Gandhi always knew how to nail a subject, and never better with the quote above when referring to alcohol addiction. Even the alcohol dependent sinner hates the sin that they are embroiled in.

Without becoming narcissistic, to recover you really must be able to love yourself. So many dependent drinkers are generous to the point of being insane with giving, sometimes driven by a desire to be loved, but often to appease their guilt. They are unable to get their heads around the blindly obvious fact to most that love them, they are worth the time and effort shown to get them better. Only when they stop externalizing trying to make themselves loveable, do they become able to get better.

This problem of guilt is exacerbated by counsellors with simply no experience of the affliction.
So why is assumed that those with University degrees in Psychology would have the remotest clue of what we alcoholic dependent past or present suffer? Academia was never a part of the illness, some of the most brilliant people succumb and can never unpick this. But given empathy there is a far greater chance of hitting the right button.

Recovery is rarely quantified either. I saw from a Detox clinic in Harrogate the claim that they had a 97% recovery rate. After 5 days of detox quite possibly, but there are no follow up stats after 6 months how their patients who were charged over £3,500 for those five days are faring. Myself and one other organization that I have the greatest respect for Gainsborough show that we have over 70% recovery after 6 months. What makes us so effective? Simply that we understand and empathise. We have no boxes to tick, no targets to meet, no bonuses to be awarded. Just a desire that no-one suffers the way we did. It’s hideous.

Perhaps if like Gandhi, more can understand that we had no control over this illness, perhaps the professionals would assume the humility that those of us who have overcome this, we could all work together combining both the clinical, holistic and practical skills that achieve a successful outcome.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…..

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.