Accepting unacceptable behaviour

The term unacceptable behaviour is one that will ring true to many people, both those who are alcoholics themselves and families of alcoholics or people have been affected by someone else’s alcoholism.

A rehab/treatment center will help an alcoholic to begin the process of owning his own behaviour and how it has affected his life and other people’s lives.

The term unacceptable behaviour may vary considerably from person to person as to exactly what it means.

It is often said in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, that alcoholics learn to accept unacceptable behaviour from themselves as a means of continuing to be able to drink, without consciously having to own consequences of that drinking.

The process of recovery that begins in a rehab/treatment center will look at the issues surrounding the denial that an alcoholic has of his drinking, and how the nature of his behaviour changes over time.

The consequences of someones drinking has one very clear affects on the people involved – that the person has ended up in a rehab/treatment center is evident that to some extent his life has become unmanageable.

It would be a mistake to assume that behaviour, however bad it may get, acts as a warning flag to an alcoholic. Most of the time it doesn’t. Learning to accept unacceptable behaviour is part of the process of being able to continue with the need to drink without having a sense of what the consequences are.

Most people assume that someone goes to a rehab/treatment center in order to learn either how to stop drinking or how to get sober and stay sober.

This is true but the work that should go on in a rehab and should be continued in Alcoholics Anonymous afterwards mainly focuses on the emotional and mental attitudes and condition of the person involved. It is often said at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous that someone who suffers from alcoholism/alcohol abuse uses alcohol as a way of holding themselves together.

The worse things get, the more the person needs to drink. A rehab/treatment center should be a safe place at some level where the alcoholic can begin the process of unpicking the various threads, emotionall,y that have held them together and have been in a sense the ism of the alcoholism.

The focus of a rehab/treatment center will primarily be upon generating an awareness in the alcoholic of the nature of alcoholism and how his or her life will have been affected by it.

There is a sense that the nature of a rehab/treatment center is a bit of a bubble, and is in some ways either too threatening or not threatening enough for the person to really own their behaviour.

Thus it is often said that perhaps the best and most lasting effect of being in a rehab is that the person has been exposed to the reality of their illness, either directly in the rehab/treatment center or by virtue of having been taken to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

It is this exposure that ultimately gives someone a sense of the reality of their life and it is then their choice as to what they do with it. Whether this reality begins to be understood in a rehab/treatment center or in a meeting ultimately makes little difference.


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