A Psychologist who think's drinking is a choice and I should 'just control it'.

Hi. Ok. Something is REALLY bothering me, I've been sitting on it for a few days now - telling myself that it's 'just a comment' and I don't need to worry about it. Except this comment comes from a Clinical PSYCHOLOGIST. My husband went to 'our session' alone (he was a champ, I just didn't feel like going).

So, my husband tells said Psychologist that I have quit drinking and I'm (at the time) up to two weeks. When my husband relays this story to me, I'm expecting to hear some sort of wonderful praise, my own ego perhaps? But no. My husband tells me that the Psychologist says he 'doesn't get it', 'it's my choice to drink'. My husband explains I 'have no off switch'. Psychologist points out that I 'choose to pick up the bottle, I can choose to put it down after one or two' and long story short that there is no excuse for my drinking.

Now, on the one hand I do agree - I take responsibility, I made the choice to pick up that first drink each day for many years. On the other hand, his comments truthfully enraged me. Alcohol impacts our decision making and is a toxic addictive substance - that is why rational thought disappears and we find ourselves making choices we wouldn't have without an alcoholic drink. Tolerance develops, drinking us to want more and more and then eventually we begin to experience mild withdrawal symptoms once we are dependent. Isn't this reasonably basic knowledge? At the risk of sounding arrogant!

Is it just me? Am I missing something? I'm also asking myself, why is this bothering me SO much? I think it's because it's not easy being addicted to a substance but it possibly feels even harder to be misunderstood. We are all driven, in some form, to seek connection - to want to be accepted. I am someone who deeply struggles when I am misunderstood. It also concerns me that a qualified (extremely experienced) professional 'appears' to have a lack of understanding for addictions, to reduce it to the simple act of choice. I believe genetics do play a PART for some individuals with alcoholism. I have had a family member die of alcoholism - this is not an excuse for me but (just as Kirstin Davis is!), I am mindful of my family genetics.

I'm trying to practice mindfulness and 'letting this go', hopefully posting about this on my blog will help. I really felt like emailing said Psychologist and telling him exactly how NOT EASY addiction feels but I choose to learn to sit with this discomfort, as people are always going to have differing opinions and I'm going to learn to need to 'sit with that'.

I'd love to know your thoughts and whether you find the Psychologists comments also don't sit well with you?

Stay sober,

IJCD
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Comments

  1. I agree whole hardheartedly with you! How the psychologis could so narrowly make a statement like that to your husband seems very unprofessional; however, not being there to hear the psychologist say this, is it possible your husband may have repeated it incorrectly? I've been trying to get 100% sober since April 2015, and if I had been told something similar, I'd be feeling exactly as you are. But now, the longer I go sober, I find I process information differently, and I try to let such statements and/comments along those lines go. It's taken time for me to realize, but "we" are in control of how we feel and think. Believe me, I don't always default to this way of thinking, but when I do, it's better for me.

    Hold on, because this is a tough ride to get used to at first, but you can do it. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lia,

      Thank you for your encouraging comment - I totally agree with you that my husband may have interpreted it wrong. Having seen the Psychologist before, it struck me as something he may have said - haha. I am feeling much better about it now, you no doubt know the up-down-up emotional ride I am on. It always help to see things from a different perspective and it's so lovely to get comments - so thank you and a big congrats to you on coming up to 2 years of sobriety!

      IJCD
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