A Conversation for Alcohol Abuse

My experience, strength, and hope

Post 1


I am a recovering drug addict with a little over six years clean. Alcohol was the drug I used most, the one that got me in the most trouble, and the one that led to my being arrested, which led me to a 12-Step fellowship and a new way of life. I could go on for pages about my story, but I will try to limit myself to addressing the questions asked.

It's usually easy for an outsider to recognize if someone has a problem: when she drinks, is it always to excess? Does she black out? Does she put herself in dangerous situations? Does she spend too much money on alcohol? Does she do things in order to get alcohol that she wouldn't do otherwise? Does she break promises or commitments because she's too busy partying or too hung over? When I started asking myself these questions and answering them honestly, I began to believe my life had become unmanageable. I believe that AA has a pamphlet of 40 or so questions that if answered a certain way indicate the likelihood of a drinking problem. I'm sure it's available online.

I don't know if there is a tactful way to broach the subject nor is it something to be taken lightly. Many have tried interventions - close friends and family members with the help of a professional drug counselor surround the drinker and confront her with examples of her behavior and its consequences. You can always simply let the person you're concerned for know, with love, that you have seen A, B, and C which leads you to believe there may be a problem and you are afraid for their health and their safety. Negative attacks are never going to work - they will only serve to make the drinker want to isolate further.

I have found that I need two different kinds of help in my life: I need unconditional understanding and support, but I also need to pay the consequences of my actions. Many loved ones make the mistake of getting the drinker out of trouble or rescuing her by paying her debts or letting her live at home no matter how outrageous her behavior. It is vital that the problem drinker be made accountable - unfortunately, many of us will not quit until we are in so much pain that we are willing to try something different. If we are always saved from our pain we will never understand exactly how damaging our behavior is. But we also need - at least I need - a group of people who have been where I've been and understand what it means to be an addict. They understand how my brain works, how I am my own worst critic, and how to teach me to live life one day at a time without drugs.

Though we as a fellowship try not to distinguish between drugs, alcohol does stand out as one of the only legal, readily available ones. Someone in the grip of addiction is already full of fear and self-loathing - some turn it inwards into depression and some turn it outwards into anger, but it usually all boils down to fear. I still find myself acting like a shrew against my will - I'll revert to being bitter and judgemental simply because I'm afraid I am "less than", envious of someone's success, or feeling some other emotion I don't feel strong enough to express.

Try to remember that the drinker is in at least as much pain as she is causing others and that recovery cannot begin for her until she admits that it is necessary. The good news is that the higher power I've found only needed the tiniest little crack in my defensive armor to get through. I'm far from well but I am better than I used to be, and as long as I am clean and breathing there is hope.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


My experience, strength, and hope

Post 2


Hi Talix

Thanks for your courage in being so honest when it hurts so much.

The UK website for AA is at


The saddest thing that's said of folk with alcohol problems is " Sober doc you couldn't meet a nicer fellow" Why Sad? It's true.

My experience, strength, and hope

Post 3


Hi Talix smiley - smiley

I took part in the discussions about alcohol abuse last year but was in the middle of treatment and didn't have the time and the thoughts for partaking in all discussions.

But I have kept some of the threads and am little by little re-reading them all. I find your desciptions and empathy very profound - it has touched me and given me strenght.

I have chosen not to use the 12 step fellowship - it doesn't harmonize with my way of thinking - but the end result is the same. I hope. I'm not quite there - but very well on the way.

Thank you. smiley - rose


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