THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING IS TRUE: Meditations on Denial in Alcoholic Families by William H. Crisman

THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING IS TRUE: Meditations on Denial in Alcoholic Families

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A former priest, counselor, and recovering alcoholic spells out the nature of denial in sustaining active alcoholism. Crisman's message: denial is ""the very bedrock, the foundation, the channeled riverbed of belief without which chemical dependency cannot exist."" His view of denial has an intense urgency and uniqueness. The active alcoholic, says Crisman, is ""right"" in his denial. For the tough, strong-willed, overachieving, gifted drunk, drinking is an ethical action supported by a vast and intractable belief system. ""'Why should I get sober? What difference would it make?'. . .There simply was no good reason to quit. My ideals had been scorched away."" Thus it is that the drunk or user must hit bottom. His chemical dependency, a ""life skill,"" or ""survival skill,"" must fail him, turn on him, and his ""anesthesia hurt more than the pain it's anesthetizing . . ."" For him, the opposite of everything is true; nothing helps until the belief system blasts and collapses. Crisman spends over one hundred dispassionate pages on a mental trip through denial before opening up with the ""Good News"" about the dynamics of surrender, his ideas about Adult Children of Alcoholics, and the process that Jung terms ""individuation""--or becoming one's own unique person. The process begins with the question, ""Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?"" It takes recovery past being merely dry and into the social dimension of a happy sobriety, achieved by giving it away to fellow recoverers. Clearly written, utterly sensible, but up until the ""Good News,"" a tough, uninvolving read; only when Crisman gets personal, gives some of his own story, does the page light up with passion.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow