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;) Hello all. I just discovered this forum via a post on METAFILTER and decided to gove it a try. Here's my situation. I am 39 yrs old, male and have a problem with alcohol. Basically, I have been drinking a pint of Vodka plus a few beers every day for the last 4 years. I have always been a drinker, but nowhere near that much until about 4 years ago. I can feel that it is affectiing me physically and mentally and I know that I need to quit or cut down drastically. What should I do? Should I try to slowly wean myself off the poison, or just check myself into the hospitall for detox?

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is /was in a similar situation, as well as any advice from any licensed therapists that might be members of this board.

I am down in a hole and I desperately want to climb out. Please help!

BryMeister

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I'm a recovering alcoholic so I can really sympathise with your position. Getting off booze is the hard part it gets easier with time. It's an old cliche but admitting you have a problem and wanting to do something about it is winning half the battle.

Do you feel you need to go to rehab. Quitting drink suddenly can be very dangerous, I would consult my GP if I were you for advice on this situation.

Good luck with the booze battle and keep us updated

Blackbird x

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I'm a recovering alcoholic so I can really sympathise with your position. Getting off booze is the hard part it gets easier with time. It's an old cliche but admitting you have a problem and wanting to do something about it is winning half the battle.

Do you feel you need to go to rehab. Quitting drink suddenly can be very dangerous, I would consult my GP if I were you for advice on this situation.

Good luck with the booze battle and keep us updated

Blackbird x

That's the thing: I don't know. I would PREFER to handle this on my own and wean myself off of the stuff, but I may have to go into rehab and frankly, it scares the shit out of me.

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If you have consistantly drank that much for 4 years, I would not recommend quitting on your own. The people who work in rehab settings know exactly how to help you. They are trained professionals...and many of those people have been in your shoes and know exactly what you are going through.

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Did anything specific happen about four years ago?

Yeah, my (then) 17-year old son got his (then) 15 year-old girlfriend pregnant. We started drinking heavily at that time. That was also when we went from pretty much drinking only on the weekends to every day. That situation has resolved itself quite well, but my wife and I both continued our consumption - it became a habit to come home, crack a beer and have a shot.

I am wondering if it would be possible for us to gradually lower our intake until we can get back to the point where we're only drinking on the weekends again. Any thoughts?

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I have a friend who has gradually cut back. He still drinks every day, but now it is just a beer or two instead of a fifth of Southern Comfort. He seems to be doing fine for the most part, but his father stopped cold turkey and went in to serious withdrawl, then a horrible depression and then died within 3 years of quiting alcohol.

I found this article about alcohol withdrawl and it had all kinds of information. Here is a piece...

"Typically, for those who are mildly dependent doses of vitamins (Thiamin) and a proper diet will prevent most of the mild withdrawal symptoms from occurring. For the severely dependent, medication can be administered, but only by a physician. One approach is to substitute Valium for alcohol and gradually reduce the dosage until the patient is drug free.

If you are a heavy drinker and want to quit, consult a trained medical professional, and be honest about your usual alcohol intake. The psychological withdrawal is enough to deal with, without also having to fight the physical symptoms.

You don't have to do it "on your own" to prove anything to anyone. Help is available, take advantage of it."

http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/withdrawal/a/aa000125a.htm

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, first, thank you all for your kind word of encouragement and suggestions. I have now been sober for three days and I am finding it to be challenging, but getting better. I decided to seek medical advice and my GP was very understanding. He now has me on a a gradually reducing dosage of Librium. The first day was a b!tch, but the physical symptoms are getting better each day. The doc is going to put me on Campral after being sober for a couple of weeks and I am hopeful that this will help. I am also taking Ambien to help me sleep.

I have yet to go to any AA meetings, but I do plan on attending at least one or two to see if it is the right thing for me. The challenging part for me is just to take it one day at a time and not think too far into the future!

My wife and I (she's in the same boat) just joined the local YMCA and are going to start working out, losing weight and hopefully, finding something else to fill the place that alcohol has taken in our lives.

Does anyone know of any alternatives to AA? I have heard of Rational Recovery, but it just seems too simplistic somehow.

Anyway, please keep the positive thoughts coming. They mean a lot!

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Hi Brymeister, welcome!

Congratulations on having the courage to change your life, and working with your physician!

I encourage you to check out the AA folks, since they have the best track record of success. For other groups ask your physician, or call your county/city social services. Check your phone book too.

Best,

a.m.

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Does anyone know of any alternatives to AA? I have heard of Rational Recovery, but it just seems too simplistic somehow.

Anyway, please keep the positive thoughts coming. They mean a lot!

Bry: it sounds like you've taken some really positive steps quickly! You must be ready to change. Regarding alternatives to AA---I belong to a support group called Moderation Management (www.moderation.org). It is for people who want to reduce their drinking, or abstain permanently if that's what they determine is best for them. The difference between AA and MM is that the responsibility and "power" lies with the individual---"alocholism" is not a disease, it's a bad habit that can be overcome by many people.

I have nothing against AA, although if you ever think about drinking again, it might be worthwhile to check out MM to learn the skills you may need to drink responsibly.

Best to you and your wife,

Diane B

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"I encourage you to check out the AA folks, since they have the best track record of success. "

Actually, surprisingly enough, all groups have essentially the same track record. There are no statistically significant differences between any of them - or in the success rate of people who simply stop drinking or moderate their drinking on their own. You just have to find the best fit for you.

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"I encourage you to check out the AA folks, since they have the best track record of success. "

Actually, surprisingly enough, all groups have essentially the same track record. There are no statistically significant differences between any of them - or in the success rate of people who simply stop drinking or moderate their drinking on their own. You just have to find the best fit for you.

Have any citations to back that up, masonbee? As the former spouse of an alcoholic in recovery, I don't buy it.
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We can all see from this site that one type of MI medication doesn't work for everyone, why would one type of treatment for alcoholism fit everyone?

I know AA does a lot of good, but it ISN'T for everyone, and their assertions that "You can't do this without us" are rather arrogant. Just go up to an active AA memeber and ask them about alternative recovery therapies some time. The SMUGGNESS just rolls off them in waves as they tell you about how other therapies wont work and you are doomed without AA.

Again, AA has worked for so many people. But I have known too many who talked about how wonderful AA was for them as they were sneaking shots out of bottles hidden in their cars. Like any treatment program, you only get out of it what you put in to it, and there aren't any "one-size-fits-all" answers.

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I never said anyone HERE said "You can't do this without us"...I said people involved in AA say that. Sure not all, but most of the ones I knew. And I was speaking about an attitude in general I have experienced over the years that addresses the topic of alternate forms of treatment. Since there are assertions made by more than one person about what is the best recovery method, my post is right on topic.

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Actually, surprisingly enough, all groups have essentially the same track record. There are no statistically significant differences between any of them - or in the success rate of people who simply stop drinking or moderate their drinking on their own. You just have to find the best fit for you.
I was responding to this. I don't think it's true that each method has the same "success" rate. I hope masonbee will post some published proof.
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Actually, surprisingly enough, all groups have essentially the same track record. There are no statistically significant differences between any of them - or in the success rate of people who simply stop drinking or moderate their drinking on their own. You just have to find the best fit for you.
I was responding to this. I don't think it's true that each method has the same "success" rate. I hope masonbee will post some published proof.

http://experts.about.com/e/a/al/Alcoholics_Anonymous.htm

If you read the section on "beliefs" in this article, you'll see the success rate stated as 5% on up. I know there are other published data showing the AA success rate at around 5% or lower. I look up the articles and post them later today.

Dianebea

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There's quite a lot of information out there about the relative success rates of different programs.

Here, Dr. Michael McGee refers to a New England Journal of Medicine comparing three types of programs:

"As for treatment, three types have demonstrated similar success rates -- cognitive behavior therapy, 12-step programs, and motivational-enhancement therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy emphasizes the learning of skills to cope with situations that precipitate heavy drinking. 1 Twelve-step programs emphasize that alcoholism is a disease, and they encourage active involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). And motivational-enhancement therapy involves motivational interviewing that

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Wow! There is a lot of information to digest here. I have been sober for 8 days now and have started on a regular exercise program at the local YMCA, as I believe that I have stated.

My wife and I have had many discussions about our "future" (if any) with drinking. Her advice - and I think that this is the best so far - is to only take it one day at a time.

This past weekend was really hard for us, because that's when we would do our most partying. We managed to muddle through and come out on top. The key for us is to develop other habits / hobbies that fill the hole in our lives created by exxcessive use of alcohol.

I have read that at some "tipping point", alcohol use can change from moderate to dangerous, and at that time, the user must accept the fact that he/she can never drink again. This is what I gather from AA, anyway. I am not sure what I believe. One thing for certain is that I won't be drinking for a long time, if ever at all.

So far, I have not felt the need for AA, but I may still go to a meeting or two to see if it feels right for me. In the mean time, I plan on checking out rational recovery and one of the other support groups, Moderation Management.

Thanks again for your continued support!

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.

This past weekend was really hard for us, because that's when we would do our most partying. We managed to muddle through and come out on top. The key for us is to develop other habits / hobbies that fill the hole in our lives created by exxcessive use of alcohol.

Hey, Mr. Meister! I don't know where you live, but this is a great time of year for weekend festivals and fun things---hot-air balloons and hiking groups in the mountains and river towns doing special music gatherings. If you two are getting in shape at the Y, maybe you could do something physically active over the weekend, like a long bicycle ride or a hike or a guided walk through a state park.

If you choose the activity carefully, there are lots of activities where alcohol is not served, and you could see part of your countryside that you've never visited.

Our area has two full weekends (sept. 16/17 and 23/24) of all kinds of "rambles." Guided canoe trips on the river, guided hikes up in the hills, one-mile gentle walks through historical mansions and their gardens---all kinds of stuff for every level of fitness. (Kids can come, too.)

Anyway, check it out. It's better to break the old routine and do something where you aren't surrounded by drink and drinkers. It sounds like you guys are doing great, and I hope you can continue to support each other.

olga

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  • 2 weeks later...

You may, however, want to avoid anything named "Octoberfest".....at least for this year :)

Amen to that! The problem is that my wife and I are routinely invited to at least two Halloween parties each year, at which the alcohol flows freely. I am thinking that we should probably skip this year, but we'll see. I can't / don't want to avoid people & situations where people are drinking for the rest of my life, but for now, it is probably a good idea.

My wife and I have been doing really well so far. The Doc put us both on Campral, but we quit taking it because of the side effects. So far, I have not found any excessive desire to drink. Rather, I feel myself become more and more "addicted" to working out at the Y! ;)

No AA or anything like it as of yet. Still going strong, though!! Keep the good thoughts coming!

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I am thinking that we should probably skip this year, but we'll see. I can't / don't want to avoid people & situations where people are drinking for the rest of my life, but for now, it is probably a good idea.

If you're uneasy about how you will feel at this party, then skip it. There's no disgrace in avoiding situations that put you in direct contact with drinkers and lots of alcohol. By this time next year you may be fine with going to the parties and sticking with soda all night.

It sounds like you two are doing really great, and I wish you good luck. It sounds like getting into shape at the Y was really important to your success.

olga

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Congratulations on the sobriety brymeister, as a recovering alcoholic myself I can tell you it gets easier with time. You will soon start appreciating the benefits.

As for the AA debate, at the end of the day I don't buy into the whole support group thing and I have been to AA meetings. I believe the only person who can save you from the drink is yourself - not a support group. It takes personal motivation and self-control.

Keep up the good work and keep us updated!

Blackbird x

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