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Finding A Solution For Alcoholism

Updated on October 9, 2013

There comes a time in the life of every alcoholic or addict when the realization that they are powerless hits them like a ton of bricks. They have spent many years trying to drink like normal people but all of their efforts have been in vain. Alcohol has taken complete control of their life and the road ahead appears hopeless.

They have tried drinking only on weekends or every other day; they have tried drinking only beer or only wine; perhaps they have tried relocation to another part of the country, a fresh start that will surely render different results. All attempts to modify their drinking habits have been for naught and now the knowledge that they cannot stop on their own has them terrified and completely out of answers and excuses.

By now they have lost jobs or family. They have promised themselves while praying to the porcelain gods that they will never touch a drop and yet no power on Earth can prevent them from hopping in the car, often drunk, and heading to the tavern or liquor store for one last drink. Maybe they haven’t been arrested yet for a DUI but that time is coming. What lies ahead for them is jail, an institution or death. They have reached the inevitable point where one-hundred drinks is not enough and one is too many.

I know these things to be true because I was once in that situation. Five-and-a-half years ago I knew without a doubt that I was drinking myself to death and yet I could not stop. My body was craving alcohol to such an extent that I needed it twenty-four hours a day in order to keep from going into convulsions and my blood pressure was so low that my life span could be calculated in terms of hours rather than years. There seemingly was no hope for me!

And yet there was!

Livin' large and lovin' life.
Livin' large and lovin' life. | Source

The Road Back

Somewhere in the deepest recesses of my mind a light was shining. At that point in time I was not afraid of death but rather I was unwilling to continue living that type of life. I was, in short, a survivor and I refused to give up. It was that light that led me to the telephone to call a friend and beg for help and it was that light that led me years later to the point where I stand before you today in love with life.

How could that be you ask? If you are currently struggling with alcohol I am quite certain that my words appear to be a foreign language. How is it possible to go from the depths of despair to a love of life?

Well, my friends, it all began with willingness!

Willingness Is a Key Ingredient to Sobriety

Please make sure you are clear on this one point. Practically anyone can quit cold-turkey for a time. What I am describing is a complete catharsis, going from useless, hopeless drunk to a contributing member of society who has changed his complete psyche. For that you need willingness!

An alcoholic needs to be broken down completely, what is called in Alcoholics Anonymous “hitting bottom,” before there is any chance of meaningful sobriety. All excuses have been exhausted; all hope of ever being a normal drinker is gone. What hopefully remains is a willingness to do anything possible to change their life.

When I was 12 I did not desire to be an alcoholic
When I was 12 I did not desire to be an alcoholic | Source

So What Is the Solution?

I am not one of those who preaches that Alcoholics Anonymous is the only way to meaningful sobriety even though it was my salvation. There are other avenues that can be followed, many of which have had success with seemingly hopeless alcoholics. First and foremost, however, an alcoholic needs to go through detoxification, or cleansing the body of alcohol. It has been said that alcohol withdrawal is as dangerous if not more dangerous than for any other drug. The body craves alcohol and when denied convulsions and possible death can occur. It takes a full three days to rid the body of alcohol and stabilize all systems so it is highly recommended that this be done under medical supervision.

Ridding the body of alcohol is only the first step towards meaningful sobriety. What comes next is ridding the mind of the compulsion to drink. To put it another way something needs to be substituted for alcohol as a means of coping with life.

There is a wide range of in-patient and out-patient treatment centers, all aimed at teaching the recovering alcoholic to deal with life on life’s terms, to handle life without the need for alcohol. Some lean heavily on a Twelve-Step program like AA; others take a more holistic approach to recovery. Some have a fairly good success rate; others see less than satisfactory results.

The Mayo Clinic uses acupuncture and therapy in their session. Homeopathy, a remedy consisting of animal, plant and synthetic solutions, has met with success as has Moderation Management and Aversion/Counter-Conditioning. Hypnosis has been used in alcohol treatment for several decades now, and the list goes on and on, all with varying success rates but success rates nonetheless.

Whatever treatment method is used its success depends on finding a workable substitute for alcohol so that the patient can cope with life without immediately turning to alcohol when life once again seems unmanageable. In fact, a successful treatment will leave the patient confident that life is indeed manageable and alcohol is no longer needed.

There is joy in sobriety
There is joy in sobriety | Source

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Take the Solution, Whatever It Is, and Live Happily

As I said earlier, I make no claims that AA is the only solution to alcoholism, but I stand firm in my belief that an alcoholic can only lead a happy and contented life without their drug of choice if they are willing to do so. I have seen far too many recovering alcoholics, fresh out of in-patient treatment and ready to do battle with this disease, balk at the first suggestion made to them because it requires complete honesty and a total make-over of their life. In other words, they were willing as long as they weren’t required to do the hard work of changing their psyche. They fail time and time again and often return with tails between their legs, wondering where they went wrong.

I have seen far too many friends die of this disease. I have seen far too many families torn apart because of this disease. I am tired of it! I have invested more hours than I care to count reaching out to help those who do not choose to help themselves and it is emotionally draining and disheartening. Today I help those willing to do the work and I make that very clear from the outset when I am asked for help.

As I found out the hard way, because that seems to be the only way I learn a lesson, sobriety must be the number one priority in the life of a recovering alcoholic. All else must be secondary to finding a way to live a meaningful and productive life of sobriety.

If you are suffering from alcoholism or you have a family member or close friend who has this disease, my words to you are this: THERE IS HOPE AND THERE IS A SOLUTION! What remains to be seen is whether you or your loved one is willing to do the work. The answer to that question lies within the alcoholic. No one else can answer it!

Be at peace and may you find the happiness you deserve!

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Emily, if I can ever be of help please drop me a line...any questions you may have...any info I can give you....I'll be more than happy to help you in any way possible and by extension maybe your family members. My best to you young lady and thank you for being such a great support for me.

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 6 years ago

      Resorting back to this hub today as select family members have once again demonstrated their excessive need for alcohol to be able to "handle the stress of hanging out with family". Sharing this hub with certain family members in hopes that we will all be on the same page....but as you note - they must want to change their life around - and for some people there just isn't a problem to be seen-he who thinks drinking in the morning is completely normal and will give the strength needed to deal with loved ones.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Emily, the worst part of this disease is how it affects family members. If you have suffered because of alcoholism I am truly sorry for you as I am for all who have to stand on the sidelines and watch, and feel, the damage. Thank you young lady!

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 6 years ago

      It's so hard to watch a family member hit bottom though and not be there to offer help. By offering help - they will never reach rock bottom as they are merely covering for them and offering their resources and guidance. It's hard to quit that cycle. Thanks for writing this insightful hub. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sandy! Those are kind words and I cherish them. Blessings and peace to you!

    • Sandy Frost profile image

      Sandy Frost 6 years ago from India

      Really, your story teaches a lot. There is always some hope and will power to fight with something happening negative in life. Where there is will, there is a way and if there is firm determination with righteous mind, nothing bad can come across the way.

      Hats off to this inspirational hub you've written. Many thanks.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tams, I see this almost every day and especially at AA meetings. Kids who have alcoholism in their family and yet feel they are bulletproof...there is no hiding from this disease. It will wait patiently for it's time and then infiltrate and the dark journey begins. I don't want to sound like I am preaching but I have had far too many friends die of this disease and I am tired of it. I applaud your awareness and determination and best of luck to you. I truly do appreciate you and your support but more than that I respect you as a person.

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 6 years ago from Missouri

      As a child of an alcoholic who continues to choose alcohol over most things and denies a problem, I am ashamed to admit that I started drinking daily at one point.

      I felt it helped me think more clearly. I only had 2 drinks a day, but at about day 30 someone said, "Man you drink everyday."

      It was enough for me to realize I was creating a trend I was all too familiar with.

      I was quickly wanting another and another to make my day seem better and had started going to the bar to sing karaoke where I felt I had to drink lots to get the courage to sing. Realizing the only true benefit I felt I was getting was I could no longer be upset with my dad if I were doing the same.

      Since 2009 I have had 4 drinks total in extreme social situations and even then I questioned my motives. I've accepted alcoholism is hereditary and make every effort to avoid the situations altogether.

      I am glad you are here to remind people quitting is possible and motivate them from a stance of someone who knows. Some people do not have such vivid examples as I to realize where their habits are taking them.

      Bless you Bill!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, that means a great deal to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Is your father still alive? He is an amazing man and he loves you greatly to give up an addiction for you and the rest of your family. Take care my dear and don't forget that phone number if you ever need it.

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 6 years ago

      Billybuc. I am so proud of you. Your story is a powerful tool of determination. I saw my father so many times under the influence of alcohol whan I was a child. You know what? when I was 10 years old, he promised my mother and all of us (my siblings I me) that he will never drink again...and that was 36 years ago. He loved us so much and wanted us by his side that he stop drinking. Amazing people, like you, my father and many others, find a strange strengh to change their path to a better one. (smiling)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA come you have a different name on Facebook? It's not nice to confuse an old man. Thank you by the way but I'm not sure if I'm brave; I just know I wanted to live more than I wanted to die. It is horrible watching someone die from this disease; I have lost far too many friends that way and I'm tired of it. I appreciate you greatly; take care my friend.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Billy: This is so powerful and you are so brave! When i sold insurance - i watched a man actually kill himself with alcohol. Our boss would beg him to quit - his wife and children as well - and he just...couldn't. It was so horrible having to witness this! I'm so proud of you! (also - why do your hubs not show up on my emails like everyone else i follow?) I had to come to your profile to find

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Billybuc, thanks for leaving comments on my hub. I appreciate the support... and, sorry but living in South Florida does have some weather advantages. Hope your area gets spring (or sprung?) soon!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, I do too; if so it's all worth it. Thank you as always and I hope you are experiencing springtime because we sure aren't. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      You have posted some great insights into the addiction of alcoholism. As you mentioned, there doesn't seem to be any one specific way to rid yourself of the habbit, but if you are willing, there are good options avaialble. Thanks for sharing from your experience and heart. I hope that those who need to find this -- will!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Sha, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, so I guess the answer to your question is yes! I was asked to leave a teaching position I had held for twelve years because of my drinking in 2002; I had just relapsed after ten years of sobriety and they had every right to do what they did.

      You are wise to leave if he is not willing to go to any length to take care of his problem. No one can do the work that an alcoholic needs to do, and no amount of love can change that fact. Peace and love to you as you move into the next chapter of your life.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pickles, thank you! I know you understand this hub well; now if we can just get a few others who need it to understand it. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Billy, I love what you have to say. It begins with the one tormented recognizing, admitting and being sincere in a resolution. That is the beginning and the only way any one of us can help ourselves or someone else. I'm dealing with this now regarding my mate and is the cause of our breakup because he won't see he has a problem. I see him making attempts, but I need to see consistency before I tear my walls back down. I've been physically hurt by alcoholics and drug addicts in past years. I'm extremely trepidacious and protective of myself now. I'm too old to be torn down again, although willing to help salvage a relationship if I see true desire.

      I'm curious.... were you an alcoholic while teaching??

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 6 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      yes billybuc, it has to come from the alcoholic, for only they can want to change enough to be willing to work on their problem. Another informative and helpful hub. thanks

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Krystal, I completely agree. Now was the time for me to go public because I believe the social stigma has been replaced by much greater understanding. I am grateful that you stopped by and thank you for your insights.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      billybuc, I enjoyed and very much identified. I just love that chip being sold on ebay! It blows me away all the market that is out there for recovery folks. Times have truly changed and I have to say I am grateful to live in a time where recovery is not shunned.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melovy, I know quite a few in AA who swear that it is the only way to get sober but that simply is not accurate or true! I debated whether to discuss other addictive habits in the hub but felt I needed to just stick to one; you are absolutely correct in your statement that it applies to all addictive behavior. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a meaningful comment.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      Another interesting hub Bill. I like your message here, and I think it applies far more widely than just to alcoholism. Willingness is necessary to overcome any addictive pattern in life, even if it’s just mentally beating yourself - which so many people do. So what you say about the need to change the psyche is very important I think. Years ago I knew someone who went to the UK AA and he said that this wasn’t taken into account, whereas it was in the States. He saw this as a reason so many relapsed. (I’m talking well over 20 years ago, so things may well be different here now.)

      How great that you were able to find that willingness and to reach out to others. I can understand your frustration at wanting to help others and them not wanting that, as I have felt that way (again not related to alcoholism, but other issues). I think it’s fear that stops people taking steps to help themselves. (I know it was for me when I wallowed in depression years ago.) My way of dealing with others lack of willingness these days is to look inside and see where I might be doing the same and so allow myself to let go of any coping patterns that aren’t helping me any more.

      I also really like that you say that AA isn’t the only solution. It’s great to have an open mind! A great hub.