Any Recovering/Recovered Alcoholics Around Here?

Dumb question, P+R drives everyone to drink.

I need to have a chat to someone who can offer experience in dealing with serious alcohol dependance.

PM if you don’t feel like responding publicly.

Not for me, btw, for a loved one.

Al-Anon is horrible. My father had me go to the teen versions as a kid. Might as well been a church for troubled kids.

Dealing with alcoholics without support and guidance is worse.

No, it’s not. Really fuck Al-Alon. It made a far more lasting impression than anything else. If it worked for you, great, but I despise that group and their heavy handed religion pushing.

See, I knew the P+R thread was the right call!

My wife has a serious alcohol dependancy and clinical depression. She voluntarily went to emergency this morning for the second time in four weeks, after again fighting off urges to self-harm. She clocked in at 0.28 on admission (breathalysed). He B/A on the previous admission was 0.26, once the bloodwork came back.

She acknowledges she has a problem and we have been trying to work through it. She chose a therapist to engage with eight weeks or so ago, but I am concerned the therapist is not equipped to deal with her condition, which seems to be worsening. Her current therapist is not a qualified psychologist/chiatrist, instead coming from a background of criminal profiling and starting a business helping those with addictions. To be fair, her business has had some success, particularly in with some local prison programs, but I am not sure she fully understands that my wife is likely B/A 0.2 or above most times they have a session. Naturally her approach has been to pigeon-hole patients into personality profiles (Ennegream One Personality Types) as a basis for further treatment/root cause discovery. I think that has kind of backfired as my wife seems to be clinging to the profile she has identified with and perhaps viewing that as an explanation/justifaction for her current state, rather than it just being a discovery tool.

Beyond that, is it normal for alcohol dependance therapy to basically ignore efforts to cut back on drinking and engage in thereapy whilst an individual is under the influence? Particularly at B/A levels where cognitive function is impaired?

Note, I would descibe my wife as a relativelty high functioning alcoholic at this point, so her therapist may not even realise my wife is not sober during their tele-sessions. She is a career lawyer in a demanding role, but has been off work for the last several weeks on stress leave. We have marital problems that contribute, but have worked and continue to work on them on them together. Drugs are not an issue, short of prescriptions her GP has given as part of treatment (valium, etc).

I have not taken any steps to police her alcohol intake (or prescribed medication), as I feel efforts to do so would be pointless as she is already hiding her drinking - it would just drive a wedge between us and drive her drinking behind further obfuscation. As it is, at least I have a handle on her level of consumption. I have instead taken the approach of letting her work through this process and support her as I can, hoping consumptioin would decline. She has had a couple of dry patches over the last seveal weeks, but invariably something triggers her and she spirals down again. I get there is some normalcy in this, as far as fightng alcohol dependency goes. This has been increasingly difficult as I myself have suffered recent bouts of clinical depression, plus all the other emotions that naturally go along with trying to support a loved one with an addiction - frustration, anger, exhaustion, etc. Made more problematic by my prior actions in our relationship being one of several significant driver for where we find ourselves now.

Upon admission this morning, she asked to be admitted to a rehab facility, which I think is a positive and was my suggestion jointly to her GP weeks ago - I beleived she would best benefit from an in-patient program of some sort.

How do I determine if an in-patient clinic is a good fit? I’ll be looking for advice from the hospital, but also a facility that has actual accreditations, clinical treatment options and psych’s on-staff or on-hand.

Don’t think anything 12 steps based will work. We are both strongly agnostic and even though it is just a framework, she eliminated it early on, so no point tyying to drive her to a program she won’t engage with.

Also, how about that whole covid19 social distancing, isolation thing! Great timing, huh!

From the start, I was assuming this was the whole reason she’s been drinking more heavily lately! That all sounds really challenging. I wish you the best in working through it together.


Covid19 has been a trigger, but this has been building for a lot longer than that. My wife carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. Other peoples problems are her problems, from me, the kids, her mother, her sister, work colleagues, it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t just empathise, she carries the weight of their problems around with her and refuses to put them down.

I don’t have a good answer for you. As a kid my parents, who both drank heavily, got divorced. My father pulled this whole “Your mother is an alcoholic” thing and made me go to Al-Anon Teen and some other meetings. They were all 12 step programs with a heavy focus on God and Christianity. They like to say it’s not Christianity, but it is. I am not one to say if it can help or not, but they made a deep impressions on me that has lasted 35 years.

Al-Anon is pretty good, from what I hear from a college friend who cites them as a big help and reason for her family staying together when dealing with her husband’s addiction. And this couple are most certainly not religious. Quite the opposite in fact.

I think that a lot depends on the individual chapters. It may also depend on the individual’s personal feelings toward religion, I suppose. I’d certainly not issue a blanket condemnation of the entire organization based on one person’s experience, when they’ve obviously been a useful support resource for a lot of folks.

Good luck sharaleo.

Man, these days that’s got to be brutal.

Earlier today, I was sharing with my daughter something my dad always told us, “Worry about things you can do something about.”

Of course not, but they are a religious organization. The whole 12 step thing is based on it. If the person in question is opposed to those views, those groups are probably not the the right solution.

From what I’ve learned listening to Marc Maron’s stories of recovery on WTF, the higher power to whom you’re supposed to surrender need not be God or Jesus, Etc. It just has to be personally meaningful.

Yep, they say that. In my group they all carried Bibles.

The 12 steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him .
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him , praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

You realize that “your group” may be entirely specific to your group and your experience? And that it not apply to all groups, and if one looks around, etc.?

Sure, but I had to go to various meetings in different places over 2 years. Of course this was 35 years ago, but they were all the same. I can also tell you that I read various alcoholic Reddits and that a common theme is that non-religious people are all turned off of the 12 step program for that reason.

I’d be very turned off by that as well. I would hope I could find a less Jesusy alternative.

I’ve been through all this a few times. Lots of addiction in my family and my own life.

I think you’re on the right track. In-patient treatment is helpful, especially since your wife is still drinking and has such high B/A.

You probably already know this, but alcohol detox is dangerous and should be done in a hospital setting.

I wouldn’t worry too much about which program. Find one you can afford but don’t put too much stock into claims of one over another. They have to market themselves, but a lot of the data is meaningless because it’s so hard to get accurate data. Besides, it often works out that people need more than one treatment experience. Relapse rates are high.

12 step stuff is super helpful for YOU, even if your wife never goes. You should use Al-anon because you’re married to an alcoholic. If you attend a meeting, you will find others in the same predicament with alcoholics. If you feel one group is too religious, find another. It’s a common complaint, but it’s not insurmountable. Focus on the practical stuff you can do to make your life better and steer clear of the conceptual stuff, if you find the conceptual stuff troubling. It’s a weird time right now because of COVID, but plenty of areas have moved to Zoom meetings. You should call the local intergroup in your area and ask about meetings and passwords and so forth. Listen to the stories. Try to identify with the speaker’s feelings. Ignore anything anyone says that’s not useful. Sometimes it’s helpful just to have someone to talk with who won’t shame you for being involved with an alcoholic, addiction. If you build even one relationship, it’s nice to have someone who already knows your situation so that you don’t have to go through all the background stuff every time you want to talk.

Feel free to reach out to me, by all means. I’m an addict. I’ve been in recovery a long time. I’ve got lots of family that’s struggled with addiction and alcoholism. It’s hard, but you can find some relief.

Good luck!

@sharaleo do you have any hobbies or pastimes that allow you and her to shed the worlds problems to get away? I’m thinking of nature. That’s the one thing outside of gaming that helps let me get away. Wither it’s flower gardens, vegetable gardens, landscaping, or forestry things, getting away from humanity in this respect is nice.

I nearly drank myself to death in my late forties. I have been sober 11 years, 8 months, and 3 days.

In my experience, AA is most effective for people who have tried everything else first. A person who can tolerate a life without alcohol is not going to get a lot out of AA. There are a lot of people in AA who aren’t really ready to be there yet, mostly because they’ve been ordered to by a court. A whole lot of rehab centers rush people into 12-step programs. I don’t know how helpful that really is.

I went to AA because I wasn’t ready to die. I had stopped drinking, because it had destroyed me. I was preparing to kill myself, because I couldn’t stand living sober. (I couldn’t stand living drunk, either. It wasn’t a good time.) And it still took me 18 months of daily meetings before I finally got to a space where I could listen to people who were trying to help me.

AA is an extraordinary thing. The program has a lot of fusty trappings - a user manual written in the 1930s, painfully earnest prayer cards, bad coffee in styrofoam cups and cookies from the bodega, lots and lots of platitudes - but underneath it is a lineage of alcoholics learning how to live decent lives, and teaching other alcoholics what they learned, in a continuous chain that goes all the way back to a small group of broken men in Akron, Ohio in the 1930s.

A whole lot of people go to AA and never experience that. They think the meetings and the fellowship, reciting the steps or standing in a circle and holding hands while reciting the Third Step prayer is what the program’s all about. What they find often helps them, a little.

But that’s not the program. The “program,” such as it is, is sitting down with someone who was even more fucked up than you are and having them walk you through how they got unfucked. They teach you how to think like a human instead of a broken animal. They teach you how to find a purpose that’s more compelling than everything you fear.

The meetings are how you get to a point where you’re ready to do that, and where you meet the people who will help you save your life.

I can also tell you this: I was sober for seven or eight years before my psychiatrist and I finally found a mix of psychopharmaceuticals that got my chronic depression under control.

It turns out - imagine! - that daily regular alcohol intake really interferes with your ability to run controlled experiments on your brain chemistry, which sadly is still the only way we have of treating mental illness using medication. I still went to therapy while I was getting sober, and I still took my shitty meds that didn’t work very well, but I wasn’t able to get un-depressed (to the extent that I am) without getting sober first.

To echo what another person in this thread said, someone who’s regularly blowing 0.2 is going to need medical intervention to wean herself off of alcohol. That’s a wrenching change to the body, and it kills people. I’m sure she’s terrified of what it’ll be like to live without it, too. She’s right to be. It won’t be pleasant.

But it beats dying. The story of my life was going to end in 2008, and then it didn’t. I’ve got a career and a wife and a family that loves me and a widening circle of people whose lives I have improved. I’m also traumatized and terrified by this horrible pandemic, and I had to live long enough to see this country turn into what it is today. It’s not all biscuits and gravy. But it beats dying.

There’s a lot I haven’t said in this post. Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] if you feel like it might be helpful to hear more.