It was amazingly simple, a stroke of brilliance, really. No twelve step program needed. I should have known earlier how to do it, since I had used the same technique to magically eradicate Chris’s so-called schizophrenia and to lose the “baby fat” that I was still carrying around in my late twenties. I’m sure you’ve already guessed what I’m about to say. All I did was to stop feeling worried and guilty. Magic. An overnight cure! I wasn’t drinking any less, I was merely feeling not at all guilty — in fact, I was feeling quite enthusiastic —about what I was drinking. Sure, I still over-indulge on occasion, but I am no longer berating myself while pouring red wine into increasingly smaller beakers and trying to pretend that I can stretch one unit of alcohol to last all evening! Tried that – it was a constant reminder that I thought I had a problem. Luckily I live in a culture that values the grape. School events that I attended on behalf of my children always served beer and wine, although they may have put a stop to that now. Church dinners are always B.Y.O.B. Gas stations often come equipped with bars (I swear I’m not making this up!) There seems to be no cultural guilt trip here about the merits of drinking.
Perhaps I am suffering from agnosognia, the inability to recognize that I’ve got problems – but hey – so what? I’m enjoying myself these days. I enjoy myself by refusing to read medical news. It’s all so contradictory, anyway, and I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. Take coffee for example. My boss gleefully informed me the other day that research now shows that three cups of coffee a day adds to longevity. His coffee addiction (three cups) is obviously no longer a problem to him. Presto chango.
If the DSM-5 expansion of the criteria for addiction takes hold, there is a simple solution, the same as there is for “schizophrenia.” Don’t consider your addiction a problem, because you can waste much time and valuable creative resources not really fixing the problem, just making yourself feel the worse for it.
Have a good week-end!