Rationalization: Confronting the Illusion of Control

As a gratefully recovering alcoholic and a stroke survivor, I’ve come to discover the complexity of rationalization and how it intertwines with illusions of control throughout my life. Rationalization is an ally of my disease of alcoholism and has been ever-present in my life before and after recovery. It’s a deceptive voice that justifies my behavior, no matter the risk, for instant gratification. This voice is a master of persuasion, has led me into years of denial, and likes to disrupt my relationships with others. ‘Rachelization’ has been the architect of my excuses and justifications, building a facade over my crumbling life.

The Rationalization Breakthrough

The journey to sobriety and stroke recovery demanded that I recognize my habit of rationalizing my old thought patterns. It meant stripping away the layers of lies I was telling myself and the masks I was wearing, exhibiting a level of control that I never really had. As I entered sobriety, it was a process of accepting that I was an alcoholic and that my life would be different forever. As I entered full-time stroke recovery this year, two years after the event, I had to begin the grieving process for what I lost and accepting the irrevocable changes to my life.

Today, I’m grateful for the clarity. Though moments of ‘Rachelization’ still creep up, I now possess the tools to notice and confront them – tools for self-reflection and self-care. It’s a daily practice of challenging these old thought patterns and reaffirming my commitment to emotional sobriety. I stop making excuses to be right when I’m only harming myself. I quiet down and listen to others.

Emotional Sobriety and Letting Go

My stroke was a humbling lesson in relinquishing control. I had no choice, and I still face this today. Christmas celebrations were met with nausea, head discomfort, and inability to focus my eyes and my thoughts. When I get excited, my physical condition tends to deteriorate rapidly.

My stroke has taught me to lean on my family, particularly my partner, for support and guidance. This arduous experience has been a lesson that I never would have learned otherwise—that sometimes, letting go of control is the most empowering thing I can do.

Embracing My Future Self

Today, I confront the deceptive voices of rationalization. It’s not only about acknowledging the times I bend the truth to myself but also about recognizing my deep-seated need for control—a need that has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Learning to let go is about nourishing my future self with honesty, acceptance, and love.

In sharing my story, I hope to reach those entangled in their own web of rationalization. May we all find the courage to challenge our inner voices, recognize our illusions, and find strength in authenticity and acceptance.