"Improving assertiveness and communication are among secrets to succeeding in sobriety. You have to do it out loud, though, not just between the covers of a book or in the sanctuary of your home. Put it into live practice. Moving from a social arena of dozens of monologues with no dialogue to an arena of healthy exchange puts you in a good position to thwart relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety.
Ultimately I am talking about day-to-day interaction, but to get there, individual therapy, group therapy and group self-help are effective resources most successfully recovering Alcoholics tap. The controlled environments are one way to meet the more intensive communication needs before trying out our new skills on the public at large, especially if we’ve pushed away from public interaction for a while.
Therapy, or counseling, is not for answers why Alcoholics drink. Every therapist will give you a different answer suited to their own bias and their own specialty. It is a disease: That’s enough explanation. The real value of counseling is unquestioned in the treatment of patients with the disease, just like it is for people suffering with cancer, not for the answer to why but for how to live with it and communicate through it.
Non-Alcoholics see a therapist for change.
Alcoholics see a therapist to see a therapist. To talk. We know there is no changing the disease. Instead of change-making, counseling is people-providing. There’s no miracle transformation when you leave the office: You’re still Alcoholic. But you’ve bettered your assertiveness skills, your communication.
People-providing probably does not require professional assistance, however too much is at stake when you struggle with sobriety to leave it to anyone but a pro. At least at first. And one-to-one or group therapy are safe first steps. If you can afford it or have insurance to cover it, one-to-one counseling is the most value you can purchase for your recovery.
Therapists have their critics but I’m not one of them. I have not met anyone, Alcoholic or non-Alcoholic who couldn’t stand to gain from talking with a professional. Hell, 74 percent of therapists have been or are in therapy! (W.E. Henry, The Fifth Profession, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA 1971) Even when life is good it can still have its slushy spots. Talking through them with a pro is critical to success in recovery.
Not everyone is at ease being verbal at first with a counselor. So write to yourself first. You may discover value in journaling on an ongoing basis, but at a minimum, writing down your feelings before the counseling helps you focus. It’s not about paragraphs or pages or punctuation. Writing helps you put yourself over your disease, establishing your superiority over it, because you realize a consciousness you never had while drinking. When you read what you wrote, you will understand what I mean."
— From Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud: Relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety, pgs 94-95
“Why drag about the corpse of your memory? Bring the past to judgment into the thousand-eyed present and live ever in a new day.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud, plus the new radio interview replay is available at alcohologist.com... and please read the new interview with Scott Stevens at Christoph Fisher Books. Mr. Fisher is an acclaimed international historical fiction novelist from the UK.