How can people be responsible for drinking until they end up in a dumpster?


Further Reading

How does it make sense that a person would “choose” to wind up living in a dumpster?


Dear John:

Excellent question! But people do make choices, don’t you agree, to continue to drink, even after they have experienced problems? Doesn’t AA believe this? Because people do choose to quit. And why do they choose to continue drinking if it leads to such terrible consequences?

In AA, they suppose this is because the person has no sense that they have a drinking problem and that they are harming themselves so — they’re in denial. But is that really plausible, when — as in the case of George McGovern’s daughter — they have been in AA and treatment repeatedly, and have lost their families, and continue to drink until they kill themselves? I understand that people drink because in some way the experience of drinking provides the person with something — a sense of relief, acceptance, control, or something else superior to their ordinary experience. And the worse their lives become, the larger such rewards oft times loom. Why do you think someone continues to drink to obliteration who have been to AA and treatment repeatedly, and who see and have pointed out to them and acknowledge repeatedly the deficits they suffer due to their drinking — is it because they are in denial?


Stanton Peele

Stanton Peele , recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts by The Fix, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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