterized, first and foremost, by denial. By its very nature, addiction blinds the user to the reality of his or her condition. Addicts, steeped in alcohol, drugs or other destructive behaviors, fail to confront their deepest needs, hurts, traumas and shame. All they know is that using seems to bring some relief. And even when they reach the point at which there really isn’t all that much relief or escape to be had, and the pain has become excruciating, they have no means of stopping. Alcohol may not be “working,” but what else is there?

Addiction, at its root, is often an issue of self-hatred and loathing as well as a simple inability to cope with a life that seems unmanageable. Why else would we do that which only threatens to injure us, destroy our relationships and generally make life worse? It is for this reason that drinking is a slow suicide. The addict has, at some point, decided that regular life was impossible. He or she may not be willing to actually pull the trigger and commit the act of suicide, but instead embarks upon a long, slow march toward the end.

Dry vs. Thriving

Fighting alcoholism is about more than putting the cork in the bottle. It is about fighting the internal urge to not live, to not deal with life, to not feel. It is about reclaiming one’s instinct to not only survive, but to thrive; it is about becoming right with oneself and learning to cope with life in all of its facets, becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Fighting alcoholism is fighting to stand clean, forgiven, healed and restored before God and our fellows.

It isn’t an easy process and for one who has been slowly walking toward death with each drink gulped down, it will be hard to believe that such a turnaround would even be possible. It will be a challenge to conceive of a life of active living rather than passive dying.

Recovery Is Possible

But as millions have discovered – those who have stood at these very same crossroads – recovery from addiction is possible. It is possible to be dry and alive as well as sober and thriving. It is possible for those who have spent years passively pursuing suicide and escaping the business of life to begin to live actively and with zeal. These are the promises of recovery – not just wellness and healing, but hope and joy.

If you or someone close to you is killing him or herself with alcohol, suicide does not have to be the inevitable outcome. Sobriety is an opportunity to live and love life, to thrive, know freedom and be useful again. Seek a treatment program for alcoholism today.