Initially, life without alcohol seems unimaginable. For an alcoholic, daily life begins and ends with liquor. Alcoholism is not called a disease without good reason. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) endorses this fact.
Over a period of time, a person’s condition worsens. The book reorganized the world over, Alcoholics Anonymous (or The Big Book as it is popularly known as), predicts the fate of an alcoholic – asylum, jail or a painful horrible death.
But without the substance, there is an about-turn in a person’s life, which becomes more meaningful in every conceivable way. Most of the things that deserved priority, and were given least importance to, get revived once again, most of the times, for the better.
In this writer’s case, life changed completely. The scribe underwent a feeling of happiness, of sheer contentment, in all aspects of day-to-day affairs. This included eating, sleeping, physical activities; in general, life became more disciplined. A daily routine was formulated and followed to ensure the continuity of a satisfying, more productive life.
Another thing that was noted after some time was more clarity in the thinking process. As a result, the peace of mind improved to a great extent. An all-pervading sense of insecurity too ebbed away, regarding the self as well as in the family. So there was an improvement in the family life, which was noticed by all.
This led to an overall change n the behavior. In simpler words, the person’s overall personality improved with each passing day, much to the relief of all associated people.
In a significant development this scribe began attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings on a daily basis. This went strongly in favour of the recovery process, which is also termed as a lifelong, continuous process.
After the completion of attending 90 meetings in 90 days, an individual’s belief in AA turns into conviction, that usually lasts life-long. A sponsor is then sought out to guide through the twelve-step programme of AA.
A sponsor is defined as a mentor who guides the individual (called sponsee) through the twelve steps, as well as in difficult, indecisive moments.
Soon, the individual becomes more confident in dealing with issues without the artificial self-confident stupor that was alcohol-induced. Moreover, that feeling of irritability arising from stress slowly gives way to patience and tolerance. Prayer and meditation become a part of life, whatever the circumstances.
The significance of prayer can be seen here, such that each day begins and ends with prayer.
There is also an effort to derive pleasure through other means, such as sports, food, books, and the like. Therefore, there is a change in lifestyle, be it people, places or things. All things connected with alcohol are done away with.
Therefore, we can conclude our writing by stating that relapse prevention needs to be taken up at the highest priority. An individual has to take precautions for each and every moment of his/her life. The disease of alcoholism is waiting inside the alcoholic for the right moment to strike. When one understands the strength of the disease, only then can one know how to deal with it.
Such is relapse prevention.ss
contributed by R G Narayan -A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC