The primary cause of alcoholism is not positively known in the present knowledge of the problem. Nor do we believe that the cause in most instances is singular, but usually a combination of causes.
However, we are of the opinion that to date the best-defined cause for alcoholism is the one given by Dr Edward Strecker, Psyc D., head psychiatrist of Pennsylvania University. He defined the cause of alcoholism as “’Momism’ mixed with alcohol.” By this is meant that the average alcoholic is the individual who was pampered or neglected in childhood.
In the first instance - in the case of the over-pampered child - the individual grows to adult life and tends to retreat from life. Although this tendency is present in most human beings to a certain extent, it is emphatically obvious in the alcoholic personality, and because of this childhood emotional damage, which now may not even be in the consciousness, will cause abnormal insecurity and fear. If such is mixed with a regular intake of alcohol, the fear element is released and dominates the personality.
Likewise, in the case of the neglected child, fear is instilled from childhood, and through regular alcoholic intake, is accentuated beyond control. Thus, we find that the basic ingredient in every alcoholic personality is an abnormal fear element that lies behind and motivates most of the abnormal and inhuman behaviour of the alcoholic, which is so trying to, and misunderstood by, those nearest and dearest to him.
This abnormal condition of fear is responsible for the four basic traits found in every alcoholic:
- egocentricity, and
These are usually operative in the area of the subconscious. They are manifested in the consciousness by;
- frustration, and
All these “quirks” of the alcoholic personality stem from the basic abnormal fear motive. It is the reason that an alcoholic must be approached, not with the idea of correcting the above “faults,” but with the hope of instilling faith and confidence to offset the basic element of fear.
It is also the reason that criticising, condemning, making fun of, or frightening the alcoholic only accentuates his alcoholism because it only deepens his fear and insecurity. A normal person who pouts does so because he has been hurt; on the other hand, when the alcoholic apparently pouts he often times does so because he has been frightened.
It is true that his fears are very abnormal, but it is also true that they are present, and we must face facts and not indulge in wishful thinking.
Practically every alcoholic who has achieved sobriety, has achieved it, and maintains it, because someone, somewhere, rebuilt his human confidence, and thus led him again to a confidence and faith in a Higher Power, which ultimately is the only real security.
Thus the responsibility of the alcoholic is to stop drinking and then find, with help, those things in their personality which are holding them in the grip of alcoholism.
Once identified and accepted each person surrenders, stops fighting the problem and begins to live the answer - recovery.
This description also applies to the syndrome known as the ’Dry Drunk’. Someone who is sober but is not serene.
From; Sobriety and Beyond. (1953) BMT Guilde. Minneapolis. A classic in recovery from alcoholism and addiction.
|Sobriety and Beyond |
by Father Ralph Pfau
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