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Is willpower enough?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Friend' started by nessarconde, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. nessarconde

    nessarconde Member

    I have a friend going through some rough times at home for years, and drinking is his way of escaping everything.
    In our group of friends we're all very worried about him, he's not even capable of spending two hours sober anymore. We tried talking to him, convince him to go to AA meetings, rehab programs, all that. Lately, animosity has grown in our group, some of my friends are really mad at him because he's not even trying anymore. They told him really bad things, that he was weak, useless, etc. It was really sad. A friend of mine said that if he really wanted to, he could quit right away.
    But I wonder, is sheer willpower enough as this point? Is there a point in which the addiction can only be resolved under medical/specialist supervision?
    What do you think?
    Thank you for you help.
  2. fliktor7

    fliktor7 Member

    I believe that depends on the person, if he is a strong one and he is really motivated maybe his willpower is enought, but a specialist supervisor and friends and family support and love always help.
    But first of all, he should really want to end with the drinking.
  3. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think willpower and the knowledge of how to go bat things more efficiently is the right formula. Sometimes merely just wanting something will not mean it can result in things going your way if you do not have the proper knowledge of how to better put your plans into action. I think if willpower was enough then a lot more of us would be millionaires.
  4. Mackmax

    Mackmax Active Contributor

    Willpower is definitely the key to all success. If you don't want to achieve something, you never will. I can certainly see why your friends are angry, but calling him weak isn't exactly helpful either. In this case, willpower alone will not get your friend to beat his addiction, but it is certainly a very strong and necessary start. If he does not want to at least make an effort, his addiction will continue, and may even turn deadly.
    There is certainly a point where people need medical help, and your friend may need it as well.
    Winterybella likes this.
  5. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I agree with Mackmax on all levels. Willpower is critical to dealing with any addiction. In the case of your friend, since he doesn't have the desire to change just yet, some other intervention is going to be necessary. Like Mackmax said, it's understandable that well intention friends may be frustrated at his behaviour but using cruel words is likely to do more harm than good.

    That you brought the matter to the forum, means that you have a genuine interest. You might very well be the one who can help to effect some change. I look forward to hearing how more experienced ones here can help you to help your friend.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
    nessarconde likes this.
  6. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    It depends on the addiction intensity. Someone who hasn't used drugs for a long time may find it easier to give up an addiction compared against someone who's been using the same drug over a longer period of time. For the second type of person, they may have to seek help [talk with an addiction counselor, etc] but the first group can battle the addiction on their own and maybe if they are strong enough they might overcome it. So sometimes, willpower isn't enough.
  7. nessarconde

    nessarconde Member

    Before, I thought that willpower could conquer anything. But now I see that it was kind of childish to think that way.
    I think it's easy for people on the outside to say that addicts can't change because they don't want to. I've heard that quite often. I agree that some people lack the autonomy/initiative to try and change, but it's cruel to call them weak. We don't know what they're going through or how it feels like. On the other hand, all the help in the world won't be enough if he doesn't accept it...
    RoseK likes this.
  8. RoseK

    RoseK Active Contributor

    Has anyone heard of "addictive reasoning"? The way it was explained to me is that someone who is addicted can/will(?) make excuses to give themselves permission to take a drink or what-have-you "just this once" or "this is an impossible situation/emotion." I think a key here to whether or not a person is "strong enough" has to do with the ability to adopt healthy coping strategies.
  9. nessarconde

    nessarconde Member

    I agree. I didn't know it had a name, but I recognize that behaviour. Even non-addicted people do that. Imagine you're on a diet, but you see a donut and you think "just one won't hurt" or something. Adopting new health strategies is also very hard, and requires a lot of willpower too.
  10. RoseK

    RoseK Active Contributor

    Yup...and awareness is often the first (and hardest step) towards healthier behavior. I think in many ways it takes an enormous amount of courage to it an addiction or a point of view.
    nessarconde likes this.
  11. nessarconde

    nessarconde Member

    Fortunately, I am not addicted to any substances, but I am very proud. They say it's a deadly sin... It does take much courage to admit mistakes and change our minds. I understand that and that's why I want to help my friend, and will do what I can. Just have to get him to see he's acting gravely wrong. No idea how, though.
  12. musicmonster

    musicmonster Senior Contributor

    I would say it takes more than will power. If the addiction has become way too intense, sometimes it requires more than that. Your friend needs a support group or anyone who would be committed and dedicated to really watch him and remind him every time he will drink again. Tough love is the answer here.
  13. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I did a little reading outside of the forum and found lots of information relative to persons with addiction who are difficult to reach. There is quite a bit of information out there but you have to take the time to extract what you think might be useful to your friend. I am sure the resource section in this forum also has some helpful information. Take a look if you haven't already. Whatever happens don't give up on your friend but you still have to protect you.
  14. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I also think that it depends since there are some who really have strong will power and mind control. Better if he could also have inspirations or motivations aside from his willingness to really change himself. Support group can be really helpful.
    RoseK likes this.
  15. RoseK

    RoseK Active Contributor

    I agree. What also helps me is the awareness of the consequences if I go back to my old habits of abusing alcohol. I used to reason that I could avoid all the situations that tend to materialize when I'm drinking and spending time around others who drink heavily. I've been learning these lessons the hard way and the difference this time is that I have an excellent support system and awareness of myself.
    JonMark likes this.
  16. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Negative banter can really bring a person down. The worst thing to do with someone like this is to brow beat them and directly tell them to stop. Your support and encouragement is all this person needs. Supervision or not it has to be of his own decision. Some people do need supervision with this kind of thing. They have to want to do it though.
  17. JonMark

    JonMark Active Contributor

    There's this idea that people have to let everyone make their own decisions. At a certain point, they're right. But there are cases like this when someone might need to step in and pour stuff down the drain, bag em and take them somewhere to get help, regardless of the repercussions. Are they doing if for the person? Are they doing it because it's right? Are they doing it for themselves?

    If something happens to that person, someone is going to blame themselves for not doing something about it when they thought they should have. At this point, if animosity is already building in the group, that guilt will present itself when it's needed. There's no getting around that. But they still have the choice of getting away from that person as punishment to them for not getting help as well as rewarding themselves for not getting dragged down as well. Or they can do something about it and mull over it later.
  18. JonMark

    JonMark Active Contributor

    I think it's fine to go off on him as they have. They're taking out their frustrations on him because they're frustrated. Look, if they throw all of his booze away and take him to some rehab, someone is still going to have to pay for it somehow. I think the bigger problem here might be with regard to who has the money to get him the help he needs.

    But then, for that person to internalize the berating is something people can think about but they should still show their frustration. Whatever that person is feeling isn't going to improve without booze, something they're willingly adding to their feelings. They've got to get clear before any of this stuff gets sorted out.
  19. wander_n_wonder

    wander_n_wonder Active Contributor

    If addiction is too much, then yes, willpower alone is not enough. There is a need to seek for professional help already. He may need to undergo some thorough counseling or even therapy sessions with a licensed practitioner. I'm quite sure there's something else that's prompting him to turn to that addiction and that is what needs to be resolved during these therapy sessions.
  20. gmckee1985

    gmckee1985 Senior Contributor

    Willpower is enough to overcome anything, even addiction. Typically the people who are the most successful are those who have the will power to push themselves, and the mental toughness to overcome all the challenges that come their way. Addiction is no different. Overcoming it requires a ton of will power, and a lot of people simply do not have it.
    JonMark likes this.