Alcoholism isn’t something you ever wanted, and it has caused a lot of problems in your life. You spend too much money on your habit, you feel emotionally unstable if you’re not drinking and maybe you even got pulled over for drunk driving. You want to be done with it. Can you just overcome it by yourself, using nothing but willpower?

From an anecdotal standpoint, you can probably find stories of people who claim they did just that. However, medical experts note that it is often not possible and that willpower isn’t enough. They have equated it to “trying to cure appendicitis with cheerful thoughts.” There’s nothing wrong with happy thoughts, but they’re not going to cure a real medical problem.

If you buy into the myth that all you need is willpower, you can feel constantly defeated. You may keep turning back to alcohol and waking up the next morning regretting your decisions. You may continue to drive while intoxicated, knowing you shouldn’t do it but not having any other options. You feel like you’re trying to change, and you really do want to, but you can’t seem to make any headway.

The key is to remember that you do not have to do this alone. You’re far better off with a support network including loved ones, medical professionals and perhaps even a rehab center. While doing it by yourself is valiant and better than doing nothing, it may not get you where you want to be. You need to take that next step.

When facing OUI charges and related issues stemming from this disease, you also want to know what legal defense options you have.