Active addicts and alcoholics have trouble making good decisions. They rarely have a clear head even if in certain moments they are sober. The difficult part is that decisions we make seem good at the time. It is only in the clean up of the aftermath that we see we were wrong. It has been said that when the alcoholic takes the first drink or something traumatic happens they are stuck there in whatever age they were. My father used to send me to get beers for him and typically I would take a huge sip before I gave it to him. I think I was about nine years old. Imagine a nine year old making decisions about money, who to marry or where to work.
Most alcoholics and addicts are angry people. We tend to flare up at the smallest things and it doesn’t end there because now we need to get even with the person who “wronged us”. We are like a mack truck and nothing is going to stop us until we feel that we have gotten even. We are almost incapable of waiting and thinking things through.
It is only after some sober time and hopefully therapy or a good sponsor that it begins to be possible to make clear headed decisions. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggests that we do not make any life altering decisions until after a year of sobriety and I think that is so true. Our bodies and minds don’t get better overnight. We have so much work to do in growing up as we were stuck at that young age. Physically while most of us have wonderful healing potential, it still takes time to become healthy again. Putting down the drink or the drug is the first step. It is then time to look at our lives and see the mess we made and slowly with help we will learn how to make different decisions. That doesn’t mean we will never make mistakes, but hopefully those mistakes will not be a catastrophic as they once were.