It can take many years before an alcoholic reaches the point where they decide that they need to stop drinking. Some may never reach that point, partly because they have not “reached the bottom of the barrel”, and they will need to suffer a lot more before they accept that their life is too intolerable to continue on the same path. Some will never stop; they will continue on the road of self-destruction to the end.
When someone makes the decision to stop drinking, it is usually after many failed attempts to modify their consumption of alcohol, and also their behaviour. They are at a point where they accept that they need help, because they have a problem that is too big to handle on their own.
This is a critical moment, because they will have thought about this a lot, but not made the final decision to actually act on it. Their self-esteem will have hit rock-bottom. They will already have accepted the severity of their drinking problem and acknowledged to themselves that they need to take positive action, because they cannot continue suffering the way they have been.
The reason that this is a critical moment, is because, if they are unsuccessful in getting the help they need when they seek it, their enthusiasm will wane and they will jump back on the alcohol merry-go-round, and may never try to get off it again for months, years or never. The availability of addiction services where someone lives, can determine the final outcome.
A normal person will person will say “I am going to go to the pub tonight to get drunk”.
An alcoholic will say “I am going to the pub tonight, but I am not going to get drunk”.
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