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Old 08-14-2006, 07:32 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Alcoholism.

Are you, a family member or a dear friend that you have, an alcoholic? Do you know how to get help for that person, or do you have any suggestions on how to help someone who is an alocoholic?

I have a dear friend whom I met in May who is an alcoholic. He loves to drink on weekends, and this past weekend, he drank to excess. He mainly drinks shots of vodka and beer I felt at the time when I first met him, that he was reaching out for help and that he didn't know who to turn to. I STILL feel that way.

He told me that he wants me to be his mentor, and I told him that I'd be very happy to. Oh, his girlfriend is also an alcoholic! He IS in a program during the week which helps him stay clean (no alcohol in his urine). He also told me that I'm the best friend that he's ever had.

He told me that his alcoholism goes back to when he was at home with his siblings and parents and he was rejected by them all. I really want to help him get over this, and I've been trying so hard, but I can only do so much. Hopefully, he'll at least slow down soon and ween himself off of it, but I want him to be in good health.

I know what alcohol can do to some people. I lost one of my brothers to alcoholism and diabetes, and I don't want to lose my friend to anything tragic. Any suggestions?


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Old 08-14-2006, 07:50 AM   #2
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I divorced an alcoholic and I don't believe anyone can do anything. It is all up to the alcoholic to want to change. If he's not drinking during the week suggest he go to AA on the weekends.

The first thing I suggest is that he dump the girlfriend. He doesn't need a drinking partner.

He is blaming his family for his failures. He can go to therapy and the therapist will let him know that although he had a bad family life, now his choices are his alone.

I suggest you not become his "mentor". When his drinking is out of line, he sees you as the controlling father figure and he can become verbally (or physically) abusive if you try to come between him and his alcohol...throw the girlfriend into mix and I see a disaster just waiting to happen.

If he will go to AA, he'll have a mentor who he can call day and night and who won't take excuses. If you choose to remain friends with him, plan evenings or outings that don't involve alcohol. If he insists on drinking, then you leave. I can't say this enough times...he drinks, you leave. No matter what.

Having been through this, I'm tough now. I went the supportive route and held him for years while he cried about how sorry he was and it would never happen again. BS. They have to make the decision to quit....we can't do a thing about it.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:55 AM   #3
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I don't think he'll drink elsewhere. From what I've been observing, he won't drink away from his area. And yes, I've taken them BOTH out for lunch and dinner, and they've shown no desire to drink during that time at all. I think they feel safer drinking in their stomping ground (neighborhood) because they are not too far from home and they can walk back to their apartment.

He mainly drinks in his neighborhood (they both do). Also, he was once homeless and so he must depend on his girlfriend for a place to stay (they stay down the main street from me).

It is now much too hard for me to turn away from him! I just don't have the heart to do that. And I DID suggest to them that they BOTH start going to AA meetings.

His girlfriend told me that she once tried it and walked out. So, she doesn't seem to want to get the help, I imagine.

And yes, it IS mainly HIS decision to either stop or get the help that he so desperately needs. He really is a nice person and he depends on me for support and suggestions as well as for brotherly companionship. He sometimes sort of has the mind of a small child, especially when he drinks he seems to lok so pitiful, sad and lonely. I'm not sure if it's his brain function or not. And he also said that he's skitzopranic and suffers from some depression at times.

And yes, you're right, he SHOULD DUMP his girlfriend, or at least seperate from her for a while, but he'll end up back out in the streets with no place to go, and I don't want that to happen either!! I think she's holding him back.

They both have some issues with disability and are on a fixed income. But to turn my back on him, I just can't do it. It's not in me to do something like that.
I'll be his best friend no matter what. But I'm not giving up on him. I'll still try to help him and hope that he'll do the right thing.


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Old 08-14-2006, 10:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
And he also said that he's skitzopranic and suffers from some depression at times
That is another reason to get into therapy. He obviously needs medication. There are free clinics everywhere that help people on a limited income, especially if there is a disability. If he is on some type of disability do to his mental problems and is receiving money from the government, I'm surprised they will support him if he isn't in a program.

You say you are helping to support him. Have you read about 'enablers'? You've only known these people since May and it looks like he has found someone who is sympathetic and latched on to you.

IMHO, I'd be very wary of this relationship.

I suggest that you Google enablers and see if you fit the profile. I know I sound harsh and cold but I have been through this with my ex and a roommate. It won't happen to me again.
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:54 AM   #5
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A hug for you for wanting to help.
Listen to Half Baked. She has good advice.

TAKE CARE OF YOU... you're in a dangerous spot.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:12 AM   #6
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How is it a dangerous spot for me?

My dear late brother was also an alcoholic. And I've dealt with alcoholics for many years.


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Old 08-14-2006, 11:27 AM   #7
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Hugs to you Corey, for caring enough to want to help him. Keep on loving your friend, just know that YOU cannot help him. Only HE and trained professionals can give him the help he needs and he DOES need it! Your prayers and your friendship are the best gifts you can give him, as well as reminding him whenever he begs you for help that you can be his friend, but not his mentor. He does need an AA member for that, and if he is going to AA, he does have one. Sometimes it helps for friends like you to go to Al Anon. This is a great program that can help you NOT be an enabler, as well as to understand what it does take to help someone like your friend.

You might want to check that out.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:34 AM   #8
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HB, a lot of that is certainly true, but it seems a little presumptuous to tell him to abandon this person whom he considers a friend without knowing more than you've read in a thread on the internet.

Aside from that... Corey, it's very cool that you're trying to help him, but HB seems to know her stuff, and it's good advice. Helping him at this point is more a matter of getting him to help himself and perhaps backing off a little bit.

I definitely would not just drop someone who considers you a friend (even if it is partially for the sympathy), especially someone who obviously needs a hand, even if it's not yours.

[ edit: FYI, AA is not for atheists, in case that affects your/his/her situation ]
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:40 AM   #9
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Cory... I grew up with family members that were/are alcoholics I believe that they can be dangerous to your body, your mind and to your heart.
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:02 PM   #10
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AA is not for everyone and has very poor success rates. Also be aware that AA is based on religion. They say "spirituality" but that is not true. It eventually all boils down to christian religion.

Read about it here. www.rational.org

"The American addiction tragedy is not so much that the addicted are leading the addicted, but that the professional community has endorsed the Addictive Voice of the recovery group movement. Accordingly, our social service system now requires all addicted people to remain in addiction, in a tentatively abstinent condition known as "in recovery."

It is not surprising that when addicted people provide guidance to other addicted people, the abstinent outcome is near zero. Those who leave recovery groups or undertake recovery through self-restraint do much better than those who remain in recovery groups or addiction treatment programs, according to sources including AA's official publication, The Grapevine. In May, 2001 The Grapevine reported that over 60% of all successful recoveries occur independently, without the use of recovery groups, professional counseling, or addiction treatment programs. AA's 1989 Triennial Membership Survey disclosed that about 2% of newcomers are consistently abstinent after five years of program participation."

(AA no longer publishes it's results)

i've been drinking since i was 14 and was a fall down drunk for a couple of years, having to be hospitalized twice, and nearly dying one time. I went to a 12 Step based(aa) inhouse rehab facility and detoxed there. The AA aspect of recovery is similar to a cult, very strange, and is definitely not for everyone. But most rehab places are 12 step based, and you can actually learn alot from their lectures, and it is certainly interesting to hear people's stories of alcohol and drug abuse and how they have either risen above it or been consumed by it.

Personally, i have never gone to an AA meeting since i got out of rehab, i use rational recovery, it's all in your head.

AA teaches you alcoholism is a disease while there are no medical facts to prove this. AA also teaches you that you will be an alcoholic for the rest of your life, that you can't just QUIT, you have to take it one day at a time

this is absolutely false. If your friend is bad enough of an alcoholic that he will go into withdrawals if he stops drinking, like i was, then i suggest he go into an inpatient rehab. If he is particularly religious, he may even like AA. But as i said, their success rates are not high. And the 12 step based and meetings you attend in an inpatient rehab are filled with healthcare professionals giving lectures, so you still learn some.

the AA meetings on the outside have no healthcare professionals, it is just a fellowship of addicts.

AA is not for everyone and i urge you to check out the heaps of literature exposing the BS about AA, and to check out Rational Recovery. It is a mind trick/exercise.

It has worked for me very well.
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:04 PM   #11
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If you are considering using AA i would also suggest you read this.

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-aalies.html

an excerpt:

At the beginning of every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, someone reads out loud a plastic-laminated document that says, among other things, that this Twelve-Step program has rarely been known to fail, except for a few unfortunate people who are "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves":
RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not give themselves completely to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 58.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most ardent true believers who will be honest about it recognize that A.A. and N.A. have at least 90% failure rates. And the real numbers are more like 95% or 98% or 100% failure rates. It depends on who is doing the counting, how they are counting, and what they are counting or measuring.
A 5% success rate is nothing more than the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics and drug addicts. That is, out of any given group of alcoholics or drug addicts, approximately 5% per year will just wise up, and quit killing themselves.6 They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and of watching their friends die. (And something between 1% and 3% of their friends do die annually, so that is a big incentive.) They often quit with little or no official treatment or help. Some actually detox themselves on their own couches, or in their own beds, or locked in their own closets. Often, they don't go to a lot of meetings. They just quit, all on their own, or with the help of a couple of good friends who keep them locked up for a few days while they go through withdrawal. A.A. and N.A. true believers insist that addicts can't successfully quit that way, but they do, every day.
Every disease has a spontaneous remission rate. The rate for the common cold is basically 100 percent -- almost nobody ever dies just from a cold. On the other hand, diseases like cancer and Ebola have very low spontaneous remission rates -- left untreated, they are very deadly and few people recover from them. Alcoholism is in the middle. The Harvard Medical School reported that in the long run, the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics is slightly over 50 percent. That means that the annual rate of spontaneous remission is around 5 percent.
Thus, an alcoholism treatment program that seems to have a 5% success rate probably really has a zero percent success rate -- it is just taking credit for the spontaneous remission that is happening anyway. It is taking credit for the people who were going to quit anyway. And a program that has less than a five percent success rate, like four or three, may really have a negative success rate -- it is actually keeping some people from succeeding in getting clean and sober. Any success rate that is less than the usual rate of spontaneous remission indicates a program that is a real disaster and is hurting patients.
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:28 PM   #12
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I definately agree that an inhouse recovery program is the best.

One thing I have learned about AA is a percentage of the people there are forced to attend by a judge after an incident of some type. They will only go as long as the court orders.

We had great difficulty finding a recovery house for my roommate because she had no job, therefore no insurance, no money, depression sets in and she drank more. It is a troublesome circle.
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Half Baked
I definately agree that an inhouse recovery program is the best.

One thing I have learned about AA is a percentage of the people there are forced to attend by a judge after an incident of some type. They will only go as long as the court orders.

We had great difficulty finding a recovery house for my roommate because she had no job, therefore no insurance, no money, depression sets in and she drank more. It is a troublesome circle.
i didnt realize how dangerous it was at the final level of drinking. I thought it took like 30 years of drinking every day to die.

I was wrong.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:44 PM   #14
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Sometimes a short and sweet answer is a good way to go...so I'll say this: By all means, remain friends if that is possible, but you really should leave the help your friend needs to the professionals. It's natural for you to want to help your friend, but wanting to help and actually being able to help are two entirely different things. Don't permit yourself the luxury of thinking that you are the one who can cure him. More than likely, you are wrong.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:31 PM   #15
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i like to drink near every day, but also my friends do same and we always have a fun time. with neighbor, and with friend we meet. always with the drink comes good food, good music, good people, but bad next day.

maybe should I cut back, because alcohollism is seriosu thing.

also some times i loose important things when i drink, like wallet/key/pants (ha ha ha )
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:42 PM   #16
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Corey, you're a real hero to support your friend like this.
BUT it's tough love, mate.
I have a close friend who (was) an alcoholic. Her husband pleaded with her, screamed at her, whined at her, begged her, prayed for her... zilch. 1 1/2 bottles of Vodka DAILY so he tied her up, put her in the car and took her to a private clinic, and said that if she didn't go in and dry out, he'd divorce her.
It worked. 25 years marriage - she never, ever drank another drop.
But it was HARD, HARD, HARD .
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:49 PM   #17
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"I have a close friend who (was) an alcoholic. Her husband pleaded with her, screamed at her, whined at her, begged her, prayed for her... zilch. 1 1/2 bottles of Vodka DAILY so he tied her up, put her in the car and took her to a private clinic, and said that if she didn't go in and dry out, he'd divorce her."

This is EXACTLY how i was. I drank 1 litre of vodka a day, and would pass out, wake up, drink more, make messes, black out, do horrible things i wont get into

my fiance eventually just left the house and stayed out of town with her parents - she said i will come back when you check yourself in a rehab

went to rehab and i haven't drank since
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:30 PM   #18
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I have a friend who is an alcoholic. He said noone could help him. He had to reach rock bottom by himself. Checked himself into rehab, and has done well. I think it's the same with many addictions, gambling included.
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:01 AM   #19
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Thank you all for YOUR help and support! I truly appreciate what you said. I feel a litle better emotional wise.

Last night, I came home and began to cry after seeing my friend in the druken state he was in. I told him this and he felt bad that I got so overcome with saddness and sorrow.

Today, I had asked him to go with me to JDC because I had to have my eyes dilated and examined for new prescription glass. The clinic wouldn't take me unless I had someone to be with me to help me get home.

He cheerfully and happily came along with me. In exchange for his willingness to help me, I happily paid his way there and back and bought him lunch at a McDonald's restaurant (he likes MD's). I thanked him for doing that for me. So it's like we are trying to help each other.

He was completely sober today and didn't have one bit of liquor or beer to drink! I again mentioned the AA meetings, and told him that himself and his girlfriend should consider going. He then said that he is considering going.

He had a stomachache early today. I told him that maybe his body might be trying to tell him something - to lay off drinking so much. He agreed with me on that. So hopefully, this is a good sign for him to start trying to really help himself and get off of alcohol. I think that might have scared him.

I also told him that I'm helpless and powerless for him if he doesn't try to help hmself. But I love him like I love my brothers, and like I said, if I can get him to see that life is not worth being drunk and sick, I'll feel much better that I was able to reach him in time before anything disastrous happens to him.

He knows what I'm going through, having diabetes, and he tells me to stay on the meds, eat healthy and exercise. I said to him that I accept his advice, and that he should also take advise from me, so we'll see what else happens.

And BTW, my father drank a lot, as do my all of brothers, ****, I even got drunk several times! My uncles on my father's side of the family drank. My mom drank when she was younger. I got a cousin who is an alcoholic. He drank for years and years. He even had a stroke a few years ago - and he STILL drinks!! Guess he's got nine lives, hey?


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Old 08-15-2006, 12:34 AM   #20
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I found the literature you posted on AA very enlightening, Mylegisbig. My father is an alcoholic, and there seems to be little support in Australia at least, outside the traditional AA route, which I never thought was very successful. It wouldn't work for me if I was an alcoholic, which I'm not.

My parents are both addicted to alcohol. My mother went to an outpatient rehab program which was successful to a point, but she has gone back to regularly drinking now. She can't stay dry with my father around.

I think one of the huge problems with alcohol is that it works. I does numb pain, and makes you feel feelings that aren't real, like that you are in a friendly environment and having fun, and that you are witty, bright and a good conversationalist. I know the odd times I have been drunk I have initially felt good, then you cross that line and feel rotten.

Corey, I strongly believe you need to listen to your heart. Your heart will tell you when you have done what you can and need to walk away.

You can't make anyone change. You can be there for them, and encourage them, but don't get yourself caught up in a cycle.

I would love to see my dad have just one week sober. But I have to accept now that he's 81 and been drinking regularly since he was 18, that it is just not ever going to happen.
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