Why does the alcoholic resist change even when his life is falling apart, his health is deteriorating, after jobs and relationships and even freedom has been sacrificed?
In part, because he recalls how good it once made him feel.
How Alcoholics Think About Drinking
To the family, alcohol may seem like the cause of problems. But to the alcoholic, it remains a friend. Most are able to summon up a positive memory of the way things used to be, before the problems set in. Psychologists sometimes call it euphoric recall. Every addict has a fund of positive experiences that counter the reality of his current relationship with the drug.
Besides, there are powerful social barriers to seeking help:
Society traditionally views the alcoholic / addict as an inferior. Would you acknowledge alcoholism if you regarded it as an admission of moral and psychological inferiority?
Denial, rationalizing, minimizing, externalizing and the rest — all prevent the alcoholic from recognizing the extent and severity of addiction.
Addicts and alcoholics rely on the helpfulness of others — who worry that if they don’t help, something worse will happen. But the consequences from which we protect them are the most powerful reasons to change.
We can’t ‘fix’ the alcoholic or addict. But we’re not powerless, either. There are things we can do (and refrain from doing!) that may directly increase their motivation for recovery.