Why the need for certainty ?

The need for certainty in life may often present itself as a need for total security or total safety, and may seem a very natural and obvious need that many people strive for.

When dealing with alcoholism and people who have entered a rehab, this question of the need for certainty takes on a very different context.

There are two specific areas of concern that need to be addressed upon entering a rehab.

Firstly is where this need for a total sense of certainty has come from, and secondly what this supposed need has led the alcoholic to become in terms of their attitudes and behaviours.

Whilst there are no statistics to back this up, there is a general acknowledgement amongst the world of people who work in alcoholism, and people in AA, that a significant number of alcoholics were born into and/or grew up in alcoholic homes.

An alcoholic home, as a general term, refers to a home where one or more of the parents or even possibly grandparents or significant others were or are active alcoholics.

The importance of this, is the effect it has on the alcoholic themselves, both in childhood and much later in adult life.

The nature of growing up in an alcoholic home for most people manifests itself in the feeling of a lack of safety, a lack of certainty about anything.

This lack of permanence leads the child or kid to crave some level of safety, security or certainty.

They will often take this need for safety or certainty to extreme levels, often to areas where they feel they have some level of control over.

When entering a rehab many years later, that feeling of certainty safety and control will most likely have evaporated.

Obviously this need for certainty is not restricted to people who have grown up in alcoholic homes. Any child who has grown up in a home where parents have not provided that sense of safety for whatever reason will have similar issues.

Whilst this may not cause a person to drink or become addicted to substances, this lack of safety or certainty will provide a huge emotional drive for that person to try and provide that sense of safety for themselves.

This virtually always manifests itself in a need for certainty, which is itself an illusion.

Part of the job of a rehab is, in a very short period of time, provide some of the insights into the emotional drives of the alcoholic that can help them come to terms with their illness, and help begin the process of freeing them from some of the more destructive elements of those emotional drives.

The willingness to look at these things has to come from within the person themselves, and often the time spent in a rehab is too short to really come to terms with that. In that context the people who work in a rehab, in a therapeutic nature, will realise that the most they can do is provide some context for the alcoholic, without giving them a belief that those conditions caused them to drink.

It is always difficult to generalise about what a rehab should or should not do, but it is certainly true to say that the very nature of a rehab does provide some temporary certainty, albeit for a short period of time.

This period of time can be best used at different levels by different people.

The effectiveness of the work done in a rehab, both therapeutically and spiritually, will depends to a large extent on the approach taken by the alcoholic entering a rehab, and by the people who work there.

The benefit of that work or its effectiveness will not be known for probably quite a while after the person has left rehab, and hopefully been able to rebuild their inner world within a safe environment where they have been able to stay sober.