After being away from home for 28 days and undergoing the rigors of daily therapy, meetings, new friendships replete with deep conversations and, depending upon the location, perhaps having to decide what recreational options to choose for the day and whether yoga or acupuncture* would be better to rid yourself from the daily grind of working on yourself and getting better … and now home, the alcoholic often expects to be greeted with open arms,but instead gets anger, resentment, the cold shoulder and lots and lots of very pointed questions such as: “I was looking through the bank statements and am curious what the hell you spent 1,043.14 last month while you were supposed to be working overtime.” Or, “I was going through your computer history.”
The alcoholic replies,“But…”
And then the kicker, “there is a futon for you in the basement.”
Defensively, comes your reply comes, “… listen, don’t blame everything on me.”
“Oh, I see, now you are going to blame me. I thought you were working on yourself. Well you need to go do some more work, but not away, here, where the bills, kids and bill collectors all reside. I didn’t get to go away like you did.”u
The newly recovering person often thinks it is oh so unfair.
The truth of the matter is that for a high percentage of alcoholics, alcoholism and self-centeredness have gone together for a very long time and this has all been supported by a personally trained staff of enablers. The problem with this is that what gets most alcoholics into rehab is not the personal enlightenment that they must do something about this problem and that life would be so much better without alcohol. What gets most alcoholics sober is that the support staff of spouse, bosses, judges and the like, suddenly say, “enough.” And when it comes to our spouse, they may even resent that strangers seem to be doing for you what you have rejected from them.
It is really cold water in the face. But, they are done.
The good news is that for many, the process of becoming sober is the process of realizing that while your feelings are important to you, the people whose feelings you have unwittingly trampled are important to them as well. The quicker the newly recovering person will realize this and stop blaming others, the quicker the futon can go into storage.
*Granted, not all rehabs have all of these options, but many do and being deprived of Yoga and accupunture is not going to change the overall argument too much.