Can Alcoholism be Cured?
The short answer to the question; can alcoholism be cured, is yes. However, I believe in this particular case the term cure is somewhat misplaced. Cure is defined as a substance or treatment that relieves a person of disease or condition. The definition itself, as it relates to alcoholism, warrants further investigation rather than offering a definitive answer. If we are to answer the question; can alcoholism be cured, then we must also answer whether alcoholism is a disease.
Is Alcoholism a Disease?
Disease is defined as a physical malady, disorder, or condition that can be pathologically diagnosed and treated. Illnesses and afflictions such as bacterial and viral infections, cancers, and tuberculosis meet those criteria. Mental conditions such as anxiety and depression do not qualify as diseases because they can not be pathologically diagnosed and are purely subjective in nature. Behaviors stray even further from the criterion because, in reality, they are normally a matter of choice. So, in what category should alcoholism be classified? In 1956, The American Medical Association (AMA) declared that alcoholism was a disease, yet to date, there is no empirical evidence to support that claim. It is essentially just a theory and a poor one at that. In fact, many studies have shown that a majority of physicians do not believe that alcoholism is a disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism (NIAAA) references alcohol use disorder as a chronic, relapsing, brain disease. It’s sister organization, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), offers one brain scan after another, highlighting the changes in brain chemistry caused by drug and alcohol abuse. However, these scans merely demonstrate the effect, not the cause. To make a leap from effect to cause, based on this information, is nothing short of fictional science. In my opinion, alcohol abuse is a behavior. Can alcoholism be cured? You bet it can, although not in conventional terms.
Conventional Treatment for Curing Alcoholism
For over 70 years, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been the primary method for treating alcoholism. To date, 95 percent of all treatment centers in the U.S. use the 12-Step Program as a primary modality. So, whether you join AA or participate in specialized alcohol treatment, for the most part, we are talking about the same method. In his article “The Sober Truth about AA,” published on Psychology Today, Dr. Lance Dodes, Psychiatrist, author, and director of the substance abuse treatment unit at Harvard’s McLean Hospital, clearly states that the Twelve-Step Program of AA has a success rate of 5-10 percent. Despite that extremely poor rate of success, mainstream recovery seems determined to stay the course. The truth is; neither Alcoholics Anonymous nor specialized alcohol treatment was designed for participant success. They were designed for organizational success. If you call alcoholism a disease, then insurance carriers are more likely to cover treatments. If you call alcohol use disorder a chronic, relapsing, brain disease, that suggests multiple treatment programs will be required for each participant. These positions fuel the mainstream recovery bottom line and does very little to authentically help participates overcome alcoholism. Can alcoholism be cured with conventional treatment? The odds of success are extremely low.
Medication Assisted Treatment for Curing Alcoholism
Medication assisted treatment is the use of medications, in many cases psychoactive compounds, combined with behavioral therapies to treat substance abuse disorder – specifically Naltrexone, Antabuse and Campral. Despite the behavioral therapy, many patients continue with the medication assisted treatment. In my mind, this prompts an important question; isn’t this method tantamount to trading one drug or psychoactive compound for another? In my opinion, that is exactly what it is. This fuels mainstream recovery and pharmaceutical industry profitability. It does little to help the participant. Can alcoholism be cured with medication assisted treatment? If you define trading one drug for another as a cure, then yes. Since one is still addicted, I don’t believe they are cured.
The Alcoholism Machine
As you may have surmised, I do not subscribe to the alcoholism disease theory. After ten years of research, and 8 years plus working as an addition recovery coach, I have concluded that alcoholism is a form of emotional escape. I have also concluded that alcoholism is a four-part machine, which is comprised of gears that interlock, or mesh together, to form the need for emotional escape. Below is a brief outline of the alcoholism machine:
1. The Generators
Patterns of family, relationship dynamics such as control, part-time parenting, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, and substance-abusive parenting form the basis for destructive drinking and mesh with the other gears. To learn how to overcome alcoholism, successfully, you must set some boundaries and change the relationship dynamics.
2. The Catalyzers
Self-esteem, personal power, and personal identity are negatively charged and feed the Paralyzers and Drivers. To cure alcoholism, you must change the Catalyzers from a negative charge to a positive charge.
3. The Paralyzers
Emotional deterrents such as fear or anger freeze many people in their tracks, preventing them from making positive change. Personal agendas and false narratives provide an excuse to put the drinking pedal to the metal. If you want to learn how to beat alcoholism, you must remove the emotional deterrents and give up the false narratives and agendas.
4. The Drivers
Anxiety, emotional distress and depression are the Drivers of alcoholism. When these emotional states reach tipping points, alcohol is used to alleviate symptoms. This can also be described as self-medication. If learning how to cure alcoholism on your own is the goal, then you must put your emotions in check by eliminating the drivers.
5 Steps to Stop Drinking
Step 1 – Unearth and Eliminate the Generators:
Based on my research and experience, I have learned that alcoholism is generated in family, relationship dynamics. Various patterns such as control, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, part-time-parenting and substance–abusive parenting form the basis for alcohol dependency. To learn how to stop drinking alcohol, it is imperative that you address these issues.
Step 2 – Change the Catalyzers:
Self-esteem, personal power, and personal identity are negatively charged and feed the Paralyzers and drivers. In contrast to the AA principle of powerlessness, you must boost self-esteem, take back personal power, and establish personal identity to achieve full and authentic recovery.
Step 3 – Remove the Paralyzers:
Emotional deterrents such as fear or anger freeze many people in their tracks, preventing them from making positive change. Personal agendas and false narratives provide an excuse to put the drinking pedal to the metal. If you want to learn how to quit drinking, then you must remove the deterrents and give up the narratives and agendas.
Step 4 – Dismantle the Drivers:
Anxiety, emotional distress and depression are the drivers of alcoholism. When these emotional states reach tipping points, alcohol is used to alleviate symptoms. This can also be described as self-medication. As feelings of worry, dread, stress or hopelessness mount, and coping mechanisms fail, alcohol is used as a means of escape. To quit drinking alcohol for good, you must dismantle these drivers.
Step 5 – Unlock & Implement Life Purpose:
When living a life without meaning or purpose, one begins to question whether life is worth living at all. When failure is a regular occurrence, and success fades further off into the distance, frustration usually mounts. This is often fed by the Paralyzer, anger, which has been formed by a Generator. In either case, regardless whether it is anxiety or depression, unlocking and implementing meaning/purpose is crucial when you want to learn how to overcome alcoholism with AA or rehab.
Can alcoholism be cured with these 5 steps? Yes, it can. However, achieving success requires some courage and a bit of rather tough personal development work. Are you ready to kick your destructive drinking to the curb?
For the complete, 5-step plan, download my free e-guide “Stop Drinking Secrets, Revealed” on the home page.
For additional reading, check out my other posts below: