I love reality TV, and sometimes I struggle to decide if watching some of my favourite shows is helpful or damaging to my recovery.
Ever since I realized I was an alcoholic, I started to see things differently. I know that it’s important not to judge others, that alcoholism is not black and white. My dad always tells me that it’s important not to be jealous or angry with people that can drink or choose to drink.
I’ve been re-watching Season 4 and it’s been powerful to watch the beginning of Shay’s recovery journey. In the current season, Shay is sober from both pills and alcohol, but in season 4 he is honest about his addiction to pills, but initially does not avoid alcohol.
In the interviews, one of the cast members says that he was surprised, that Shay did not fit his image of what an addict is. That really clicked with me…
I think sometimes it may be easier for people to understand that someone is an addict in relation to drugs, but struggle to do so with alcohol because they themselves are not addicted. Even I was unable to relate to my dad’s alcoholism until I was honest with myself and realized I was also addicted, that I was completely powerless over alcohol.
At one point, his wife Scheana says that Shay is still drinking, but it’s under control now. She says that she couldn’t be with someone who is completely sober, that she can’t respect someone who is unable just limit themselves to a couple of drinks.
Now I know that she’s not saying this to be mean, that these kind of statements come out of a place of misunderstanding. I think it also takes time for people to experience for themselves that their loved ones are actually more fun to be around sober at a party.
I think the hardest part to understand is that once an alcoholic starts drinking, willpower completely exits the equation. Even as an alcoholic myself, I struggle to accept that truth.
Like my dad always says, what takes more willpower than an alcoholic not drinking?