One might easily ask change what, but anyone who has been to any AA meeting or has been through rehab will be well aware that people talk about change consistently, and present change as being perhaps the most important issue that anyone wanting to recover from alcoholism or any other addiction needs to address.
To anyone who isn’t an alcoholic but knows one, what that individual needs to change may well be fairly obvious.
It may start with their drinking, may well continue with their anger and their other emotional reactions to life.
The other person may or may not be aware that they cannot change the alcoholic, but can change themselves in terms of their approach to how they deal with them and help them or not.
Anyone entering a rehab or going directly to a meeting is likely at some level to be pretty terrified about the process, or what it involves doesn’t involve.
One of the underlying fears that may take a time to identify is the fear of living without alcohol.
This is not linked to where the reality of the alcoholism has taken them, it is simply an emotional attachment to alcohol that is likely to have been present for some time, and is likely to have got deeper the worse their alcoholism has progressed.
For many people who are alcoholics the idea of change is pretty terrifying.
It means letting go of the one thing that they believe has held them together most of the lives, which is alcohol, and letting go of the emotional coping mechanisms that have also held them together most of their lives.
For anyone entering rehab therefore, the notion of change can seem pretty terrifying and it is important for everyone to realise this.
People who are in recovery need to understand the process of change and the benefits that come with it and need to remember that this cannot be forced on an individual. Understanding where that individual is coming from and the fears that they are likely to have at some level is a crucial part of helping them feel safe enough to begin the process of recovery, of change.
The key, if there is one, to change is safety.
The individual needs at some level to be able to feel safe enough to begin to heal their inner world, the process that is key to their own long-term recovery. How an individual changes is a uniquely individual experience, and that change they will take time for them to fully appreciate.
Other people may see the change in them quicker than they stayed in themselves. However, the nature of change however it occurs, is that it is likely to happen only when the individual feels safe enough to really begin to deal with the underlying emotional drives that have fuelled their alcoholism.
For many people this is a incredibly scary process and takes some people much longer than others. Giving them time to process what they need is perhaps the greatest gift they can have.