Alcoholism and the need to control others

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  1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    I was going to make a hib of this but there would be too much posted from my other site that is going down.
    On my site I posted this and got lots of responses form non alcoholics and Revoverying and recoverd alcoholics.  There is a correlation between cults and AA--so someone said in mt site, but can't bring it here for obvious reasons.  So here was the Starter message:

    23rd Psalm for Recovering Alcoholics

    The Lord is my sponsor, I shall not want.
    He makes me to go to many meetings.
    He leads me to sit back, relax, and listen with an open mind, He restores my soul, my sanity, and my health.
    He leads me in the path of sobriety, serenity, and fellowship for my own sake.
    He teaches me to think, to take it easy, to live and let live, and do first things first.
    He makes me more humble and grateful.
    He teaches me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and gives me the wisdom to know the difference.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of despair, frustration, guilt, and remorse, I will fear no evil.
    For Thou are with me, your program, your way of life, your twelve steps, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: rationalization, fear, anxiety, self-pity, resentment.
    You anoint my confused mind and jangled nerves with knowledge, understanding, and hope.
    No longer am I alone, neither am I afraid, nor sickened, nor helpless, nor hopeless.
    My cups runs over,
    Surely sobriety and serenity shall follow me every day of my life, one day at a time, twenty-four hours at a time.
    As I surrender my will to You and carry Your message to others, I will dwell in the house of Higher Power, as I understand him, one day at a time, forever and ever.
    - Author Unknown

    What do you think of those who exhibit a cult behavior who are also in AA or believe in this motto?
    Does one HAVE to go to AA meetings to cure their addiction or even to just get it under control?

    1. nikki1 profile image61
      nikki1posted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Awesome.. ur friend, nikki1

  2. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    It's easy to look at AA from the outside and conclude that the person in it has been brainwashed, but a better way to look at it is to consider whether this person would be better off bleeding from all their soft tissues and dying in a pool of  their own blood, which is what happens to many end stage alcoholics, especially women. When you make that comparison the brain washing doesn't look so bad--Plus, there's the insider view, "Well, my brain NEEDED to be washed!"

    Which is often true.

    AA is the only thing that has been shown to be consistently effective in treating alcoholism. You can check into a pricey five-figure rehab center, and they'll get you a bed and get you detoxed, which is all to the good--and then on the way out the door they'll hand you an AA Big Book and let you know that, oh yeah, by the way, you have to attend these meetings for the rest of your life or you'll die. They do that, seriously.

    When a person gets run over by a car, they don't look that good for awhile. When an alcoholic first gets into AA, the same is true. Longtime members are pretty much indistinguishable from the general population outside of a meeting. You probably know tons of them.

    Thanks for raising the issue ! smile

  3. Amanda Severn profile image93
    Amanda Severnposted 15 years ago

    Some years ago a very dear friend drank himself into a stupor outside the local rail station one evening. He choked on his own vomit and died. It was some while before anyone actually noticed because concerned citizens tend to give drunks a wide birth. He was 31 and had been drinking heavily since he was 16, but he was also a warm, funny, intelligent human being, and I wish he'd found AA because then he might still be with us.

  4. Rhiannon_2009 profile image59
    Rhiannon_2009posted 15 years ago

    I come from a long line of alcoholics on my father's side of the family, and but by the grace of
    God, did not become an alcoholic myself.  When I became a young adult, I married an alcoholic (who I later divorced), and in mid-life, I dated a man (who I will always love deeply) who is still a practicing alcoholic.

    These life experiences led me to Al-Anon and 12-step programs in general, as well as my fair share of counseling.

    Family members and friends often get dragged through the mud in these relationships, and probably the hardest lesson for any of us to learn is that we have no control over anyone but ourselves.  (And sometimes even that is a stretch)   We learn that we didn't cause it, we can't cure it, and we can't control it.  We have to practice a lot of tough love. 

    Some might consider AA a "cult" but I think it was a brilliant concept - alcoholics helping alcoholics.  No one understands an alcoholic better than someone who has "been there."  The program is based on spiritual principles, and it provides a support system that I think is really necessary for people to not only stay sober, but to successfully live a good life.  Recovering alcoholics who have been in the program for a long time are some of the finest people I know. They didn't just stop drinking - they learned how to live life.

    I did burn out on 12-step after a while - and all the slogans, etc.  But I do go back every now and then - when I find myself slipping back into "co-dependent" behavior - which doesn't just apply to living with an alcoholic.  I tend to be a "caretaker" in general.  Every now and then I'll go to a meeting and take a little "refresher" course on where my responsibility begins and ends.  I have found a lot of laughter and good support there.  They have a saying that I like:  "Take what you like and leave the rest."

    Most of the people I have met who really hated AA were people who did not want to stop drinking.  When there is resistance and denial, there is quite often a plan to return to drinking.  Perhaps not always...but more often than not.

    With the alcoholic BF, I basically ended up telling him that I love him very, very much, but I cannot live with his drinking.  With treatment, sobriety, and regular AA attendance, I would consider a relationship with him again.  But as long as he is drinking, and insists on staying the course of self destruction, the answer is "No."  He is not in denial about his alcoholism or the problems it causes in his life, or even the fact that he is headed for death.  He knows it is his decision, and that if he ever changes his mind and decides to help himself, I will be there for him.

  5. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    This is something that I also puled off my group from a person who as studied the disease...I can't say that he is an expert but he has many websites to back up his claim or so he says.  I never went to the sites  myself.  Here is was he found and the websites will be at the bottom:

    "I think the confusion comes about because people don't understand self-selection effects.
    For example, A.A. only uses stats from people who STAY in the program. They forget to mention that over half of the people who start have dropped out by six months. By ten years, less than five percent remain. If you graph it, it plots a quadratic curve (as one of my links above indicated).
    The five percent who remain after ten years are the ones who would have quit drinking anyway. The rate of spontaneous remission is closer to 8%-10%. Perhaps I should explain what 'spontaneous remission' means. Eventually, even without any treatment at all, people get tired of being sick all the time. Their health begins to suffer. They're broke all the time. They lose their family and friends. So they quit...without any need for treatment.
    On another thread, the following stats were posted by (deleted name):
    Average sobriety of members is 8 years. 
    36% have been sober for over 10 years.

    14% have been sober between 5-10 years.

    24% have been sober between 1-5 years. 

    26% have been sober less that 1 year.

    Consider the fact that out of that 36% who have been sober for over ten years, 100% of them have remained in the program for ten years. So even after ten years, they've only managed to maintain a 36% success rate...barely better than 1/3 of the total members. That means that even after ten years of A.A., 64% are STILL drinking.

    What (deleted name) left out, was that the rate of spontaneous remission (i.e., people who quit on their own with no help) after a ten year period is 53%. So no treatment at all is better than A.A. for achieving sobriety."

    A.A. Longitudinal Study … Page1.html … -work.html

    Project MATCH … Page1.html


    Cybernetic Treatment of Addiction

  6. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    I also found this article a while ago.  I am posting the whole thing because I don't think it is there anymore--sorry.......

    """Appetite-regulating Peptide Leptin Influences Alcohol Craving For Some Alcoholics
    Science Daily — Craving -- defined as a powerful urge to drink, or intense thoughts about alcohol -- is an important contributor to the development and maintenance of alcoholism. Recent research suggests that appetite-regulating hormones and peptides may be involved in the neurobiology of alcohol craving. A new study has confirmed that appetite-regulating peptides leptin and ghrelin do indeed influence alcohol craving, but especially among certain subtypes of alcoholics.

    Key findings:
    Craving is an important contributor to the development and maintenance of alcoholism.
    New findings show that appetite-regulating peptides leptin and ghrelin influence alcohol craving.
    Leptin's influence on craving is especially notable among patients of Lesch's Type 1 and 2.
    "We chose to examine leptin and ghrelin because both peptides are of high importance in appetite regulation and both have already been subject to former investigations," said Thomas Hillemacher, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Hospital of Erlangen, Germany. "However, these former investigations have shown contradictory results which may have been due to their use of samples of alcoholics without specifying subgroups. This raised the idea of investigating these peptides in specific subtypes of alcohol dependence." Hillemacher is also the corresponding author for the study.

    "There exist four different mechanisms of craving, which can lead to relapse," explained Otto Lesch, professor of psychiatry at the University of Vienna. "We know that these four different mechanisms are caused by different biological mechanisms. They have different long-term courses and they profit significantly differently from different pharmaceutical compounds. Therefore, it is very important to define basic workings of these different craving mechanisms in order to develop better models to proof new medications."

    These four mechanisms of craving correspond to Lesch's typology of alcoholics according to different psychological, social and somatic characteristics. Type 1 refers to patients with heavy alcohol withdrawals who tend to use alcohol to weaken withdrawal symptoms. Type 2 patients use alcohol as self-medication because of its anxiolytic effects. In patients of Type 3, the main characteristic is an affective disorder as origin for alcohol abuse. Type 4 patients show pre-morbid cerebral defects, behavioral disorders and a high social burden.

    Researchers analyzed data gathered as part of a larger examination of different neurobiological aspects of alcohol dependence. Of the original sample of 200 patients, 188 (155 males, 33 females) provided leptin serum levels, and 117 (96 males, 21 females) provided ghrelin serum levels. Study authors measured craving through use of the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale, and further classified patients according to Lesch's typology of alcohol dependence, as well as their preferred type of alcoholic beverage.

    "The study showed that the involvement of appetite-regulating peptides in the neurobiology of alcohol craving is of different importance in specific subgroups," said Hillemacher. More specifically, results showed a positive association between leptin and craving among patients of Lesch's Type 1 and 2, and between leptin and craving among patients consuming beer or wine; but a negative trend between ghrelin and craving among patients of Lesch's Type 1.

    "In alcohol dependence," added Lesch, "88 different methods are used to decrease relapse rates. Most of them are not effective, some of them increase relapse rates, some of them are really effective in subgroups of alcohol-dependent patients, but there is no one method which has only positive results." This study's results, he said, are of great importance to alcohol research because they help to clarify that other studies' results may be due to different selection criteria leading to different rates among subgroups.

    Both Hillemacher and Lesch said that recognizing subgroups of alcoholics is imperative for future research as well as clinical applications.

    "Our findings show that there exist important differences between alcohol-dependent patients, not only regarding psychosocial but also regarding neurobiological influences," said Hillemacher.

    "Transmitter systems interact with peptides, and genetic research has to be aware that this interaction influences brain activities and therefore different mechanisms of craving," added Lesch. "To explain addiction, we need mechanisms of different types of craving. Addiction is not caused by the drug, but is caused by biological and psychological vulnerabilities leading to different types of craving."

    Results are published in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

    Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.""""

  7. Rhiannon_2009 profile image59
    Rhiannon_2009posted 15 years ago

    I will be the first to admit that I know very little about research or statistics, and that I have never fully understood the concept of addiction.

    I found your article very interesting and enlightening!  I would like to see more research on the subject. I am not surprised that the rate of relapse among alcoholics is so high, or that so many drop out of AA after 6 months.

    A few things that I think are important to mention are:

    1)  AA "doesn't get anybody sober."  Only the alcoholic can make himself/herself stop drinking.

    2)  Many stop drinking without ever attending AA or rehab. (Just like the article says)

    3) And even with AA attendance, there is no guarantee that the alcoholic will not relapse at some point in time.

    4) Even with 10 - 15 - 20 - 30 years of sobriety, the alcoholic is only one drink away from relapse.

    That still doesn't make AA a "cult."  Many alcoholics latch on to AA for the fellowship, the moral support, and the commitment to maintain their sobriety.  Going to meetings reduces isolation.  It gives people in recovery the tools to live a non-drinking life.  I believe the widespread success of the program speaks for itself.

    I have known many alcoholics who have "dried out" on their own, without any support, and most of them are the most miserable people I know.  They "white knuckle" it every day, and take out their frustrations on their families.  Many spouses of alcoholics believe that the "dry drunks" are actually harder to cope with than when their spouses were drinking.

    I have also known alcoholics who drank themselves to death.  There were quite a few of them in my family.

    12-step programs aren't perfect, and they don't have all the answers, but there is good support to be found there, and it helps people know that they are not alone.  Going to meetings made it possible for me to know that I could hate the behavior and still love the person.

  8. Dame Scribe profile image58
    Dame Scribeposted 15 years ago

    23rd Psalm for Recovering Alcoholics

    The Lord is my sponsor, I shall not want.
    He makes me to go to many meetings.
    He leads me to sit back, relax, and listen with an open mind, He restores my soul, my sanity, and my health.
    He leads me in the path of sobriety, serenity, and fellowship for my own sake.
    He teaches me to think, to take it easy, to live and let live, and do first things first.
    He makes me more humble and grateful.
    He teaches me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and gives me the wisdom to know the difference.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of despair, frustration, guilt, and remorse, I will fear no evil.
    For Thou are with me, your program, your way of life, your twelve steps, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: rationalization, fear, anxiety, self-pity, resentment.
    You anoint my confused mind and jangled nerves with knowledge, understanding, and hope.
    No longer am I alone, neither am I afraid, nor sickened, nor helpless, nor hopeless.
    My cups runs over,
    Surely sobriety and serenity shall follow me every day of my life, one day at a time, twenty-four hours at a time.
    As I surrender my will to You and carry Your message to others, I will dwell in the house of Higher Power, as I understand him, one day at a time, forever and ever.
    - Author Unknown

    I am not sure where you got this but it seems more of a twisted version of the original steps of the AA program. My rule is don't always believe everything one sees on the net, lol. I have many friends that are in AA and they are actually, quite *real*. I didn't find any *fake* people or friendships. I went through the Al-anon group also. This prayer is just changed from the original version which can be found in the AA book. This version creeps me out and of course the author is unknown for a reason no doubt, lol.

  9. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    LG--If it's not too personal to ask, I'm just wondering why you suspect AA of being not beneficial or of misrepresenting itself to alcoholics. Did you personally have a bad experience with AA or are you close to someone who did?

    The program is not for everybody, and AA folks will be the first to say so.

    Alcoholism is a fatal, progressive illness and the truth is that nothing works very well. Of the very few things that have been shown to work, AA is at the top of the list, but it is also true that some people are able to quit on their own. Not many can do that, but some can.

    The only real way to not get sicker if a person is already alcoholic is to stop drinking completely, and that is very hard to do. AA is a support group that helps people stop completely, but of course, there are no guarantees. People can and do join AA, try very hard, and die anyway. It happens.

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      No I am not an alchoholic but I do know a few people who are and have gone to these meetings and have had experiences and they still drink heavily and lie and cheat and think they need to control others and abuse them.

      My husband is an Addictions Counselor and has also worked in the 21 day programs, which seem to work some of the time.
      He has told me that doing the Methodone that some will revert back to their habits again within 3 months.  I can get all kinds of information from him if it weren't the fact that everything that he does is confidential, so was asking and positing this here.

      I don't remember where I got that Original message, becaue it has been on my group for many years.

      I was just curious as to why abuse happens and the need to abuse others and issues with control of others then oneself through all these programs. 

      It was also mentioned on my group that Alcoholism is a mental illness.  With what some have said here and the thing about taking one drink will make and recovered* alcohlic fall of the wagon........If you have recovered then why would it be that you only need one drink to get you back, if it wasn't something gone wrong with some part of your brain--which is a mental illness.

  10. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    Does anyone really know, and can share if they do, what goes on in the meetings?

  11. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    Well, it's just a 12-step program. Nothing weird goes on. People take turns talking. Some of them get well and a lot of them don't. There's a confidentiality requirement at AA too--I mean, if you think about it, alcoholism has quite a stigma, even now, so drunks aren't going to go to these meetings if they know that the people there will go right out into the community and reveal what they say and do and every little thing that goes on there. So there's the confidentiality requirement, but mostly it's lots of talking and lots of bad coffee, that's all.

    Going to AA, like I said, is no guarantee of anything. People attend regularly and don't get well, people attend regularly and do get well. Some people stop drinking but are still total assholes and stay assholes for the rest of their lives--but they are sober assholes.

    As to why some people are abusive and need to control others, my personal view is that people who do this do it because it works. At some point in their lives they learned they could push other people around, and they liked it, and so they only ever form relationships where they can be in control. I don't really think it goes any deeper than that.

    If someone is determined to live that way, there's really nothing you can do about it. It is their choice--even though it's kind of sad and horrible.

    I don't think it has anything to do with AA though. Those are two separate questions--why are people abusive and what is AA--they're not related.

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Well that was the topic question about Alcoholism and the need to control others.  I understand what you are saying completely.  Thatnk you for your clear message and helping me to understand..

  12. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    Pam, This is a wonderful conversation and a breath of fresh air!  Thank you very much.

  13. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    No problem, I hope it kind of answered your question.

    I know a lot of alcoholics are also abusive--is that kind of where you were going with the thread? I think it's pretty hard to have a normal happy relationship with an active alcoholic or any addict, really. Usually both people end up trying to control each other for different reasons. The one who isn't drinking tries to keep the drunk from abusing alcohol and the one who is drinking tries to control the person who isn't so that person won't leave. It's not much fun for anybody.

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Yes that was where I was going.

  14. Rhiannon_2009 profile image59
    Rhiannon_2009posted 15 years ago

    I agree that alcoholism and abuse are two different issues.

    In some cases, people are abusive to begin with.  They become alcoholics, and act out when they drink.  Hence, it becomes easy to equate alcoholism with abuse.  "I did that because I was drunk" is a common excuse.  Blaming it on the booze is just a way of avoiding personal responsibility.

    Abuse is about power and control, and I agree that people do it because bullying behavior gets them what they want.  Sobriety will usually not improve this person.  The really truly abusive men I have known didn't drink or use any substances at all. 

    I haven't gone to regular AA meetings, but I have gone to open AA meetings and I liked the analogy about people taking turns talking, and drinking lots of bad coffee.  (Good one!)  I've been doing Al-Anon, off & on, for about 30 years.  They, too, take turns talking, and try to work the steps, and often drink bad coffee.

    I used to attend open AA meetings with an ex-husband for a long time in an attempt to better understand him and some of the struggles he was having.  I was impressed by the honesty that was expressed there, as well as the laughter.  I had a lot of respect for the people there.  It helped me to be a lot less judgmental.

    I do know couples who have survived an alcoholic marriage, as well as the changes that come with sobriety.  The ones that make it are both usually involved in both AA and Al-Anon, and both actively work a program. 

    My marriage didn't make it, but I've seen several that have.  Both people have to be really committed to recovery.

  15. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    "Abuse is about power and control, and I agree that people do it because bullying behavior gets them what they want.  Sobriety will usually not improve this person."

    I think that is exactly it. I had a therapist once who told me that marriage counseling is usually not helpful if one person is abusive, because abusive people don't usually change--Abuse works for them! If the person they are bullying stops allowing the abuse, they just go find someone else who will put up with it. This has been my personal experience too. 

    It's a hard lesson though! Ouch! Now, the first sign of abusive behavior, I'm gone.

    Life is way too short! smile

  16. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    Thank you both for your comments.  Is there such a thing as a social alcoholic that onluy drinks at parties but not anywhere else?  I have heard that there is no such thing.  My mom was that ans she only drank when they had parties in the basement but she didn't drink any other time.
    Alcoholism is in my mother's side of the family with both my grandparent's being abusive and all that stuf, but it skipped both my sister and I.  Well it kind of cured us when we used to see her crying in the bathroom naked and paying homage to the porcelain god.  Turn both my sister and I off of that right quick!

  17. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    Alcoholism takes many forms. Some alcoholics are 'binge drinkers' meaning most of the time they are fine, but several times a year they go all out of control. Others drinks every day, a lot, and never look drunk, but can't function without the alcohol.

    They key to deciding if it is alcoholism is how it affects your life and those around you. Alcoholics are not able to stop once they start even when there are serious negative consequences. But the pattern to the drinking can vary.

    Another question often asked is, has it been getting worse over time? Alcoholism is a progressive disease. Over time, an alcoholic will drink more and more, but sometimes it's hard to see that because most alcoholics hide some of their drinking and lie to themselves and others to cover it over.

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      I have seen this.  My neighbor is an alcholoic and he will come over or we will visit him and he will tell us that he hasn't had any alcohol but his breath reeks of it.  He has gone to AA but I don't htink it is helping at all!  I understand what you are saying and that of Rhianna too.

      He just got diagnosed with Cancer of the prostrate and we will see if he gets worse becasue of it or bettr.  He is a negative person and I keep asking him to tell me something positive---been doing this for months and he still hasn't been able to tell me.  I have even given him examples in my own life of seeing the positive instead of harping on the negative.  I know that I may never change him but the cancer just might ---one way or anothre.

  18. Rhiannon_2009 profile image59
    Rhiannon_2009posted 15 years ago

    There are social drinkers - people who drink only at parties or in the company of friends.  I'm a social drinker. 

    For me, that means that I have cocktails about 2-3 times a year in a social setting.  I don't drink alone, I don't drink to excess, and I don't have a craving for alcohol.  I can stop.  I'm quite capable of "partying" with a cup of coffee quite honestly.  The rest of the time I don't drink.

    Given my family history, I am very cautious.

    I don't know anyone who is a "social alcoholic" - who would only drink in a "party" setting.  If that were the case, I assume they would be finding excuses to party every single day - since the nature of alcoholism is addiction.

    I have heard stories about the alcoholics who only get drunk "once a year" but I personally haven't met those people.  I think it is totally amazing if there are people who can abstain after a one day relapse. 

    My ex used to tell me that it isn't what you drink, how much you drink, but what happens when you drink that determines an alcoholic.  For him, "one drink" was enough to set off a binge and he couldn't predict what would happen after he started.

    Anyway - I don't know if any of this helps!  Best of luck to you!

  19. Dame Scribe profile image58
    Dame Scribeposted 15 years ago

    Alcoholism is said to be used so they don't have to think about their percieved failures and shortcomings. When it interferes in ones daily life, personal relationships and is a problem and the *alcoholic* term applies...not all power-control freaks are alcoholics...but could just be borderline anti-social sociopaths. Alcoholics become dependent physiologically on alcohol too ... and the choice is theirs in the we can do is help them believe in themselves again. I use to go to Al-anon ... dealing with alcoholic spouses...and I drink...but not regularly. Only now and again I will pop out to the bar to meet up with friends just to gab, gossip, girl talk ... and the alcoholic...I remind them of past accomplishments and drop ideas on how to build on existing skills. smile

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you.  This neighbor came from the land where Katrina hit and he lost everything, but as he says that just about everything has alcohol it it down in Louisianna---I am not sure of all this.
      You gave me a new perspective in helping this neighbor out because all he can say to me is he hates his job and how bad it is and he wants to go move somewhere else.  We all know that those things will not get beter becasue you can't run away from your problems.  When he complained they his work was making him do the bookkeeping now.  I told him that he wanted to have his own company and that this is a step to doing that and not to think of it as just another thing he has to do.  I also gave him a bit of what I see for him--him owning his own company but he has to go through some things befre that and that it may not be the company he is with.  Maybe, and I am not holding my breath on this, he will get something positive in all that.  One can only hope.
      Oh and he isn't a control freak--almost the opposite.

  20. Mighty Mom profile image76
    Mighty Momposted 15 years ago

    Hi ladies (interesting that it's only women hubbers contributing here!). I'm late getting in on the conversation but feel compelled to comment nonetheless. Lots of excellent and accurate information has been shared here already. Alcoholism is about the most misunderstood and baffling disease there is. It's baffling if you are the alcoholic and even more baffling to those around you. Everyone sees the complete mess you're making of your life and wonder why the hell you don't put the bottle down? And the answer is "I can't." And that's the difference between a true alcoholic and a heavy drinker (you can drink every day and not be technically an "alcoholic").
    Alcoholics have a different physiological response to alcohol than normal drinkers. It's kinda like women who end up having endometriosis. You go along suffering with horrendous cramps and heavy bleeding for years, not knowing that other women don't experience their periods the same way. Come to find out, you ARE abnormal! Same with drinking. By the time you cross that invisible line from heavy drinking into "craving" your drinking has also affected your brain. Oh yes, did I mention that it's a disease of the body, mind and spirit? Try to get your arms around that concept!!!
    It is true that no one can get or keep an alcoholic sober except herself. And if you are experiencing cravings and find yourself unable to "not drink today" then you need some kind of divine intervention to take that craving away. A 30-day spin dry rehab will get you feeling just well enough that you may think you're "cured" or that maybe you weren't really alcoholic after all. Anyway, everything that's been said above about AA's success rate vs. other ways of maintaining sobriety over the long term is true. Alcoholics carry a disease that wants them dead. It can be arrested but never cured.

    As to alcoholics and control. The need to control is a characteristic all alcoholics share. Only  it's really an illusion of control. Active alcoholics spend a lot of time desperating trying to control the people, places and things in their lives. But really, they make a mess of those things. This is why Step 1 of the Twelve Steps reads, "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable."
    To me, this is the crux of AA and why it is successful. Starting from that first step, AA enables alcoholics to stop "playing God" and trying to run the show. It teaches us that we are NOT in control. It teaches us to turn our will and our lives over to a Higher Power, who is much kinder, gentler, more tolerant, and ultimately, more capable of making those executive decisions, than we are.
    If you run into a sober alcoholic who is still acting like a major control freak, I would say this person is definitely NOT in recovery. He/she may not be drinking anymore, but is not working a program and is still thinking/acting like an active alcoholic.

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for all that wonderful information.  Through working or talking to my neighbor He realized what a Dry Alcoholic is and that is why you are describing as the control freak who doesnt' drink.
      My neighbor, HE, is kind of out of control of this. Things are are going on around him which he has no control over, such as the hurricane and some family issues he has told me.  It is a mess.  I can be a friend (well some personal issues with that because he thinks I come on to him) over the internet in e-mail but that is as far as I will go because of what he is thinking.  I most certainly didn't come on to him and I think him very arrogant to think so, but he has apologized to my hubby for that--not to me but to my husband.  I just stay  at a diistance.  Anyway I wish that I could pull him from that tornado that he is in, but that is not for me to do barring his thoughts about my intentions...of something like that.
      It really is up to him to do the rest, I kind of showed him the way ( with what he is doing/learning at his work) and that is al I can do.

  21. Mighty Mom profile image76
    Mighty Momposted 15 years ago

    LG, my heart truly goes out to both you and your neighbor. You are obviously trying to help and be supportive. But it sounds like he's just not hearing it. Or at least is misinterpreting it.
    Not knowing this man's previous history, it's possible he is using alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with all the losses and crises in his life. It's not clear at this point (or maybe it is) that the alcohol consumption is exacerbating his life circumstances.
    It's always soooo frustrating and heartbreaking to see someone struggling and feel helpless to get them the help they so obviously need. That's the thing about alcoholism -- you don't just call 911 and get them into the hospital and get them surgery and voila, fixed.
    I'm wondering if possibly your husband might have better luck opening the neighbor's eyes to a better way of life...
    Or, you could call your local AA hotline (look online or in the YP) and ask them for some advice. It would be great to get your neighbor into an AA meeting. He may not want to hear what they say, and he may not stay, but it plants a seed, you know?
    Good luck! And do keep us posted. MM

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Yes I know about planting seeds.  That was what I wasdoing about his work having him do all the bookkeeping now.  He is the manager, but he complains all the time about his added duties.  I clearly see that he has asked thins before about owning his own comapny and as the Law of Attraction works he is getting training for that.  He understands what Isaid but not what I am saying--if you can understand that.  My hubby has taken him to several AA meeting when he HAD to attend them, but after he didn't HAVE to go anymore I don't think  that he is anymore.  I could be wrong, but he still has that very negative self esteem.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...

    2. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      The ironic thing with him thinking that I wa coming on to him is that he is it is a different picture!!

  22. Mighty Mom profile image76
    Mighty Momposted 15 years ago

    LOL, LG. That's exactly the phrase I was going to use. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. You can lead an alcoholic to AA, but you can't make him STOP drinking!
    Sounds like you and your husband are doing everything you can.
    The man's negative streak comes with the territory, I'm afraid. Alcoholics are the world's biggest victims. Unable to accept any blame for anything, everything is always wrong and someone else's fault. But all that changes once we accept our condition and move into recovery. I hate to say it, but your neighbor hasn't hit his "bottom" yet. He hasn't put 2 and 2 together to figure out that the way to make his life better is not to drink it away, but to give up drinking.
    Ironically, I'm sitting here watching The Bonnie Hunt Show (have never seen it before, never watch daytime TV except CNN). Her guest is Dr. Drew from Celebrity Rehab. He just this minute said that the two best ways to get someone into recovery are
    1. Do an intervention (this sounds like it would be difficult since you are only neighbors, not his family)
    2. Get yourself help. Go to Al-Anon and change the paradigm of your relationship with the alcoholic. Once he/she sees you are changing the dance, he/she will feel abandoned and will have no choice but to change also.

    Again, good luck!

  23. profile image52
    Michael Sandersposted 15 years ago

    I just wanted to add a thought or two to this discussion.  No you don't have to use AA to stop drinking but  with the alcoholics I've been around(alot) the recovery rate is small.  In the Big Book(the book with no name) it says that rarely have we seen a person fail who has thouroughly followed our path. Taking the 12 steps( a dictionary is helpful to clarify what happens to someone who "takes" the steps)  Take means to absorb as in taking medicine.  I knwo lots of folks who have "done" the steps DONE means failure defeat you should look up words they mean things sometimes.  Percentages are not really a good gauge because alcoholism is not only about drinking its alot about thinking.  Its a disease of the whole person body mind and spirit.  People who have relapsed(me once) or simply go back drinking haven't TAKEN the steps maybe they have just DONE them.  Whats the success rate of diabetes?  Alcoholsim is a chronic disease it doesn't go away and the medical community cannot really help us long term.  Its a very baffling disease to have I know I have it.  love Michael

    1. Lady Guinevere profile image68
      Lady Guinevereposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you Michael for your comments.  It must have been hard to write such. 

      A good quote for us all who are intimidated by the path we see ahead of us,
      Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

      Martin Luther King Jr.

  24. Mighty Mom profile image76
    Mighty Momposted 15 years ago

    Hi LG, As Michael Sanders said, alcoholism is as much about thinking as it is about drinking. As we like to say, "our perceptors are broken." The world looks very different from inside an alcoholic's brain than it does to a normal person. Some common alcoholic characteristics: feeling better than others, feeling less than others (or sometimes, both at once), feeling like a victim, feeling everything is someone else's fault, feeling people are out to get you, misunderstanding what people mean when they say things to you (overly sensitive). Very, very egocentric. As it says in the AA "Big Book" alcoholics are driven by a thousand forms of self-centered fear. And we have an acronym for "Fear" also: False Evidence Appearing Real.

    I hope that you can see why your gay neighbor might think you were coming on to him. Bear in mind, you will not be able to rationally change his mind. The only way his thinking will change is if he starts by putting down the drink and take that first step (and the next 11). Good luck!

  25. nikki1 profile image61
    nikki1posted 15 years ago

    I believe once you have create a family alcohol should be done with. For the
    sake of the children. To set a better example. With peer pressure on a all time
    high.. dangerous combo.  Ur friend, Nikki1

  26. DotCalm profile image60
    DotCalmposted 15 years ago

    Here's some more first-hand info on alcoholism and recovery. During my twenty-year substance abuse binge that began when I was stationed in Vietnam, I tried to get sober on my own many times, but never achieved success until after my second DUI arrest in 1987 - I was court-ordered to attend weekly AA meetings.

    One of your replies said the Big Book has no title. Not true - its official title, "Alcoholics Anonymous" was embossed on the cover of my copy. Anyway, when I was involved with the program, I read it regularly and can't imagine trying to get sober without it. While the 12 steps are absolutely essential to the recovery process, however, I found that the unconditional, non-judgmental support from the fellowship was most helpful of all.

    During those early days of sobriety, I also read a medical textbook called "Under the Influence" written by a doctor specializing in addiction recovery. It describes in clinical detail how the cells of an alcoholic/addict's body defend themselves against daily substance abuse. Regular toxin exposure over long periods forces the cells to permanently intensify their defenses, much like repeated rubbing causes a callous to form on the outer layers of skin to protect the sensitive tissue underneath. This "mutation" contributes to the physical cravings that often lead to relapse.

    If you read my posting (I'm new at this - I only have one so far), you'll find out how this cellular phenomenon can be reversed through herbal therapy.

    From a psychological standpoint, one line from the Big Book caught my attention. I don't remember it verbatim, but it goes something like this: "We realized that our alcoholism was but a symptom of deeper, underlying causes." After two years of sobriety, I "accidentally" found a psychotherapeutic program where I learned and accepted for the first time (at age 41!) that I had been emotionally abused by my parents throughout my childhood. Both parents had died from alcohol-related illnesses, so mending those wounds was a long, painful process. But it did the trick - it was as effective on my psyche as the herbal therapy had been on my organ systems.

    Is AA for everyone? Probably not, but if you're trying to get sober, it's the best place to start. When I started in AA, I bought into what the old-timers preached: I would have to attend regular meetings for the rest of my life in order to stay sober. However, after my herbal treatments and emotional rehab, I didn't even feel like an alcoholic anymore. I've now been sober for over 21 years, and the last meeting I attended was about 15 years ago. I don't think about drinking any more than I think about staying sober - two halves of an issue that simply isn't relevant to my life today.

    Regardless of one's circumstances, I think it's important to always remember that each of us is absolutely unique - anatomically, physiologically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. That means that our individual needs can differ dramatically from everyone else's, so rather than asking "How effective is such-and-such (AA, vitamin C, XYZ diet, chemotherapy, etc.)?", perhaps a better question is "What do I need?"

  27. Lady Guinevere profile image68
    Lady Guinevereposted 15 years ago

    Ok my last responce went into cyberspace somewhere and I am going to attempt to remember what it was that I said.

    Hear, Hear dotcalm!
    I don't believe in accidents.  It is the timing that is right for the individual.  You did get your answer about your problem about your parent's and that is good because it put you on the correct path for yourself.  Good that you found that, when you did because it made you into the beautiful person you are today.
    I said something about living in the moment, right now!  What does everyone need, right, understanding and compassion............true compassion.  That is what we need right now.


  28. DotCalm profile image60
    DotCalmposted 15 years ago

    Thanks, LG!

    I unconditionally accept your unconditional positivity! And I'm with you all the way on the need for love, understanding and compassion. There's never enough. Hugs back at ya!


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