(Closed) Friend may be an alcoholic… help?

posted 7 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
2889 posts
Sugar bee

In my experience, stopping for a designated period of time does not mean someone can control their drinking long term. Think of AA, they acknowledge that members will fall off the wagon even after months or years of sobrierty. A freind of mine recently admitted to having an alcohol addiction but for years he gave up all alcohol for Lent sucessfully. He noted that he could get through 3-4 weeks before really feeling the need to drink so strongly. He also had no problem being the Dirty Delete when out with friends. This also made him deny that he had a real problem for a long period of time.

Post # 4
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

My husband is an addict in recovery and I attend Nar-Anon so I have some experience with this.

I agree with the above poster in that quitting for a designated period of time doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t have an addiction.  Sometimes an addict will actually use the fact that they were able to quit for a designated period of time as fodder for their own denial of their addiction, or “proof” to others that they don’t have an addiction.

If my husband had not gone to detox, he would have gotten very sick had he quit using cold-turkey and the same could be true for an alcoholic.  We have a friend who is an active alcoholic, and he starts shaking by a certain time of day if he doesn’t have a drink.  However, if your friend is a binge alcoholic, he might have an easier time physically with not having alcohol in his system (he is more accustomed to that).

If the person is not willing to admit that they have a problem, there is not much you can do.  The first step towards recovery is the desire to stop using.  If he doesn’t want to stop, then no amount of asking, begging, or bargaining will make them get help.  Having said that, when I finally suggested detox to my husband, he went very easily, so it was clear that he wanted to stop.  If you talk to your friend about it, he may be ready to get help and surrender very easily.  If that’s the case, I would highly recommend a 12-step program.  AA meetings are everywhere, free, and “it works if you work it” as they say.

When your husband confronts him, I would just say to keep in mind that addiction is a disease.  Just like you might have sympathy for someone with any other disease, the same should apply for someone with an addiction (in my opinion).  So my suggestion is to confront him in a compassionate way rather than an attacking or accusational way.  Good luck!

Post # 5
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

As a chemical dependency therapist, I can tell you that one of the core signs of addiction is failed attepmts to control use of a mood altering substnace.  So it’s not just about weather he can stop (some people can and others can’t) but what he does afterwards.  Has this attempt to stop drinking failed (did he go back to drinking)?

My best advice is to get yourself involved in an Al-Anon Family Group. 


Post # 6
4824 posts
Honey bee

@phillygirl629: Well said.

He wont change until he is ready to change, but you can make it harder to “get away with it” if he knows you arent being fooled by anything.  

Post # 8
5654 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2011

I’m a binge drinker and well today I don’t drink anymore at all b/c I realized (after dealing with lots of other alcoholic & addicts) that even if it’s not a “daily” thing it was still adversly effecting my life enough to be a problem…. even if it was sporadically.

I could easily go months without drinking BUT had a VERY hard time not drinking the whole bottle once it was opened.

The biggest turning point for me was when I woke up one morning while in a binge and just “NEEDED” a drink.

I knew that if I continued then I’d definitely be dealing with bigger problems.

Your friend has to be the one that sees the problem BUT confrontation of those that love us often help us to see that we aren’t seeing/doing things right… and even if he doesn’t accept it right away, it may be the start to him being able to one day see it and him start recovering.

Post # 10
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@littlemissmango: I think the biggest difference between someone’s drinking patterns is what role the mood altering substance plays and what the consequences are.  Does having one glass of wine make someone more alcoholic than someone who goes out once a year and drinks then gets a DWI?

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