Psychodynamic Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

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

Without becoming narcissistic, to recover you really have to be able to love yourself. So many practising alcoholics 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 that to those who clearly love them – they are really worth the time and effort shown to get them better. Only when they stop externalising trying to make themselves loveable, do they become able to recover.

This problem of guilt is exacerbated by counsellors with simply no experience of the affliction.

Over the last couple of weeks we have had fabulous coverage of the Olympics by veteran athletes, Dame Kelly Holmes, Brendon Foster, John McEnroe et al, who as far as I know, never got a degree in journalism, but knew about the dedication, sacrifice, guts and glory of those taking part.

So why is assumed that those with University degrees in psychology would have the remotest clue of what we alcoholics suffer? Academia was never a part of the disease, 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. AA, even in its rather antiquated way, has more success than most expensive shrinks.

Recovery is rarely quantified either. I saw from a detox clinic in Harrogate the claim that they had a 97% recovery rate, 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 organisation 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 is one of the most hideous diseases ever. When I was recovering from breast cancer, I was told that I was courageous and brave. Believe me, it took far more courage to recover from this addiction of body, mind and soul.

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

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…..



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