Saturday, July 23, 2016

These are the Rules for Changing the Drunk

   When you ask how to cure an alcoholic, you might as well ask how to change any person. So, come, seek the rules of change. What are they?
    You must give them hope, of course. You must give them belief. They must see that recovery is something that can be achieved. They must see it is possible to become sober. Tell them stories of people who have achieved it.
   You must build a dream in them, Tell them how wonderful it will be. Remind them how great it is to have a good job, or a lovely wife, if they have lost their wife. Remind them of the things they had when they were sober. Build in them a desire, a dream, a want.
   Encourage them. Take every small victory and hail it. If they stay sober long enough to read 10 pages in a good book, praise them. If they water the lawn, praise them. Praise the victories.
   Love them. It is said, love is the most powerful force in the world. Express your love. Shower them with it. Make it a sure thing that your love does not go unnoticed.
  Surround them with as many good influences as you can find. Good music? If you can, then get them listening to, and enjoying music that champions good things. If Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto" teaches them to care for the poor, then that is noble music, and might help shape them.
   Good music, good movies, good entertainment -- these things can help persuade them to do that which is good. Reading the scriptures. Reading good books. Whatever they will latch onto that is a good influence, encourage it. Going to church? If they will go, encourage it.
   Good influences also means removing them from friends who drink, and friends who party, and friends who aren't so good. It means, taking pornography out of their lives. It means, placing them in a good environment.
   Give them an example, someone to look up to, someone to pattern their life after.
   You must lead them through the steps of repentance, which are nothing if not rules of change. One, is that they recognize what they are doing. If they are sneaking out to buy a bottle of liquor each night, help them get to the point where they are honest about it. If they are drunk, but insist they are not, work with them to get them to where they will confess they are drunk.
   Get them to restore those things that are lost, when you can. If their drunkenness is leading them to hurt others, help them see as much, and encourage them to treat those people better. Encourage them to go back to those they have hurt, and seek to make amends.
   Help them forgive themselves. Don't hang their drunkenness over them. Don't treat them in a condemning way. If they sense you are condemning, they might continue to condemn themselves.
   Give them peace. For those of you who are religious, consider Christ's promise, "My peace I give unto you." He was seeking to change people, and it is noteworthy that he made having peace part of the way he went about changing them.
   Educate them. Teach them about alcoholism. Let them become experts on what leads to it, and what harms it bears, and how they can escape it.
  Give them alternatives. Give them other things to be involved with other than alcohol. Fill their lives with other activities, if you can. If they will work, get them into a job.
   Give them incentives, rewards for when they stay sober.
   Give them punishments? I ponder on that. I think it perhaps good. Perhaps have them sleep outside on the lawn when they are drunk. I'm not too good at forcing them to do so, but, just the same, I believe punishments might be helpful. Punishments, if you are careful not to take them too far, can be beneficial in bringing change.
   Lastly, and probably as important as anything, give them a place to practice being sober. Practice is one of the most basic principles of change. A person who wants to be a good football player, practices. A person who wants to become a good singer, practices. Likewise, if the drunk wants to become sober, he must practice. I don't know that anything is achieved without practice. In caring for the drunk, this is perhaps where the alcohol treatment center comes into play. There, they are deprived of the alcohol, and they practice being sober. Game day, though, doesn't come until they are released from the treatment facility.
   If they are not to go to a treatment facility, it seems that if they are to practice, then you almost have to be with them all of the day, watching them, discouraging them from drinking.
   Although I already said practice is the last thing I would mention, one more element comes to mind. Give them agency. You might think placing them in a detox center is the opposite of that. It is not. When they are deep into their alcoholism, that is when they are without agency. That is when they have no choice. They are addicted. They are servants to their bottles. They are not in their normal minds. So, sometimes it is that they need someone to help them out of their prison. Just as a child is ever watched to see that he does the right things, until reaching an age when they can make choices on their own, so it is with the drunk. He must be watched over to see that he does not drink until he has been sober enough long enough to make the choice for himself.
   The alcoholic needs to be freed from the bottle, before he is free to make his own choices.


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