There is a common phrase thrown around by those in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse that describes a sentiment while they were using: incomprehensible demoralization. While this phrase is applied to thousands of diverse stories and situations, the feeling is the same. Most in recovery can attest to their moments of incomprehensible demoralization.
Recently this sentiment was in the public eye with news stories about people getting drunk, doing very regretful things and woefully apologizing afterwards. Some of the things they did while intoxicated disrupted their careers and reputations with a swift and lasting effect that only serves to reinforce the sentiment of incomprehensible demoralization.
The first popular story occurred about a month ago when Reese Witherspoon’s husband got pulled over for drunk driving in Atlanta. Reese was caught on camera on the side of the road talking back to the police. In an aggressive and boastful tone she asked and asserted, “you don’t need to know my name?!….Well, you are about to find out who I am!” She acted as if being famous exempted her from being treated normally – or in her case – handcuffed and arrested.
Overnight her reputation went from being the sweet girl next door to being egotistically irresponsible and rude. Days later she publically apologized and soberly knew that the police were “just doing their job.” The harsh reality is that what she did while drunk had no bearing on who she really is as a person. It is because of regretful drunk actions like this that people experience demoralization. Often what people do while drunk is far different what their normal selves would dictate – which consequently is also a telltale sign of a problem with alcohol.
In another incident last week, an Eco-Tourism Field Guide named Brian Masters, who had dedicated his education and life to garner that line of work, lost his job. This happened after a video went viral of him charging at an elephant while drunk as his friends recorded him. Now “the guide involved in the confrontation is no longer employed by Singita and further disciplinary procedures are in progress with regard to others involved,” according to a post on the group’s Facebook page. Singita describes the video as “disturbing,” and say the elephant was “extremely agitated by the confrontation and retreated into the bush.”
In response to the event, Masters said “I admit full responsibility for the actions and am deeply, deeply remorseful…There has been a lot of baying for blood and a campaign to name and shame so here I am. I am so sorry this happened and I wish I could undo the stupidity of the act but I can’t; all I can do is apologize and hope people can see the sincerity I am trying to convey.” As aforementioned, although others may not relate to the story specifically, the sentiment is exactly the same. In short, Witherspoon and Masters likely feel the same exact way about themselves although their stories bear no resemblance.
These incidents depicted in the videos below show the destruction that even one night of alcohol abuse can cause. They show how character-changing alcohol can be and how it can cause deep regret. Luckily the demoralization eventually fades, especially after a sound apology as they have made and self forgiveness kicks in.