Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.
Helping the Alcoholic In Your Life
Why won't they just stop?
To a "normal" person, the self-destructive behavior of an alcoholic defies logic. Actually, it defies logic for the alcoholic, as well.
Given that 4-6 percent of the population is alcoholic, chances are very good that you know at least one. You see the evidence of the disease and it angers, disgusts and/or scares you. So as an interested spouse, family member, friend, co-worker, boss or neighbor, is there anything you can do to help?
Yes, there is.
First educate yourself
If you fear that someone you know is literally "drinking him/herself to death" you are right to be concerned. Alcoholism is a progressive, fatal disease. That means that if left unchecked, it WILL kill you. Like cancer, it is a disease that wants you dead. Unlike cancer, it is a disease whose progression can be arrested without surgery, chemo, radiation or medical intervention. That's both the good news and the bad news.
To have any kind of shot at helping the suffering drinker you need to understand what's going on with him/her. Educate yourself. Learn about the disease. Learn about the cycle of addiction so you can time your approach when the drinker will be most receptive.
Get yourself a copy of the "Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous." Get a copy of "Under the Influence" and "Beyond the Influence." Those three books explain alcoholism from every possible angle -- program/recovery (AA) and chemical/biological progression of the disease (the "Influence" books).
If you're really invested in this person, take yourself to some Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. You'll be welcomed (as long as it's an "Open" not a "Closed" meeting). Attendees will be more than happy to talk to you. They have been in the trenches. They've cheated death (thus far) and have lived to use their experience, strength and hope to help other suffering alcoholics.
If going to an AA meeting seems too daunting, call your local AA hotline. They're there to help!
Are You an Alcoholic?
- Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), Revised
This 22-question self-test may help you become aware of your use or abuse of alcohol. This test specifically focuses on alcohol use, and not on the...
Tough love is necessary
The worst thing you can do is ignore the situation and hope it will get better on its own. If the person is truly an alcoholic (and not just a heavy drinker or alcohol abuser), It will only get worse.
How do you "diagnose" alcoholism? The MAST test (see link) is one of the most reliable predictors.
As a practical matter, the difference between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker or abuser has little to do with the quantity they drink or even whether they go on binges vs. drinking daily. The real difference is this:
1. Inability to stop drinking despite the desire to do so.
2. May be able to stop for a period of time, but not "stay stopped."
3. Continues drinking despite negative consequences of drinking-- may get a DUI, lose a job, marriage, car(s), home, etc.
4. May attempt to control the drinking but when controlling cannot enjoy it. When "enjoying" their drinking they are unable to control it.
But really, if you're already worried to the point you fear for the person's safety/life, it is obviously a problem and needs to be dealt with.
Confronting the drinker is a tricky but necessary action.
!!!! New thinking on alcoholism !!!!
What NOT to do
1. Do NOT try to confront the person while they are drunk. You will get nowhere.
2. Do NOT confront the person with accusations or threats. These will be met with deaf ears and denial.
3. Do NOT try to shame the person into stopping -- for the sake of their wife/husband, kids, parents, work, or whatever. Sad to say, the person's love and loyalty are no match for the powerful urge to drink that controls his brain and body.
4. Do NOT try to control the drinker's drinking yourself. It may make you feel better to comb the house for hidden bottles. You may feel righteous pouring the drinker's stash down the sink. This will not deter the drinker for long.There's always a way to get more. It will only set him/her against you. Besides, do you really want them driving to the store? Probably not.
4. Do NOT believe the drinker's promises. They may be said in all sincerity (or just to get you to back off). However, they are hollow. Again, once that thirst kicks in, an ocean full of booze isn't big enough to quench it.
Things you CAN do
1. Enlist the help of the people you met at the AA meetings. Ask them to do what's called a "12-step" call. This means they will come and meet with the drinker and share their own stories. The alcoholic-to-alcoholic, peer-to-peer bond is magical.
2. Give the Big Book to the drinker and suggest (never demand) that he/she read it.
3. Offer to take the drinker to an AA meeting. Schedules should be readily available online. Hard copies are available at all meetings.
4. Set your boundaries. Decide what you are/are not willing to tolerate. If the person's drinking is negatively impacting your quality of life, know that you do NOT have to live that way. You can reclaim your life. Tell the person you will no longer (fill in the blank). This might include:
--- talk to them on the phone when they're drunk
--- let them crash at your house
--- give them money
---let them be alone with their kids or grandkids
---whatever other consequences will be meaningful and put them on notice that you mean business
Once you make the boundaries clear, don't back down. And don't let them manipulate you into backing down -- they WILL try! Remember, they're desperate.
The road to recovery begins with AA
- Alcoholics Anonymous :
Alcoholics Anonymous Official Web site
1. Intervention. Having an "intervention" with the person can be very powerful and effective. This can be done informally, with just friends and family members coming together to confront the person's drinking behavior. Or you can enlist a professional "interventionist" to moderate the intervention. Given the highly emotional nature of the session it's a really good idea to bring in a pro.
2. Drug and Alcohol Counseling . If the person is receptive and willing to try to stop, he/she may be a good candidate for an outpatient chemical dependency program. The key is WILLINGNESS. If the person has no desire to stop, this will basically be a waste of time.
However, outpatient may be a required "gateway" to getting inpatient rehab paid for by insurance. Yes, it's true. You have to fail at outpatient in order to be considered a candidate for inpatient. Makes no sense, but there you have it.
3. Detox. The safest way to get off alcohol is with a medical detox. Detoxing is very uncomfortable. Without medical supervision can be dangerous, as well. Extremely debilitated, long-term drinkers can easily have seizures. And you don't want that!
Regardless of the next step, getting the drinker a bed in a detox facility is one of the kindest things you can do. Detox is typically 7-10 days. Afterwards the person will feel much better and hopefully amenable to ongoing treatment.
4. Rehab. Despite the bad image cultivated by stars like Lindsay Lohan and shows like "Celebrity Rehab", long-term treatment can be an important -- and effective -- first step on the road to recovery. Again, a lot depends on the willingness of the drinker to do the work. Too often, 30-day programs earn their nickname of "spin-dry" centers. But most insurance companies will only pay for 30, 45 or 60 days. If at all possible, go for 60. The longer the person is removed from his/her old environment and living and healing in a sober environment, the better the chances of remaining sober upon release.
5. County assessment. Depending on the person's financial situation, the pricetag of rehab may be overwhelming. Don't despair. Take the person down to the county for assessment. This may well lead to obtaining a "county bed" in a rehab facility. It may not be the Ritz (or Eric Clapton's "Crossroads" recovery center on the island of Aruba), but the program will be the same. It's the content that counts.
6.Mental evaluation. It's also a wise idea to get the person seen by a psychiatrist. Approximately 70% of alcoholics have co-occurring mental conditions. So what you're seeing is a person drowning in alcohol, but what they're really doing is using alcohol in a desperate attempt to quiet their mind.
7. Psychiatric hospital . If the person is suicidal or clearly an imminent danger to himself or others, they may need to be locked up for a bit. At minimum, they'll get evaluated and medically detoxed and you'll have the peace of mind of knowing they're safe for the duration.
A hub by "Recovering Addict"
- Free drug rehab. Salvation Army free alcohol and drug treatment
With a commitment to providing free drug and alcohol rehab to those that cannot pay, and very low cost drug rehab to those that can, the Salvation Army has been in the business of helping addicts overcome...
God loves his drunks
A final word of encouragement
If at first you don't succeed, don't lose hope. No one wants to grow up to be an alcoholic. It's a damning label, still -- even though society has made great strides in understanding that alcoholics aren't bad/immoral people, they're sick people.
By the time someone is being accused of "drinking themselves to death" they are sick indeed. They know they have problems, but probably cannot accept that the problems are related to or caused by their drinking. Cutting through layers of denial takes time. The person has to be ready to make a change. Yes, you can impose change on them before they're 100% ready. You can force them into treatment. It happens all the time. At least they'll get exposed to the concepts of recovery. Rumor has it that a head full of AA kills the buzz, so even if they relapse they'll be closer to "getting it" and sticking with sobriety the next time.
You can do the research and the legwork and lead them straight to recovery. But you can't get them sober. The only person who can get an alcoholic sober is the alcoholic him/herself.
I wish you strength, patience and tolerance. It's a horrible thing to watch someone in that condition. But it's a true miracle when the obession to drink gets removed. It can happen, and does happen, to people around the world, every day. I'm praying that it happens for your drinker, too.
In serenity, Mighty Mom
An awesome resource from hubber Timothy Donnelly
- Poem; Gallant is My Love for You - Choosing a Master to Battle your Addiction - Get Clean Now! Links
Faith-based 12-step programs are the best to employ when you seek help with your real battles of Addiction. One must humble oneself first, to get rid of that defensive pride and ego, in order to become teachable, and recogize any denials they may har
Helpful Resources for your journey
- Alcoholism - The Alcoholism Home Page
The starting place to find information, resources and the latest news about alcohol, alcoholism, substance abuse and recovery issues on the Internet.
- Welcome to Crossroads Centre, Antigua
- Betty Ford Center | Drug Treament Center Alcohol Abuse Rehabilitation Centers Addiction Clinic Subst
The Betty Ford Center is the alcohol treatment center and drug rehabilitation clinic for families suffering from narcotic and chemical dependency and addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Location: The Betty Ford Center, 39000 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mi
- Hazelden -- Drug rehab alcohol addiction treatment
Alcohol and drug treatment centers, recovery bookstore on the 12 Steps, alcoholism and drug addiction, Graduate School of Addiction Studies, clinical and epidemiological research on the effectiveness of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Help for families of Alcoholics
della on February 24, 2018:
my son who was 34 years old had a breakup of a long term relationship with his finance of 7 years, they had a business together, after the breakup, the loss of business , his home and his dog he became severely depressed and moved home with his parents, we thought we were dealing with depression but after 3 months we realized he was drinking, I could not get him out of bed, I took him to the hospital 3 times where once they checked him in and after meeting with a mental health professional he checked himself out. I took him to the hospital 2 more times and they would not keep him I was desperate as I knew he was very sick and I could not get anyone to help him. Our family , his friends all tried to reason with him and help him, he could not understand why we were all on his case as he was just sad from what has happened to him with his losses. He would say the same things over and over again. He was with us for 7 months and we tried, our last approach was tough love and asked him to leave, if he refused to get help. he went to a hotel, we talked to him numerous times a day and he would continue to say nothing was wrong with him it was us and he just wanted to come home and rest he was tired. . he died 3 weeks later in that hotel room, 2 days before he agreed to let me take him to a psychiatrist My heart is broken , he never had a problem before, never reached his bottom , just died, I am devastated.
My other son has battled alcohol addiction for 10 years and in recovery was living in the house which was having an effect on him. How could he just die so quickly never reaching his bottom to realize his drinking . Why didn't he get a chance , so many alcoholics live so long with this disease why dint my son get a chance for recovery. I wish we never left him alone , I could have tried every day to get him help in person then over a text or phone call . so hard to forgive my self for sending him away.
Linda Wong on February 16, 2018:
I have a brother who has been an alcoholic for many years. For the last ten years he has been in and out of rehab centers, AA meetings, hope centers, hospitals and Psych wards. He is 55 years old and tried to commit suicide about 3 years ago and then again about 2 months ago(he quit drinking for about 6 weeks after spending time in the Psych Hospital) He knew it was hurting my mom and he said as long as she is alive he won't drink. We recently put my mom in a nursing home, we all new that as soon as she was away from him he would start drinking again. Which he has, he had just started a new job a couple weeks ago, and looks like he lost that job already. I come from a family of 7 kids, me being the youngest. He is now drinking Vodka every minute of the day and night. He doesn't want to live anymore and has said it many times. The rest of my family wants to kick him out of my mom's house and have him live in his truck. There is no doubt in my mind he will drink himself to death or just kill himself. If he is going to do it why have him on the street? Is my point of view but everyone else says we have to have tough love and kick him out. I feel as though we have tried tough love, ton's of love, therapy and every other type of treatment there is. He has never married, always playing the fun loving brother and now just wants to leave this world.
Totally torn up!
theresa on July 19, 2015:
I have a friend who is a heavy drinker and I'm worried bout him. He's at the point of being suicidal what can I do. I tried everything and it seems nothing helps any more. Can someone help me try to help him.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 01, 2015:
My heart goes out to you. You have chronicled the helplessness of the alcoholic's family so well. The bruising comes with the territory, as do broken bones!
You say the boyfriend is her enabler -- what if you could get him on board with an intervention that if she doesn't go to treatment the family (including him) will refuse to have anything to do with her.. Would that work?
I know how difficult it is with the dual diagnosis. There is such a high correlation between bipolar and alcoholism -- sometimes it's hard to know which is influencing which. The reality is that bipolar meds -- minus self-medication -- CAN work. I wish your daughter would understand that.
I also hope you can get some good (hopefully free) legal advice on becoming your grandson's guardian. Unfortunately, typically custody reverts to the biological parents, so he could still end up with his mentally ill father if his mentally ill mother is out of the picture.
I wish you all the best and will keep your family in my prayers.
sad mother on March 31, 2015:
My adult daughter is killing herself with alcohol. She went in for detox once but continues to drink. She is bi-polar also & not taking her meds. She has a 7 yr old son who witnesses her behavior. She has bruises [huge] all over her from falling, but manipulates the family by saying her boyfriend beats her. I don't believe he does. He's not that kind. I've known him for years but he is her enabler. Her liver at age 29 is in very bad condition, & that is why her bruises are so very bad. A bad liver will cause bruising. The dr. gave her only 5 yrs to live if she doesn't stop the booze. The biological father of the child is bipolar & scizophrenic. We went through an absolutely horrible episode tonight with her. Her older sister has done everything she can to help, but she is going through a nasty divorce with 3 little children of her own. I feel there is nothing I can do anymore. I have resolved myself that I will be burying one of my 2 children before long, & the rest of my life I will just "exist" after that. I'd like to try to get guardianship of my grandson but read it is a long difficult court battle that costs more for a lawyer than we can afford now. It's all out of my control. I just have to sit back & watch it happen. I am seeing a therapist to try to help myself. I take 2 antidepressants or else I'd just sit in a chair & cry all day. I'm tired, & can do no more.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 31, 2014:
I am so sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I have not been on HubPages at all for the last month.
It must seem so incredible that someone would want to drink himself to death. Yet, that is what alcoholics want to do. LIfe is intolerable. Alcohol is running their brain and they are so miserable, they'd just as soon die. They honestly cannot imagine a life without alcohol.
What can you do to support your sister?
Haul her into an Al-Anon meeting. And don't let her walk away from it. I don't know how much she understands about the disease he children have/had (RIP the OD child. So sorry).
That is a must, regardless of what else happens with her son.
As to the alcoholic son, I get that insurance will not cough up the $ to send him to inpatient treatment. They want everyone in outpatient first. Some people can do this with outpatient support. Many people fail outpatient, then they are placed in inpatient.
I am not one to take insurance companies' sides on anything. However, given the horrific failure rate of alcoholics to be able to get and stay sober, I can't blame them for wanting to minimize the number of inpatient treatments they authorize per patient.
I take it private paying for inpatient is out of the question.
The other option I can think of is going the other route -- Salvation Army of Volunteers of America. VOA I Know offers detox and will let people stay 30 days, maybe more.
Finally, you don't mention anything about your nephew's age or his living situation or relationship with his mom or family. I understand your main concern is to support your sister. I understand how devastating it is to face not one, but both children to addiction. That is beyond comprehensible to me. I certainly lived in many years of fear that I was going to lose my only son to addiction.
I'm not being very linear in my thinking here this morning. I'm going to go confer with a colleague who has 30 years' sobriety and works with a lot of men who are just getting sober (and some who do not want to get sober). Let me see what he can add to the above.
My prayers are with your family, Boston. My heart is also still in your city, where I lived happily before moving to California!
Boston on July 08, 2014:
Wow so glad I found this page... My nephew is having a problem, he wants to be left alone to drink himself to death.. My sister lost her other child to an OD 5 years ago and I really want to help but don't know how. He is really in a dark place and going down hill really fast. He was in a detox came out but his insurance would not pay for this other place we were going to put him.. He decided not to do outpatient(knew this was going to happen). How do we help him??
Michael on June 02, 2014:
Alcoholism is really a dangerous behavior that destroys not only one's health but also your relationship with your loved ones, friends... your marriage. AA are great groups that can help. If you have marriage issues related to alcoholism and other destructive behavior, a great resource you can check http://howtosavemymarriage101.com
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 27, 2014:
Thank you, JOhn!
I will add the site as one of the resources on this hub.
I am a STRONG believer in interventions.
I love the show INTERVENTION on TV -- it's very true-to-life, including how many of those who get into rehab do not make it.
The important thing is the family stops sitting by either furious, enabling, or hands-off helpless and can DO SOMETHING to help.
It is very true that a person will not stop drinking or using until THEY are ready. But they may not ever become ready without a nudge from a wife/husband/children or a judge:-).
Thanks for the tip. I will keep her in mind when anyone I know needs an interventionist!!
John on May 27, 2014:
I really liked your hub. I don't know what words I should use for it. It's amazing, fantastic, and very useful for me. I would like to suggest here a very useful site: http://epicinterventions.com/ for those who wants an Interventionist.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 18, 2014:
I'm so sorry. It is horrible to watch helplessly, I know.
Apparently ICU didn't cut through your brother's denial.
For some alcoholics it takes many, many brushes with death and many devastating losses to get the message through.
If your brother won't go to a rehab, you could do an intervention on him (with a professional interventionist). But that will not work if the wife won't buy into it. If she is supporting him in staying drunk, then that is what he will do. And yes, he will inevitably die from this. It is in some ways like watching a loved one waste away from cancer. He is sick and his brain is telling him to keep drinking and his body is craving it. And his liver cannot process it. How's that for an f'd up disease??
In the meantime, you don't have to feel completely helpless. You can work on healing yourself. You are affected by his alcoholism, too. Try going to some Al-Anon meetings. They can be very therapeutic for the family members of active alcoholics and even alcoholics in recovery.
Wishing you some serenity, Czechgal.
Czechgal on March 17, 2014:
My brother is an alcoholic. He spent 2 weeks in ICU about a month ago. He's always had a drinking problem but it spiraled out of control after his wife left him for another man. He has since remarried a woman who is mentally ill. Unfortunately my brother is in denial and his new wife is an enabler. He is refusing to go to an alcohol rehab to get clean and sober. I've come to the realization that he will not survive this. His liver is at the end stage. If he goes on a drinking binge I don't think he'll recover. My family and I are devastated. It's like slowly watching an accident and there is nothing you can do but watch the disaster unfold in front of you.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 01, 2014:
Hello again, Patricia,
I'm sorry. I haven't been on Hub Pages for a while and didn't see your second comment until now.
The old man and the woman obviously enjoyed your husband's company and would pay any price to get/keep it. I suspect they both knew what they were doing was wrong. Or maybe they did not know your husband's cirrhosis diagnosis (?). Alcoholics can be very charming and manipulating. And seek their own level of company.
So he got something out of the relationships and so did they.
Who knows what he did to get them to continue feeding his addiction.
They got the pleasure of his company -- until it was no longer pleasurable and got too expensive.
Maybe they were trying to prevent him from going into seizures. If the old man is sober himself, he might know that withdrawing suddenly could be deadly --just like drinking a 24-pack a day with a bum liver, only quicker:-(.
If the old man is still around and you have access to him, perhaps you can ask him about his actions/motives.
They make no sense to me, either (especially not from a sober person!, but everyone in the triangle benefited -- until they didn't.
My best advice, if I can offer any, is not to make yourself crazy asking "why." The disease of alcoholism defies "why."
Patricia Kephart on January 22, 2014:
Thank you Mighty Mom for the very kind words that came from the heart. How in the name of God can a friend buy a man diagnosed with cirrhosis a 24 pack a day and kill him ? Why would he buy a drunk a 4 wheeler? I just don't understand the logic behind any of his motives.Why a church going old man who is a sober man himself keep up a drunk instead of trying to help him get clean and sober so he'd live? Am I too blind to see the truth or am I looking for something thats just not there?
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 22, 2014:
Patricia, I am so very sorry for your loss.
The path of alcoholism is straight to the bottom. Your husband's story shows the progression of this insidious disease. It also show the double lives active alcoholics lead. Doing things behind your back, engaging in high-risk activities while drunk.
Yet continuing to drink more and more, despite the negative consequences.
It's a horrible thing to watch someone you love as you have.
May your husband find his peace in the next world.
And may you find some in your life. Much deserved.
Patricia Kephart on January 21, 2014:
My husband quit drinking for a year and was doing great.But he started back drinking and before long he lost his job too .I refused to buy his beer because he had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver but his numbers were good so long as he didn't drink anymore.I begged him to please stop drinking,go into rehab and dry out but he refused.Instead he started dating an older woman behind my back. She moved in with a friend of his,an old man who lived up the street from us .My husband used to walk up there to see the old man and was meeting her and drinking with them .The old man,the woman and my husband were good friends.She worked at the same convenience store that sold his favorite beer.She started buying him beer but before long she couldn't afford it he was drinking so much. The old man was buying him beer too.The old man also bought him a 4 wheeler but my husband was too drunk to ride a 4 wheeler .He wrecked it and was seriously injured .He almost died from the injuries.His face was disfigured,teeth knocked out, internal injuries plus broken bones.He spent months in the hospital but was put on a waiting list because he was disabled. He never made it to the nursing home.He died in hospice .
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 21, 2013:
Holy moley. I shudder at the idea of getting guardianship. I have "issues" with probate court which are chronicled in some of my other hubs. But that's not relevant here if they are already telling you they won't court order rehab.
I'm thinking of instances where they might. Your daughter would have to commit a crime (e.g. D UI). But even then, court ordered REHAB is atyical. I've heard of court ordered AA meetings though.
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience calling AA. But I'm not surprised. They would not suggest a 12-step call unless it was your daughter calling, not you. On the other hand, you might have a much better reception if you went to an OPEN AA meeting and looked people in the eye and asked for help. Those answering the hotlines are not
always the most proactive.
I'm chuckling that AA made your daughter mad. That's a standard reaction for those who are in denial about their situation. Which includes most of us for the first few months or even year! Let's face it. NO ONE wants to be an alcoholic (until you've been sober for awhile).
Interesting about the hormones. Were these to get pregnant with the daughter you now have? Or to try to get pregnant with another child?
Your daughter started drinking heavily to deal with the feeling of "going insane" while on the hormones, but the drinking escalated into full-blown alcoholism even after she stopped taking the hormones (which one would assume would return her to not feeling insane anymore...).
Doesn't really matter at this point, though, does it?
Where are her managers at this point? Are they still supportive in
getting her into detox?
How about other family members. You mentioned another daughter out of state.
I'm grasping here, but have you thought of a good old fashioned intervention -- with a professional interventionist? Get everyone in her life in the same room and all hit her with your truths.
Just like in the TV show "Intervention" if you've watched that.
I've participated in 2. Both times the alcoholic did go into treatment.
Just another idea...
Good luck and keep me posted. MM
VC on April 20, 2013:
I would like to add that there are different causes for alcoholism and before taking any prescribed drugs for help they need to be thoroughly researched by the doctor and a thorough evaluation of the mentality a person is in before prescribing. I believe my daughters was the outcome of taking some hormone pills to help her get pregnant. I believe it changed her brain chemistry, she went from being a casual drinker to an alcoholic in less than a month. She already had issues with anxiety and she had told me those pills made her feel she was going insane. I had spoken to one of my other daughters out of state that works in a hospital and she said a girl she works with took the same thing and had never had any problems with anxiety or anything like that and that she felt she was going insane when taking them.
VC on April 20, 2013:
We called CPS Friday, basically since I have her daughter (not by court order) they will not do anything. We thought if they investigated we would get a court order to have her go into to treatment. I then called a lawyer to see what can be done in the state of Texas, as I read some states are changing the laws to allow court ordered rehab. He said I could petition to get guardianship of my daughter with the argument that she is not able to make decisions for herself. He had me call the probate investigator to speak with him about what they would do. He told me that even if I was awarded guardianship of my daughter, I still could not get a court order for rehab because they do not see alcohol as being an imminent threat to her life. I could only force her to court if she was a threat to herself or others and mentally incapacitated, in which alcohol is not considered a mental disease. I can call for a medical deputy to go to her house and assess her, but if they feel she is just passed out from alcohol, the most they would do is take her to the hospital for an iv until she sobers up a little bit. The only way to get a court order if not mentally unstable is through a DUI, which these days are devastating enough, that once you are charged with one breaks you financially and mentally. This is so backwards, the laws need to be changed so that you can force someone into rehab with a court order, without waiting for someone or herself to be hurt or killed. She did try to go to AA, but they just made her mad. I had called them the time before and they did not even mention doing a 12 step visit. Told me to just let her lose everything, including her life if that is what it came to. Bottom line there is no help and yes I am frustrated.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 14, 2013:
Thank you for that important clarification. Not all rehabs offer medical detox. It is essentia l to check their policy and follow it.
Your post supports my reasoning on taking your drunk in drunk. There's a little window in which they are willing and vulnerable. If you miss it, all bets are off.
And you raise another key point. Detoxing is not just unpleasant, it's dangerous. You could go into convulsiunons. Or, as your daughter did, your heart could stop. I'm a big advocate for MEDICAL detox...
I can relate to your frustration of thinking you were "home free" only to have to start back at a different place. Hor informed spitals are not ideal (or anything close) for detoxing. Yes. The staffs should be better informed and more compassionate. But they are not.
I hear the pain in your words. Alcoholism is brutal on the whole family. I think in many ways it's less hard on the drinker because they at least are anesthetized.
The hardest thing is watching a child in the throes of addiction. Been there.g
Don't know what kind of support you are getting for yourself, but Al-Anon can be a lifesaver.
I will be praying for you and your daughter, that she gets the help she needs to get and stay sober. MM
VC on April 14, 2013:
Read earlier where you said get them in the car and drive them to rehab, let them drink on the way. You need to check first with the facility, between my daughters managers and myself , she finally agreed to do detox, since the place said they do detox, did not think to ask if she had to be sober first. When I got her there she had to test to see her level and it was above 4, they would not take her, told me to go to the hospital with her until she was below 2. I did that and my experience at the hospital was something in itself as well. Believe me I would not take my dog to that hospital. I know people that work in these places get fed up with dealing with drunks, but at the same time they should be educated in alcoholism, they are sick people as well. It is not like I took her there to get an iv to get sober enough to go back home and start again. I took her there to be monitored in case of complications, she has been in a treatment before where her heart stopped. They did not monitor anything, only administered an iv. The nurse was adamant that they would not keep her there until she was below a 2, that I needed to take her home and go back to the treatment center the next day. I told them I would not do that, because I knew if I took her home I would more than likely miss my chance to get her into detox. Sorry for ranting about that. The intent of it is to check first before just going to a place, not all have the equipment to monitor someone for complications if they are highly intoxicated. At this time I am back to square one, she has started drinking again.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 19, 2012:
Hi Kelly. Can't argue with a single thing you've said. I've heard the same story with minor variations hundreds of times.
You have more power in this relationship than you give yourself credit for. You're simply not using it!
Of course you are sick of living like this. But it is your choice to stay.
You know he is not going to change. He has no incentive to change, as long as you continue to pay all the bills and accommodate his invading your property by leaving and going to relatives'.
Yeah. It sucks. It's not fair. The cops aren't going to lift a finger unless he commits a felony. Or you do.
It's sad that you know he is going to drink himself to death. He will -- unless something drastic happens to wake him up and make him take action for himself.
He's got you over a barrel and he knows it. He is right that you can leave. But he has no intention of leaving himself.
Only thing I can think of is sell the house, take the proceeds and move the hell away and don't look back. You deserve a good life. You deserve your sanity. You deserve to be happy.
You deserve not to live under the horrible conditions of a drunk.
I wish you the courage to make a change in your life. Good luck and keep us posted. MM
P.S. Beer vs. drugs. Makes no difference. When an alcoholic is in the throes of his addiction, it doesn't matter what substance he's using to get high. In many ways, booze is the worst killer of all. Why? Because it's legal!
kelly on December 15, 2012:
i have one at home just like Sal has except he never gets violent. in the early years he tried but I fight back and we figured out that wont work without one of us beating the other one to death.. i called police i moved 11 times i had vpo's and he would always be on my sidewalk when i got off work or already broken into my house to eat and try to beg his way back in.. call the cops he runs and hides.. i get lecture from cops about calling and wasting their time and told I will get in trouble if this continues.. bla bla.. well this continues throughout 0ur childs growing up to 14 or 15 and as we both end up going to grandmas to sleep to get away from the b.s. when he comes home crocked.. well she was getting too old to sleep with after 11 or 12 so i end up sleeping on moms couch while she takes over the spare room.. eventually .. i dont want to live on moms couch and she doesn't want anything to do with coming back home... to the point of getting so hysterical and jumping out of the car that i looked like i was kidnapping some kid trying to get her back into the car.. so she ends up living in moms spare room and I sleep at home so i am not living on moms couch.. she still stays in that room as a 21 year old in college.. i still live at home after 28 years with her Dad.. I finally bought a house so could not keep moving.. and he just came along with the furnature like all the other places.. i finally had quit calling the police for several years after being made an ass out of a million times.. where he would run off and hide and come back after they left and crap like that.. I bought a gun once when she was small and every time he tried to come in I pointed it at him and he would back out and leave.. this was after I had come home to him selling everything in our home we owned of any value including our baby's highchair, all her clothes, her stroller, and took our air cond out of window and sold it while temps were OVER 100 degrees, he returned our groceries to store for refund.. sold my c.b. radio which I had never hooked up yet.. "new" and I was soooo pissed I pawned our t.v. and bought a gun to keep him out of the house. My daughter was under a year old and he was doing hard drugs with a neighbor I figured out.. that went on when I was moving and getting vpo's for several several years.. i think he finally quit that crap when she was 7 or 8 or something like that... those were some rough years.. once he got away from that crap.. beer seemed relatively tame to have a few of around.. i quit drinking when I got pregnant.. so I was no fun since I was sober and busy being a mom and working all the time.. so he found bar friends to drink with.. if he drank alcohol.. then he would try to get mean.. but my Dad was a golden gloves boxer.. and I would knock the you know what out of him WAAAAY harder than he would be mean to me.. so he learned quick that trying to get physical with me meant you were going to get a black eye or a busted head.. so he quit that crap.. those nights were what lead to me and daughter going to grandmas to sleep.. so he quits drinking hard liquor and only drinks beer.. but still its no fun trying to communicate with someone even a little drunk on beer.. and for sure not when they are pie eyed.. and over the years the quantities have gotten huge.. sober days few and only after multiple days of continuous beer drinking and staying up all night into next day until blind drunk and peeing whatever he passes out on by the second nite.. usually an eating binge at the end of it where he trashes a perfectly clean kitchen.. but he will pass out with the fires on the gas stove burning and sometimes food in pans on the fire.. burning till black smoke rolls out of em.. he will leave front door to house WIDE open and pass out.. and I cannot keep from being scared to death that if I just move out.. he will burn down house or leave door open and our dogs run down street.. "pitt bulls" which could get us in a heap of trouble.. from cops to charges and having to put them to sleep and such.. they are spoiled and live in house and sleep in bed and watch t.v. but would bite other dogs and that would cause all the legal troubles and suing us and having to put em to sleep.. plus he gets BLIND drunk every night he starts drinking.. he drinks till he is broke and has no memory of the blind drunk cooking sessions in the kitchen.. HE will only admit he has a problem maybe twice a year.. THEN doesn't want to discuss it .. says he knows he has a problem.. ANY other time he doesn't want to quit and wont admit he has a problem.. if i say i am going to consider moving .. he says fine.. what's stoppin ya.. YET its MY house as we have been DIVORCED FOR 20 YEARS since she was one year old and I got him to sign divorce papers .. we dont have any kind of healthy relationship.. i tell everyone he and I are single and he could date someone.. but has no interest.. he dates beer cans.. I am not interested in the concept of dating anyone.. but it makes me sick to watch him just drink himself to death. I pay all the bills .. any time he makes money I am lucky to get 20 or 40 of every 200 or so dollars.. and he only works a day here and day there for a worthless contractor that pays cash for make ready work.. paint / tile / etc.. he has not had a driving license since 1986 and has no tools or vehicle or means to support himself.. any money he makes he will drink it all unless he hands it to me.. then he wants to eat back out of it instead of me paying bills with it.. so I AM the sole bill payer... I BOUGHT this house with cash from a settlement from a work injury where I had surgeries and it was cheap "a relatives old rental property" and so it was a good deal price wise.. but it needs everything fixed. I DO NOT HAVE A HOUSE PAYMENT or RENT PAYMENT tho and I cannot afford to GIVE him my house and he wont leave.. I have to go to work.. we have been that route over eleven different addresses and over 15 years of cop callin etc.. to where he finally got a stalking charge from violating the vpo's sooooo many times.. and now that is a felony.. so he cannot get hired at a decent job.. can not have felony's... plus he is a drunk... no tools .. no vehicle.. he is unemployable... I am not going to give him my house.. i cannot continue to live with him.. its like having mr. magoo with alzheimers every night living with you... blind drunk playing music full blast and trashing kitchen trying to cook food after his binge is over.. hes a good day or two hungry and wants to eat and pass out.. he smears food all over counters and leaves oven and burners on.. I have found plates of food STACKED on top of each other in microwave.. left in there all night.. him asleep with spilled beer and food on his chest and urine soaked bed to the point of where I put urine catching pads like you use for bedridden people on his side of bed.. so matress wont get ruined.. when he is sober during day he is nice and visity about funny stuff like nothing is wrong and has NO MEMORY of the stupidity he put me through the night before.. or the two or three days of it before he decided to pass out and wake up like all is well. I pray he will just drink himself to death and get it over with. He had ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST OR INTENTION of trying to quit .. will never consider any kind of counseling.. I would just have to keep paying the bills and property taxes on MY HOUSE and go live in a spare room at a relatives house to be able to afford to move out.. thats b.s. too... he wont leave.. I am SURE he would burn the house down if left alone blind drunk in the kitchen. I feel trapped.. I tell him to his face all of this and how its NOT FAIR TO MAKE ME LIVE THE LIFE OF AN ALCOHOLIC if I dont drink.. yet I deal with it by cleaning up and losing sleep and having all the financial responsibility and its wrong ugly and I am SICK OF IT.. he hears it and doesn't care. still drinks.. tells me I can leave. I tell him its my house.. he just looks at me. I have feared I would shoot him if I owned a gun now.. but hes a felon so I dont have one in house. Just thought I would let you know.. beer .. no drugs..its
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 03, 2012:
Bless you for reaching out for help for your brother. You sound like you have quite a severe case on your hands. Which, if you truly are an alcoholic as well, is what you may well be looking at for yourself down the line. It's a progressive, FATAL disease. Your brother's just on a faster track to destruction than it sounds like you are.
The EMTs are correct. Your brother's alcoholism has reached the stage that not drinking is actually more imminently dangerous than keeping alcohol in his system at all times. If he tries to stop drinking cold turkey he will go into severe withdrawal. More seizures and....
So you basically have two choices here.
You can continue enabling him in keeping a steady stream of alcohol in his body -- which of course is killing him slowly over time (has he stopped eating yet?)
You can get him help.
He needs to be medically detoxed, preferably followed by inpatient rehab.
I don't know where you live or what insurance or financial resources you have available to get him help.
But I would suggest researching rehabs in your area and see if anyone has a bed available. Or try callingthe your local Alcoholics Anonymous help line -- they should be knowledgeable about what resources are available. You might (fingers x'd) be able to get him on the phone with them. And they might (fingers x'd) be able to send some sober men over on a 12th-step call to talk with him and get him to seek help on his own. While that may sound like a longshot, stranger miracles have happened.
At minimum, they should be knowledgeable about rehab facilities and hospitals and even county facilities where you might be able to place him...
Another thought is you could try getting him committed on a psychiatric hold. A bit trickier to maneuver unless he is clearly an imminent danger to himself or others... But certainly worth exploring.
I wish I had a simpler, more encouraging answer for you.
I will put you both in my prayers.
Please keep me posted on how you do, ok?
God bless. MM
David on December 03, 2012:
my brother is worse than me i am an alcoholic, but i do do day to day functions. he has got really bad now drinks everyday from when he gets up till he goes to bed. i have never done that but have dealt with depression. he had a seizure recently like a month ago and wont even put pants on now most of the time, i need help to figure out how to get him even on the porch much less to anywhere. he is my younger brother btw 2.5 years younger. i am 42 he is 39 but he is in a serious condition.
any help is appreciated.
PS. i am his enabler but the ambulance people told me if he does not drink he will die.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 15, 2012:
... without help it is too much for us.
The Big "D" is such a huge obstacle, isn't it? Honesty does not come naturally to alcoholics. Not hardly!!
I would suggest you refer your friend to the comments above from Jenny. Her husband refused -- multiple times -- to go to the hospital. Until his liver failed.
Unfortunately, it was too late for him.
I have known some AAs who came in because a doctor put the fear of GOD in them. "If you don't stop drinking you will die."
It's true. This disease is lethal. It WILL kill you and it sounds like your friend is well on his way.
I wonder if it will take a heart attack or stroke for him to believe his doctor about the damage.
He sure sounds like a determined one.
Hope you are mentally and emotionally preparing YOURSELF for the inevitable here.
Sorry to say.
William Benner from Savannah GA. on August 15, 2012:
To quote Bill W..."Remember that we deal with alcohol; cunning, baffling and powerful!" Since the last time my friend was in the hospital, they said that his heart had received much damage from alcohol and other medications and he STILL says this can not be possible be true! Denial is not just river in Egypt! :)
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 13, 2012:
Hello HVW. That is good news about your friend! No surprise that your friend mixes alcohol with things he should not. That is par for the course.
It's difficult to explain the feeling of being unable to sit still within your own skin. Anything that can offer relief from that, some ease and comfort, will be used to escape that horrible feeling.
I've heard many alcoholics in recovery call themselves "garbage cans." They would take anything and everything offered to them. There is no real thought given to the wisdom of mixing. It doesn't compute.
If the label on a prescribed drug says "Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication" the alcoholic sees the words "drink alcohol." Period. Every pill goes better with a beer (or glass of wine or gin or margarita or...)
But I'm really glad your friend has cut back. Sounds like a medical scare did the trick.
Keeping him in my prayers.
William Benner from Savannah GA. on August 13, 2012:
Yes I have talked to him with several other of his friends and he has actually slowed down big time on his drinking, for he has been in and out of the hospital lately. One of the problems is that he mixes the alcohol with medication that should not. There is still hope for him!
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 22, 2012:
Sorry to hear about your dad, KJ. Sounds like you are writing about him in the past tense. I know what it's like to watch an alcoholic parent never get sober. Confounding.
I guess there's no money in alcoholism/addiction treatment as there is in cancer and heart drugs. IDK. You're so right, it sooooo is more dangerous and lethal than any other illness or societal problem. It's an all-out war and everyone loses.
Recovery IS a second chance at life!
Kangaroo_Jase from Melbourne, Australia on July 22, 2012:
Very broad, intensive and powerful hub. I had a father that was a chronic alcoholic most of his adult life. He never got the courage and the continued drive to seek the help and assistance long term that he needed.
It is an insidious and crazy disease and kills more people than cancer and heart disease put together.
I truly hope that those who are needing help get it now. It just may save their life and put them on the road to a better future.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 18, 2012:
Hi Highvoltagewriter. I hope you saw Jenny's comments above. She watched helplessly as her husband's liver failed. He ended up in ICU. It was too late.
You're absolutely right. This is a FATAL disease. And your friend knows this on some level.
Denial is a big part of the disease of alcoholism. It's pretty weird but it makes you believe you don't have it. The idea of giving up the one thing that ultimately becomes the focus of your whole life is beyond comprehension. I've heard it over and over and over. Oh yes and all the problems in your life are someone else's fault!
Your friend is probably not far off if he thinks he's going to die soon anyway. What he may not know is how horrible and painful an alcoholic death is. But to even voice that certainty of where he is heading he DOES know he has a problem. I've met a lot of people in recovery who were sure they would never make it to 30. But they got sober!
It sounds like he hasn't experienced enough YETS to make reach the crisis point in his life. Has he lost his family? His job? His home? His friends? You as his friend have a choice to support him in his slow suicide or make a stand and refuse to. You can say "You have a right to kill yourself but I don't have to enable you. So I won't." Not sure how you feel about taking a hard line and walking away. If he dies you're going to feel shitty regardless. At least this approach lets him know YOU'RE serious.
You mention that other people have talked to him. Have you thought of all sitting him down at one time and saying "We love you. But we won't be in your life if you continue to drink." And mean it. I'm talking about staging an intervention. Just like on the TV show. If you can get him into a rehab for 30 days that will at least give him an introduction to AA and give his body a rest.
I wish I could give you the silver bullet.
The only other thing I can suggest is if you have a lot of active alcoholic friends you might consider getting yourself to Al-Anon so you can deal with them and not go bonkers yourself!
Good luck. Please keep me posted, ok? Thanks! MM
William Benner from Savannah GA. on July 18, 2012:
Great article that really hits home for I have many friends that have this disease. One of them is in grave danger of loose his life from drinking. He has been in deep denial, and refuses to admit that he has a problem. Many people has talked to him about him and yet, it has had no effect and he will not go to AA. I hate to see him do this for himself and his excuse is that he feels he i s won't live much longer and what would be the point of quitting? I am at the point that I do not what to do next. Any advice?
Jenny on June 19, 2012:
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 02, 2012:
I am so very sorry to hear your news. Thank you for letting me know.
I hope you are getting lots of love and support.
Big hugs. MM
Jenny on June 01, 2012:
MM~ My happy ending was cut short on March 22. I haven't updated, but wanted to take the time to Thank You for all of your support, along with the many prayers from all around. I am glad to see some positive stories since then. Thank you again. You have an amazing page here.
reagu from Los Angeles on May 29, 2012:
Our family dealt with something like this before. My bro HAD a gambling problem that got him in trouble. We pulled through and he seems to be doing ok. Going on 2 years now. I live with him, so I keep an eye.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 21, 2012:
Wow NanaBella-GM. You catch on real quick. I'm so heartened to read of your positive plan. You are not so sickened by being with an alcoholic that you've forgotten what is important in life. Or that you deserve all the happiness in the world.
You're right to work on what you can do to protect your own mental and physical health. In addition to Al-Anon, I would suggest attending some OPEN AA meetings. You will hear firsthand the stories of people who were once exactly where your man is, but who had that crisis that brought them to a healthy way of life. I think it's important to get the truth about what you are up against AND what he is contending with. I meant to say before but will say now, this is not a moral issue. It is not a willpower issue. He is SICK and because of that, it makes YOU sick. He is not bad and you are not weak or stupid for staying with him. But you are in danger of becoming sicker unless you work on your own self.
YOu're absolutely right there will be days you feel strong and days you feel like giving up on him. Heck, I think they call that LIFE. We can all have those days with challenges in life.
One phrase that is very powerful in AA is "One day at a time." Make the choice to work on yourself and be healthy in your life for today. Today you choose to stay.
But tomorrow you may decide to make a different choice.
Tomorrow he may decide to make a different choice. You will be much more helpful to him knowing why he is acting this way.
Please keep in touch I would love to know how things work out with you both. There is loving support out here for both of you. Glad you've reached out your hand.
NANABELLA-GM on May 21, 2012:
I just want to thank you for the encouraging words. I went away for the weekend to see my daughter and grandchildren. I did a lot of soul seaching while away from home. I did realize how lucky I am to have my daughters and grandchildren. I am so blessed that they are in my life. Not that I had forgotten, just needed a little push with everything that has been going on. I am going to start going to Al-Anon this week. I have found a class close by home and I honestly think this will help me handle living with the alcohol in my life. I also believe that you are correct about it taking a crisis point in his life to make him realize he has to stop , if it ever does. He is so lucky that he has not gotten a DUI or worse. I hope that it does not come to that point, but I am so scared it will. Even though he has admitted he has a drinking problem he has not even tried to slow down any. I do realize it is something I have to accept and I can not make him stop drinking, but I can understand how to handle it a lot better than I am now. He is the only one that can stop and not a thing I say will make it happen. Leaving right now is not an option for me , because I feel in my heart it will just make it worse for him. I am going to try everything in my power to be able to deal with this but if I feel like it is going to affect my mental health or physical health a lot more than it has already then I will have to make a change for me. I know there are going to be days I will feel strong and other days I feel like giving up on him. I am going to stay strong and hope he will see what all this is doing to not only his life but his health.
Thank you again,
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 20, 2012:
Hi Nannabella GM,
Your situation sounds classic. I recognize virtually all of your man's behaviors and yours, as well. That walking on eggshells is so stressful, isn't it?
He may be a wonderful guy when not drinking. But once the drink takes control it's like a totally different, selfish, mean, nasty person. That's not him, it's his disease you're seeing (not that there's really a difference).
You know where alcoholism leds. You've seen your father and your uncle lose everything to their drinking.
Your man will eventually reach a crisis point in his drinking as well. We all do. And that's painful to watch because you just don't know what it's going to take for your alcoholic.
It has been my experience that threatening to leave is not very effective. But in some cases it can me. Oftentimes it simply gives the alcoholic more excuse to drink solo without any restrictions or someone looking them. Plus it sounds like that is not what you want to do.
For those who love alcoholics and choose to stay in the relationship, there's the program of Al-Anon. I have many friends who swear by it. Teaches you how to live with the alcoholic without losing your own sanity.
I will say this: You deserve to be happy and you deserve a man who treats you with love and respect. It doesn't sound to me like he is capable of that, at least not right now.
He deserves to be free of the addiction that is claiming not only his life, but yours. You do NOT have to live like this. He is sick and will continue to drink this way until some crisis occurs. He gets a DUI. He loses his job. He develops health problems from drinking.
Until that happens, the best you can do -- if he flat out refuses to get help for his drinking -- is to get help for yourself.
I wish you both serenity and peace. I know it's possible. I've found it in my own life.
NANABELLA-GM on May 19, 2012:
I am at my wits end. I lost my dad and uncle to alcohol. Now I am watching another person go through the same thing. I have been in a relationship for 7 years ( living together 2). I did not know he was an alcohol until we moved in together. He drinks all weekend long from the time he gets up to he passes out. The during the week after work he drinks until he goes to bed. He has a plastic bottle in his truck with wine in it and I think he drinks that at work. He can be so nice at times, but then at other times he can so such mean things to me. Anything I do , he will redo. I guess it does not meet his standards. After doing research I know he is a controller. I don't invite my family over anymore because after they leave he complains so much about them. Even my 2 year grand daughter gets on his nerves after a few minutes. At times I feel like I just need to pack up and move on, but then I love this man. We have a home together and I have worked so hard on this. I just don't want to give up everything.
He has admitted that he drinks to much , but that is as far as it has gotten. He has not tried to slow down. I am scared to death to go with him anywhere, because I don't know how much alcohol he has consumed before I get home from work. I have even asked him not to drink in the vehicle when I am driving, because it is illegal and I could get in trouble. He still does it , so we really don't go anywhere together. Went to the beach a few months ago and I had to drive so he could drink. I got really sick while down there and I could not drive, he would not bring me back home. I had to wait until the next day before we could come home. At home it is like I have to walk on egg shells because I do not know what mood he is going to be in. He tells me he loves me, but I think at times if he did then he would not drink and treat me so bad. What does it take for someone to get help with this. If they have admitted to drinking why can't they take the next steps to stop. I don't understand that. My dad or uncle never admitted to a drinking problem and they lost everything because of drinking. I don't want to threaten to leave if he don't stop drinking, because from understanding this is how it should be handled. Can anyone please give me some suggestions. Any suggestions would be appreciated at this point.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on April 03, 2012:
Your information is very good. I am in recovery 20 plus years. God has saved many a lives through the rooms of AA. I know the rooms saved my life. I have been in recovery over 20 plus years. The alcoholic has to want to stop drinking more then he wants to drink. It takes an ounce of willingness. ( similar to a measure of Faith) The support is contagious and the love comes in droves. No one beats you with a shovel. The alcoholic usually beats himself up enough. Guilt. Alcoholism is like a tornado that comes in to wipe out a family and all around. Insanity. DENIAL.
Everyone gets off the elevator on a different floor. Some do die because they never get off the downward elevator. There are always more yets to come until there are none left. It is by the grace of God I am here to share my story. I wanted to be sober more then I wanted to drink.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. For myself I was wondering how the obsession would leave. It did for me when I hit my knees and asked God to remove it. I am very Blessed.
Most spouses can not stay with the alcoholic or addict and need to leave for sanity or safety issues. Sometimes when the tuff love gets really Tiff and leaves the scene the alcoholic will hit hard and come too. Then hopefully do what it takes to get sober and stay sober. May God Bless the family in this situation it is ugly.
Alanon for family is awesome. Alateen for teens is awesome. There is always hope!! Jesus Christ is the way truth and life. Pray for the alcoholic and family! God could and would if He were sought.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 03, 2012:
Hello bipolar mind.
I am intrigued by your hub name and am going to check you out! Amazing that you don't find it necessary to self-medicate, as so many bipolars do.
So sorry to hear about your Mum and Nan. It is, indeed, a family disease.
It's so painful to watch someone self-destruct. But the sick person (yes, it IS a disease) literally does not have control over the obsession. It really is a miracle that any of us get sober. The odds are stacked against.
God bless you and your angels who are now pain free.
bipolar mind from uk on April 03, 2012:
This is a fantastic resource. I lost both my Nan and Mum to alcoholism. Very, very sad and a waste of two talented and loving lives. It is a disease and a lot of people still don't accept this. You cannot stop an alcoholic from drinking unless they wish to do so. Even when they KNOW they are killing themselves. My Nan's esophagus basically disintegrated leading to a slow, bloody death through her mouth. Not pleasant in ICU.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 02, 2012:
RIP Jeannie. And thank you for writing. You capture the helplessness of the person who loves/cares about the alcoholic perfectly. And the alcoholic may earnestly want to quit and vow to quit. But that compulsion is simply too strong.
The reality is most alcoholics never get sober.
I am glad Jeannie is out of the insanity and out of pain.
God bless. MM
Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on April 01, 2012:
"You can lead the horse to water but you can't make him drink it," fits the alcoholic perfectly. You encourage, you can have an intervention, you can do all of these things but sadly, it's all up to the alcoholic to NOT pick up that bottle or can. You can Pray for them until you are blue in the face but as some of us learn the hard way, prayers are not always answered the way we would like them to be answered. I lost one of my closest friends two days ago as she lost her battle with alcoholism. She was only 54 and passed away in her sleep. I am missing her so very much already. My only solace is that I know she is no longer tormented and can now rest peacefully. RIP Jeannie.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 24, 2012:
Yes, it does help.
You make some very insightful points.
Rape, incest, murder, stealing, cheating, lying -- pretty much all your crimes/sins are things alcoholics engage in.
But recovery is possible and forgiveness of self and others is part of that.
I am glad to hear about your coworkers stopping drinking.
Gives my heart hope.
Thanks for sharing.
ucal on March 24, 2012:
Thank you for so soon a response. All the information I gave, I didn't learn in one class. It took years for me to learn all that. So much of it was from the Bible, and yet it was never taught in all the years I went to church. It might be interesting to know that my coworker who had the seizure trying to quit drinking and two other coworker alcoholics who also were seriously working on stopping drinking drinking up until the time I retired, did so right after I told about the relationship between pedophilia. It occurred to me later that they did so because another coworker drinker had molested his own pre-adolescent daughters in a very perverted way. They must have made the connection and knew that what I was saying was true. As heinous a crime as pedophilia is the alcohol relationship gives a deeper insight into these sick puppies. I can't think that they ever thought that they would become pedophiles when they were children unless they were molested themselves.
I told a friend who drank, I don't know how much, about this information. His response was that it does reduce inhibitions. Later, thinking about what he said, I saw even more the mechanism in the relationship between alcohol and the heart uttering perverse things. As it states in the book of Jeremiah, "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Drinking reduces inhibitions and allows/causes the deceitful and desperately wicked heart to speak perversions without the normal restraint.
Hope this helps.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 24, 2012:
Hello ucal. Thank you for your comment. You are so right. Alcholics do engage in horrific behavior. Our prisons are full of people whose primary problem is alcoholism, which is behind their bad behavior and illegal acts. Like it or not, we ARE judged by our behavior. And it is incomprehensible to those around us.
Not every criminal is alcoholic, however. Some people are simply BAD.
But you are also 100% correct in that the truth will set you free. Honesty is at the core of recovery. We inside our diseased brains live in denial. We simply do not/cannot see the harm we cause to other people. It's part of the disease.
But yes. Once you become willing to face yourself in the mirror and admit "I am powerless over this substance that is making me crazy and killing me body, mind and soul" then and only then can we begin to recover.
YOu are also correct and thanks for bringing this up, that alcoholics NEED alcohol in their bodies. When we get really bad we can have seizures if we don't keep alcohol in our bloodstream. As you saw too clearly with your coworker, it's a serious illness and WILL kill you if left unchecked.
Great post. You have raised some really essential points here. MM
ucal on March 24, 2012:
We are dealing with an alcoholic. In the Bible, it says that drinking will cause the heart to utter perverse things, Proverbs 23: KJV. I heard on Truths that Transform, a Christian radio program that 90 to 95 percent of all child molestings is alcohol related. I wasn't able to verify the study, but searching the web supports a high percentage of child molestings being alcohol related. I personally know of three cases. This is not to say that all drinkers are pedophiles. It is just one kind of perversion among many, rape 50%, murder 75% [perversion of justice], adultery, etc. I have told this to some alcoholics and afterwards they seemed to drink less or get help. One deep alcoholic, a co-worker went cold turkey right after I told him and had to be trached because he had a seizure while at work. I didn't know then that going cold turkey could cause that. Yet the Bible says that the truth will set you free. Hope this helps.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 19, 2012:
Deepak, Thanks for the comment. It's hard to watch when someone you love crosses that invisible barrier.
emilybee, Glad you found my hub helpful. Sorry to hear you've got the disease in your family. I'm living proof that it CAN turn into a blessing. But not without a lot of pain, acceptance, and work by the alcoholic. And pain and acceptance and work on the part of the family.
Please learn all you can about what you're dealing with. It could save your family member's life.
All the best,
emilybee on March 19, 2012:
Thanks for the info, and passing it along to family members....voted up.
Deepak Chaturvedi from New Delhi, India on March 05, 2012:
Useful hub and you gave most of the information you could.Thanks MM for sharing such useful tips as smoking and driking leave no other way open for some cause they sometime already crossed the barriers.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 04, 2012:
It is so good to hear from you! I was talking with my husband last night about ICU and that made me think of you and your husband. Wondered how you were doing. This is encouraging news!
But 43 days must seem like an eternity for you (not to mention your husband). But that's less than the average rehab so if you think of it that way, he's just really starting his new alcohol free life.
I hope you are learning lot about the disease. I imagine the hospital staff is quite focused on liver function so that is probably what they talk to you about, rather than the overarching disease that led him to drink so much. I highly recommend the books "Under the Influence" and "Beyond the Influence" both are linked here. Good to help you understand the physical side of your husband's alcoholism.
I continue to pray for you and in fact will launch a new round of Hubbers in recovery prayers for his healing.
And prayers for you and your family, too. That you will soon ALL have a new lease on life.
Keep positive and please tell your husband we're waiting for him in the rooms where the recovery miracles happen -- and they WILL happen for him.
Jenny on March 03, 2012:
First, Yes princesswithapen her page has been such a help to me. You are doing such a great thing here Mighty Mom. Just wanted to check in and update. We are at day 43 in the hospital. Some changes, but still no liver healing. Some days this feels as though it has been years, and others, it seems like a few weeks. Still holding on. Thank you again for the extra support.
princesswithapen on February 27, 2012:
The fact that this article was published more than 2 years back and still draws comments of appreciation is what really brings a smile to the face. It is proof that the hub is reaching out to alcoholics and people who have an alcoholic friend/lover/relative or a family member. Mighty Mom, with this hub you may very well be stopping someone from drinking to death. Nicely done!
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 25, 2012:
My heart goes out to you. I know all too well how frustrating and disappointing it is to see someone else fail. Probably hurts you more at this point than it hurts your stepson.
The do-well-for-awhile-then-forget-and-drink cycle is very, very common. I was going to say especially for young drinkers, but even older alcoholics can take a lot of pain before surrendering.
Sounds like losing "just" his license is not enough to humble your stepson. He has to keep feeling the consequences every time he "forgets" he has a DISEASE and thinks it's ok to have a drink.
On the plus side, getting 3 months of sobriety at a time is awesome! That's an accomplishment! And he's done it before so you know he can do it again.
Best place for him is (in my experience) AA. I don't know where you live, but I hope there are YOUNG PEOPLE'S meetings -- it's important to hang out with others who are in recovery rather than thinking you can hang out with your old drinking buddies.
Good luck to your stepson and to you.
BTW, I despaired of my son ever living to 18. He had to hit his own bottom (not when I thought he should be done, when HE was done). He's now doing great. There is HOPE.
Tammy on February 25, 2012:
Hi, this is such a helpful site, as my stepson is 24 and is an alcholic. He has been to rehab and some AA and some counselling. He goes for about three months then thinks its ok to have a drink. and of course it turns to a binge. He has lost his licence for three years now. He does well then falls, and I just dont know what to say to him when he falls?
amnestylina on February 13, 2012:
I use honesty, patience, NO ENABLING, NO JUDGING, STRICT BOUNDARIES, belief in a better life and the HOPE that is shot down gets huge boosts. Dream it then Be it. Who are you without the drink? Who were you before it? What took your joy away? Lets try to help you get it back! I have found some good success. Not mine...Theirs
Kate on February 11, 2012:
Thank you for writing this article. My dad's an alcoholic, my parents split because of his drinking when I was 11 (I am now turning 23.)I ended up moving back in with him before I realized how bad his drinking was (he got worse after my mum left) and I now can't afford to move out as I'm at Uni and it's too expensive where I live (in the UK) to find even a cheap room. I can't move in with my mum and the rest of my family are too far away.
He's once again promised he's going to stop drinking, a lie I'm no longer believing. He was such a different man when I was a child, it upsets me so much to see him essentially drinking himself to death but I know there's nothing I can say to make him stop.
In a few weekends time I'm going down to talk to my Granddad, he has no clue what my dad is like as my dad hasn't visited in such a long time and it's a very long way for my granddad to come up. It's a conversation I can't do over the phone, I've backed out too many times. I can hardly put up with it any more, my grades have suffered, my mental well-being is being torn to shreds. I'm just not sure how to start the conversation. I was wondering if anyone had any advice?
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 02, 2012:
I am so relieved to hear that your husband is still hanging in there. He's a fighter, obviously! Glad you are learning from this experience. We will continue our prayers for your both. I am praying in particular to give your husband the willingness to recognize that he needs to change so he can be there for you and his kids.
Gina -- God bless you, too. I hope you have read Jenny's entries so you see where this can lead.
If you have any questions I'm happy to offer my experience, strength and hope. There's no such thing as an 'expert' in this disease, but there are many of us who have dealt with it from both primary (self) and secondary (parents, spouses, children, etc.) perspectives.
I hope your spouse gets the help and that you also get help. It's out there!
Good luck. MM
gina on February 02, 2012:
Thank you so much for this very informative article. Being the spouse of an alcoholic,I really appreciate all the information I can get my hands on.
Jenny on February 02, 2012:
Thank you MM for the outpour of prayers and supporting thoughts. I haven't been near a computer for a while. He is still in the ICU tomorrow will be 2 weeks. We have had our ups and our downs. He has already amazed the doctors with his improvements. And once again we our going back down the emotional roller coaster. Doctors say as of today, there is still no healing of the liver, and numbers keep spiraling in the wrong direction. I will keep hopeful though. I haven't been able to bring my children to the hospital due to his condition, but have decided that today will probably be the best day to do so. He can speak, and smile so I want them to stay close to the most normal feeling they can get right now. If I have learned anything in these last two weeks it is Patience. Didn't know I lacked it till now. Patient I will continue being, and know how much I appreciate so many peoples support. Thank you.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 25, 2012:
We're still praying for your husband. Here's hoping that he's out of ICU and on the main floor of hospital, with a new sober life ahead of him.
All of us recovery hubbers are pulling for you.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 23, 2012:
I have hubber friends praying for your husband in this forum:
I also have my AA friends praying for him.
Best to you in this time of fear and uncertainty.
Have faith. Miracles and angels are everywhere.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 22, 2012:
I am praying for you and will spread the word to others in recovery (and not) to send their prayers that this medical crisis has a positive outcome in your family's lives.
Nothing else matters at this point except they get his organs under control.
Please don't judge or blame him. He did not do this to himself on purpose. He lost the power of choice.
But there is a Higher Power at work here.
Please know I am here for you anytime. Feel free to email me offline if you want to.
Jenny on January 22, 2012:
I am sadly posting from the ICU. Day 3 here. Thank you for your support.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 18, 2012:
My heart breaks for you and your children. I completely understand where ALL of you are at, including your husband.
The man who is pushing you all away and not seeming to care about his family is your husband possessed by and ravaged by a FATAL disease. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. He does not have a choice here. He HAS to drink and he has to keep people who interfere with that away.
The family is always victimized by alcoholism. He may appreciate the cards from your kids. But he is powerless at this point to participate in anything but his own self-destruction.
Of course you are at each other's throats. None of you is prepared to be in this situation. No one knows the right answer and everyone is terrified and angry at him for not valuing the family and his own life over his drinking. Let me say this one more time: He is in acute addiction and he CANNOT choose his family over his drinking. That is no longer a choice he can make.
So you need to make it for him.
It sounds like he is in medical crisis. Do you have a relationship with his doctor at all?
Sometimes a doctor can get through with the "If you don't stop drinking TODAY your liver is going to shut down." But not always.
Begging does nothing.
Seriously. Work it from both angles -- work on his MD to pull the plug based on his liver and lungs.
Call up every rehab you can find and see if they have a bed for him.
Get him admitted.
Find an interventionist (like the show INTERVENTION on TV -- that's exactly how it works). Get the whole family on board to participate. Get friends, neighbors, his employer,whoever you can think of to fill that room.
Then confront him.
It's ultimatum time. Either he gets help today or you (the family et al) will stop lifting a finger to do ANYTHING for him. If he insists on killing himself, you cannot be party to suicide. It's that simple.
Because everything you re doing for him right now is enabling him to stay sick. If you are fixing his meals or covering for him or taking on extra duties with the kids, you are essentially helping him do this slow suicide.
I don't know what interventionists charge but what is your husband's life worth?
Let the professional worry about how to get him to the rehab. That is their job.
He needs to be in an INPATIENT place and it sounds like he really needs to be HOSPITALIZED because of the liver issues.
I wish you all the best, Jenny
If it helps, my husband was exactly where you are with ME at the end of 2003. I am going on 8 years sober now.
There is hope.
But you can't sit by and do nothing.
Or he will kill himself right in front of you.
Jenny on January 18, 2012:
Thank you for your response. He in all hasnt't lost anything yet. We can't figure out why he refuses to be seen. I have never had to deal with anything like this. We have had people come in and he just gets mad and says we are hounding him. My children make him cards that say they hope he feels better soon, and it just breaks my heart. I have thought of getting him into the car, but then what. I never knew he could be so strong willed or stuborn about this. Our insurance does offer help, and had set appointments for him to attend. That didn't work, he just plain out no showed. He has been jandice now for almost a full 3 months, I am just really worried that it may be too late. his liver is huge and he is starting to have trouble breathing. He just keeps on drinking. He does have very supportive family in his life (he doesn't seem to care though). They have begged him also. The stress level is so high, that we are now at each others throats.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 14, 2012:
I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds like your husband needs a medical detox ASAP. If you call 911 they would take him to a hospital. A hospital is not really going to deal with his alcohol problem. Have you tried calling rehab places? What kind of insurance do you have? Some plans (like mine here in CA is Kaiser) have chemical dependency programs.
Even finding him a bed in an alcohol detox center is better than watching him kill himself with alcohol.
I would also call your local AA hotline. It's likely they can send members out on what is called a 12 Step call to talk to your husband peer-to-peer.
They could help you get him into a detox center.
The other thought I have is if you feel he is a danger to himself or others you could have him committed to a psych facility on a 5150, where they could medically detox him. The main thing is he is all full of booze and cannot think clearly and his alcoholic brain is doing what alcoholic brains do: telling him he MUST drink.
On the plus side he says he knows he has a problem. That's a good first step.
What has he already lost and what is left in his life still to lose? YOu may honestly have to force him into what we call a "bottom" where he has nowhere else to fall and the only way out is up. Does that make sense?
Sorry I'm sort of rambling here. Do you have others in the family or friends who can host an intervention? Issue him an ultimatum. If he doesn't get help you will not help him anymore. And mean it. But I know that is a really hard thing for anyone who loves their loved one to pull off successfully. On the other hand, this disease wants him DEAD and it sounds like he is not fighting it. So you must!
Honestly, judging by how bad he sounds, it really seems like you have to force the issue.
Can you trick him into getting in the car with you?
Let him keep drinking till you get him to a rehab facility (they actually suggest you come in loaded so you don't go into convulsions).
Let me talk to a couple of AA friends and see what other ideas I can come up with.
God bless you and I am praying for you and your husband. Been there and know that recovery IS possible.
Jenny on January 14, 2012:
So what is your advice if the person refuses to get medical help and is very sick. My Husband is Jaundice, swollen, and is close to death. He will not get help. He says he knows he has a problem, but wont leave the house. 911 has been called and they were not able to take him because he could firmly refuse.
Alexander Brenner from Laguna Hills, California on January 07, 2012:
I appreciate the distinction between heavy drinker and alcoholic. I feel like the phrase alcoholic is thrown around so easily today, that it has lost its' medical meaning. Everyone college student that drinks a sixer is suddenly an alcoholic by friends and peers while the student that cannot go to class unless drunk is put under the same label. Thanks for the hub, super interesting.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 12, 2011:
Thanks, ICTT. One in 10 people is alcoholic. So yes, we all know someone who is an out-of-control drinker in the making (or at some stage along the inevitable progression that is this FATAL disease). You're right. Excessive drinking is glamorized all around us. Which makes it even harder to sort out who's got the "ism" vs. who's just a hard partier -- until the damage is pretty far advanced and the person really cannot stop...
Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.
icountthetimes on December 12, 2011:
Such a valuable hub. I think most of us have a friend, relative or loved one who has had battles with drink related issues. For some people one drink is one drink too many and they just can't stop. It doesn't help that getting drunk is painted as something with very little consequence, on TV, in movies, and in music videos. So much effort goes into the "war on drugs" that people forget that perfectly legal additions can be just as damaging.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 27, 2011:
Hi Timothy Donnelly,
Thank you for such a positive and helpful comment. I have linked my hub to your poem and am happy to know of such a valuable resource within Hub Pages.
I have always supported the Salvation Army. Great work for those once were lost but now are found. I heard a delightful chairperson just yesterday who came from the SA program. So God bless back to you. He is working among us. MM
Timothy Donnelly from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2011:
Hello Mighty Mom, thanks for writing such a useful hub, for many families have to endure the alcoholic in their midst.
I would like to suggest that alcoholics may have issues and pains, as you suggest, but they most certainly also have talent and worth, and that is what I think is most important for us to focus on, for the benefit of the users themselves, and for the families that have chosen to shoulder the burden (truly) of never giving up hope, even if by proxy.
The demons and hot potatoes that alcoholics cannot seem to free themselves of are ones that can be diminished through the realization of their hidden, untapped, or unrefined talents - and usefulness. The frustrations experienced by people addicted to anything will subside and resolve themselves when the addict discovers an appreciation for their own intrinsic fundamental value as a genuine human being and contributor to society. These values are inherent in each of us by virtue of our existence - by virtue of the fact that we each were in fact “created” for a purpose - not a mistake, a fluke, a crime, or an accident.
That is WHY the Salvation Army has one of the greatest success rates for people that have entered and completed their recovery programs - because of its “Spiritual” basis. They teach a 12 Step program that includes conducting a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (probably the scariest thing one can honestly do - but also the most important), and basically setting things right through the practice and procedure of forgiveness (both ourselves and others). Indeed, the 12-Step program IS MOST CERTAINLY a Spiritual program, when one gets down to it. Of course, they offer the concept of “anonymous” Higher Powers, for the souls that are not quite convinced of their Heavenly birthright, and this, I believe, is a pragmatic, inclusive, and very congenial approach, but hopefully, for the ones that run an honest program, it is merely a stepping stone to alter of Christ.
Alas, one cannot force another to willingly enter a Spiritually based program of RECOVERY, but we can each remind the addict that they are an immortal Spiritual being first, on a human journey through mortality, traveling the roads of trial and toil, CHOOSING our direction with the faith and its concomitant promises that we also choose to believe.
The substance of addiction then, becomes lighted with a clarity that describes its use as not a sin (where one may give up and lose hope), but as a temptation that we have been prescribed to overcome (for surely, we each have temptations that beset our way). When the addict learns that they are given the opportunity to resist [temptation] successfully, and grow stronger through the trial, they will find the COURAGE, and the MIGHT to do so. This is really NOT to be viewed as a metaphor - although some are helpful in exemplifying the “growing stronger” part, like a seedling pushing through the soil, or a hatchling breaking forth from its shell - it is to be embraced as a reality of existence and progression into the next resurrected life to come.
We, as common traveler of this human mortality, are enlisted to HELP where we are able, and where we are given the opportunity, so as to gain the blessings of character which will further help us become successful in confronting every spiritual adversary of sore temptation.
Thank you Mighty Mom for encouraging people to help one another with compassion and empathy, and patience. I have linked this hub to one of my own that describes a successfully-won battle with addiction. God bless.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 26, 2011:
Hello htodd. Absolutely! There are health benefits to small amounts of alcohol. The exact amount that's "healthy" keeps changing, it seems. But moderation is key. The problem comes when you simply cannot control the amount you drink.It happens. 1 in 10 -- 10% of the population -- is alcoholic. If you run into someone who is hiding behind the "health benefits" of red wine but chugging a 1.5 litre jug a night... take note that that person probably has a problem and doesn't want to admit it.
htodd from United States on November 26, 2011:
If it is taken in small amount that would be great for health ..Thanks for the nice write ups
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 19, 2011:
Good luck to you Aceblogs.
If I understand your solution to your dad's drinking problem the family has forced a solution on him.
You are making him take Antabuse or some drug that makes it very unpleasant for him if he drinks.
You don't mention how long you have had this solution in place.
I caution you. Unless your dad truly buys into not drinking ON HIS OWN there will come a day when he finds a way to get around this imposed regimen. He will break his vows to you and the family. He will find a way not to take that medication.
It will not be because he doesn't love you or want to be sober. It will be his sick brain and body compelling him to medicate itself "correctly" (e.g., by drinking).
There is a subtle but essential difference between YOU controlling your dad's sobriety and HIM controlling his sobriety.
I've known hundreds of alcoholics in my time.
They all say the same thing: NO ONE can keep you sober but YOU (I will refrain from the spiritual aspect of how that works for right now).
So I ask you. Is your dad just going along with you to keep you off his back?
Or has he internalized and embraced for himself the idea that abstaining from alcohol is what he needs to do?
I hope it is the latter and I wish you ALL the best of luck. Would you be so kind as to check back in with me in awhile and keep us posted on how your dad is doing?
Wishing you serenity and blessings. MM
Aceblogs from India on October 19, 2011:
Well i appreciate the way you have written this excellent hub. The only way we got our dad to let go out of drinking habbits was forcing him by giving vows of each other , mom and kids , and thus eating food early and giving him some medication that used to cause irritation in his body when he used to take alcohol . Thus the new day has come when he totally abstain from alcohol now
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on September 25, 2011:
Hey thanks Sunshine625. Preaching doesn't do anything when people's ears are closed. That is one of the really weird things about alcoholism and alcoholics. Our minds TELL us we don't have a problem. Denial is a river of booze. LOL.
Thanks for your comment.
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 25, 2011:
Wow only 4-6%?? I think Im aware of 3% of those! Funny but sad. I know a few alcoholics which is why I don't drink. They don't think they have a problem. I'm an addictive person also so there's only so much preaching I can do. Nobody is perfect but we do the best we can. Fantastic hub!!!
fashion on July 27, 2011:
Very useful hub again.
You are doing great job.
MarloByDesign from United States on July 26, 2011:
Thanks Mighty Mom, my name is MarloByDesign, not Mario.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 26, 2011:
Hi MarioByDesign. I hear you. The whole thing defies logic. Unfortunately, the very things the non-drinker thinks are the right things are actually not helpful. Sure, you can find and pour out the bottles. I don't know a single SO/family member of an alcoholic who hasn't done that. The alcoholic will ALWAYS find a way to get more.
You may slow him/her down -- momentarily.
And if it makes you feel better, sure, go ahead.
Good luck to you -- I hope the person whose bottles you are hiding appreciates you and more important, GETS SOME HELP!
MarloByDesign from United States on July 26, 2011:
"Do NOT try to control the drinker's drinking yourself." - very hard NOT to sometimes...you would think hiding the alcohol would be a good thing.
MarkMAllen15 on June 24, 2011:
Great hub. It is such a help. Thanks for sharing.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 11, 2011:
Hello pressingtheissue. Afraid is right. The prospect of living life without your "lover" (and if you are an addict/alcoholic, your fix is your whole world)is terrifying. How will I ever have fun again? Will I ever laugh again? Life without drinking will be soooo boring (yes, that's the point. And the life that we poo poo while drinking is actually much, much better than we can ever imagine).
There's the fear. And there's the denial. Everyone around us can see the problem, but we are unable to see it. Or unable to face it.
That's why we have to reach a crisis in our lives to wake up to reality. So sad, but true.
Anyway, I could talk about this all day....
Thanks for visiting and commenting.
pressingtheissue from Pa on April 11, 2011:
Love the article Mighty Mom! Many addicts are too afraid to start the process of getting help. This is a great motivator for them and their loved ones.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 17, 2011:
Hi Tiago Marcelo,
I wish I could say I've seen that tactic work. Yes, removing the alcohol is ESSENTIAL. But if the person is a real alcoholic, s/he will find a way to supply his/her habit.
But hey, if you say it's worked like a charm for you, I'm thrilled to hear that! Congratulations on saving someone's life! MM
Tiago Marcelo on March 17, 2011:
I think if you really have someone like this in your life and they are destructive to themselves and others, you really should consider how you can actually, realistically help them.
They may not actually be in full control of their actions, and sometimes forcefully removing the alcohol for 30 days or so works like a charm.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 02, 2011:
Thanks for your very candid comment. My heart aches listening to your pain. You've described the classic alcoholic husband/codependent wife life. Not very fulfilling, is it?
Prayer alone will not solve this, I'm afraid (although prayer is still a great tool).
One of you has to change. This cycle will continue indefinitely and your picture of your old age together doesn't look pretty.
Sounds like your husband is violent toward you -- spitting and hitting. Have you thought of calling the police when he does that? A day or two in custody might show him you are serious.
Are there other family members/friends/employer/churchpeople you can call together and have an intervention? The goal of that is not to elicit more promises not to ever drink again or not to come home drunk... it is to force the alcoholic to accept help.
He probably will not go voluntarily unless you force the issue.
Leaving him -- maybe YOU go live at the other house (and change the locks!) will be the wakeup call he needs.
The risk you take -- whether you stay with him or leave him -- is that he very well may drink himself to death. If not literally, with the many physical diseases that come out of drinking alcoholically.
But alcoholics are incredibly dense and stubborn. Even when they are miserable in their drinking the idea of stopping is terrifying.
You are right. It makes no sense. But your situation is just like millions of people's around the world.
Please feel free to stop back anytime. You can read up about alcoholism on the AA website and check into Al-Anon online.
I know where you are and I also know you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. But... why let him ruin two lives? Save your own, please!
sal on February 02, 2011:
Hi ,i wonder when it is time to actually give up on the person who is not only destroying his life but at the same time my life is going down the tubes so to speak ,Yes Alocholisim hope i spelt that right ,is an illness ,BUT why dose it take so long for the ill person to realize that he is ill ,i know i am ill i have tried to cope with living with my alcholic husband for 35 years i love him dearly but i am starting to think that my staying is not helping i am like a bandaid over an unclean sore ,Why is it that when any of us has any symptom of any kind we go to a doc but with an alcholic it seems that no matter how difficult things become an how ill they feel the denial is so strong and really ? am only speaking from my own situation living with someone who refuses to help himself and blames me for not being good enough and at times has me beliving it .? prey so much and ? still HAVE HOPE but lately ? just feel like leaving .BY the way i came across this page looking for some advice it actaualy has been helpful ,? dont live in a place where i could attend AL ANON .So the internet is my only link .? feel really sad because i know that it may come down to leaving ,the person i have loved for so long ,i would like to just detach as they say but that is easier said tan done he goes out and stays out all night but when he comes home before he flakes out he makes me get up no matter what time it ,so i say this man is ill he dose not mean it ,prey for him ,he spits at me calls me names ,sometimes hits me ,and i say this person is ill prey for him ,dont answer him back just ride the storm ,i talk to him when he is sober and he says he wont come home drunk ,i dont have a safe room i can go to in my home ,its not possible to just get out of his way ,but we do have another house and i suggested that he go there when he drinks ,he said yes ,but he is here now got home at 20 to 6 this morning ,he is sleeping it off and here i am typing away .? dont feel sorry for myself ,i am just at my wits end tring to find an answer ,if i really wanted to leave i could have left ,? stayed because i knw the other side of the man who is kind gentle and loving he is not drunk everyday lately only every other day .? wonder sometimes has my just being here for those sober days been some kind of enablement for him .its like he is garanteed that no matter what i am always there for him .Than ? think if i leave and something happensto him i will feel so bad thinking i left an ill person ,so this for me is like a trap there seems to be no way out ,no way to find peace if i stay and he dose not get help i know we will become bitter old people and ill both of us ,if i go i will never forgive myself if he finally succeeds in drinking himself to death ,i just know i would mis him the sober side .yes the illness destrys almost everyone in its path
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 27, 2011:
Sorry to hear about your loved one. 15 years is a long time to watch someone you love battle with this disease. If he/she is really out of control and not functioning I strongly suggest rehab as a great first step. It gets the alcoholic out of their usual environment and routine and starts them out with a clear head and clean body.
I do appreciate that AA is not for everyone, but it is the single most effective program for STAYING sober long-term. I understand why people fear it is a "religion" (it is NOT). One of the absolute coolest things about AA is you can choose your own "Higher Power." It doesn't have to be "God" it can be Nature, a new concept of "A god" of your own choosing -- anything.
That is a common misconception of AA.
I would also suggest that you, as the loved one, can benefit from learning more about the disease. Attend an open AA meeting and listen to the people. Al-Anon is also a good group to help you live with an alcoholic (whether or not he/she gets into recovery).
Good luck! MM
YaHa on January 26, 2011:
Thank you for writing this article. I am seeking for a loved one who has been battling alcoholism for 15-years an anonymous non-AA way to help said person stop drinking. The AA route is helpful for some, but those who are not religious are turned off from going. Thanks for providing alternatives.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 01, 2010:
Hello KLeichester. Thanks for visiting and I'm glad my hub has been helpful to you. I wish you good luck! MM
KLeichester on December 01, 2010:
I find this very interesting. Nice hub. Helpful.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 19, 2009:
Thanks, Chris. I firmly believe that recovery has got to be peer-to-peer. Only someone who "gets it" has any shot at opening the eyes and heart of the "real alcoholic." What a horrible disease that affects so many people directly (primary addicts) and peripherally. I had a sponsee like the many you describe. She progressed from wine to mouthwash. Just can't get it. My heart breaks for her, but I know that unless she's willing to do the work, I can't keep her sober.
It's really sad that the people we see in the rooms, even the ones that go in and out, are the exception and not the rule. Often I wish we could promote rather than attract. But I know the efforts would fall on deaf ears. Until you're ready, nothing anyone says to you will make any differen
Thanks for visiting and sharing your experience. Powerful message. MM
Chris on October 19, 2009:
Great hub, I loved reading it. Watching an alcoholic drink themselves to death is one of the saddest things anyone can experience. And nothing, NOTHING, you do can make them stop. That has to come from within the alcoholic themselves. I've been sober 7 years thanks to AA, and I had to want it for myself. Sadly the vast majority of alcoholics (or drug addicts) will die from the disease. The percentage who recover is very very low. I put on meetings at a detox near me and the saddest thing I've ever witnessed was a man who lived on the street and drank 2 bottles of listerine a day. He tried to sober up many, many times. Every 4 months he'd be back at the detox to try again. He would take my phone number and call me every night for a week or two, then my phone would go silent again until he showed up at the detox again. This went on for 6 years until he finally died. Because of him I remember that not everyone can get sober, and I'm reminded more than ever to be grateful for what I have.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 13, 2009:
Hi res28, I totally agree with you. To the onlooker, this disease is totally baffling. I daresay, almost as baffling as to the person inside, suffering! But make no mistake, the disease wants its victims DEAD.
Thanks for commenting. I, too, am glad to see others here who "get it."