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Anyone have recovering alcoholics in their friendship/family circles?


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Last night I took a very dear friend and her husband down to an inpatient facility for him. He is a wonderful man. My DH and I have been friends with them for 6 years and they are a dedicated couple and great parents. He has a family history of alcoholism, and he has been hiding his for a long time apparently. We knew he was a bad driver, but the third wreck this year revealed why...he's been drinking heavily. My friend knew, and has been hiding it, from guilt and shame, I guess.

 

She was afraid we'd no longer be their friends; no longer let our children be their children's friends. He apparently has other deep issues she hinted at driving home last night, but is hoping this inpatient will start the road to recovery.

 

So, my question is, is there REAL hope? And, what, as a friend, can I do? What can my DH do? We want to be helpful and supportive. We know they are good and wonderful people!

 

We just don't know where to go from here...

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There is hope, but it may take a very long time. From the time the alcoholic in my family first went into recovery it was 10+ years until the drinking REALLY stopped (meaning there weren't anymore drinking episodes.) She would go some time without drinking and then get drunk. She also turned to pain pills after she quit drinking - they are easy to get off of the internet.

 

At this time I don't think she is drinking OR taking pills even though she has a debillitating degenerative disease (unrelated to drinking or drugs.)

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My FIL and MIL are alcoholics. My FIL stopped cold after a mild stroke. He died 10 years later from a mild blood infection because his liver was too damaged to fight the infection. My MIL lives far away, but still drinks some. We don't know the extent now though. Occassionally she will sound drunk or buzzed on the phone. She has never acknowledged there being a problem and we anticipate that she will never stop.

 

Is there hope? Yes. But it depends on the person, their motivation, how hard they are willing to work at it.... My FIL was so willing to change that he changed friends, changed places he frequented, and all that. I know it was very hard for him and did have some rough effects on their marriage as well.

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Yes, there is hope. My step-father, close friend, aunt and uncle are all alcoholics: 2 have been sober for 12+ years, 1 died and 1 still drinks although only on weekends. From what I've seen and read, they will only get better when THEY choose to. It won't work if they do it for someone else or for show. Kind of like losing weight or quiting smoking, the person has to want to for themselves. It also seems that the person usually hits rock bottom before that happens. Rock bottom can mean losing everything: their spouse, their job, their home, etc. My advice would be to be there for your friend. It is not an easy road, so do be sure that she has a network of support in place, encourage her to join support groups etc. because it is VERY draining and you'll be more likely to bail on her if you are her only support.

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My sister has finally stopped a year ago. This is a girl that would drink a bottle of Jack Daniels like it is water and did quite a few drugs. Her bottom was waking up in old town Alexandria with 4 days of her life gone. She still has no idea what happen. She checked herself in a detox center and spent 60 days there. She go to at least one AA meeting a day.

 

It is possible it takes a lot of work. As a friend all you can do is support and not judge.

:grouphug: and prayers to your friend.

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There is hope. My husband was a heavy drinker when we got married, he had been for many years. It took a year to stop ( he would hide whisky bottles in the strangest places and binge drink on occasion ), but he did it.

 

Now 6 years sober. He did go through rehab before we married 3 different times, just to return to drinking. It is not an easy road.

 

The hardest thing for him was when old friends would come by, grab a beer out of their ice chest and sit to chat and have a drink. I declared our house a no drinking zone. He lost a couple of friends over it, but those who really cared respected our wishes. It was a full 4 years before he didn't crave a drink.

 

About 9 months after he stopped drinking he had heart problems and ended up with heart stents, I was also pregnant with my son at the time. It was a huge wake up call to him. He could have left us both alone.

 

Just be there, be a shoulder to both of them. You just listening and supporting them anyway you can will be the greatest gift. This will probably be a very lonely time for them.

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Yes, there is hope but not all people get sober.

 

Personally, I believe AA is the best route to sobriety. My dad, whom I never thought would get sober did so through AA. I also think AA people would do well going to ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) to explore why they began drinking in the first place. Nearly every one of them had a dysfunctional childhood. ACA accepts people with any kind of dysfunction in their childhood, not just those with alcoholic parents. The family members should go to Al-Anon to learn how to be in a relationship in an alcoholic.

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I am the grandchild, child, sister, and niece of alcoholics. There is hope.

 

Can I offer some advice? Just be there. Be the one person she doesn't need to hide things from. The embarrassment of alcoholism is fierce, and it is often tied to enabling, which is a demon in its own right. Having someone who KNOWS is a huge help. I would also encourage her to go to whatever meetings his rehab offers: Al-Anon, other counseling, etc.

 

My brother was 16 when he went into rehab. (The place was run by my uncle, who was still a closet drinker. :confused:) He had been drinking since he was about 12, and also did lots of drugs, made several suicide attempts, you get the picture. He has now been sober for 26 years.

 

True, not everyone gets sober. My mother is still drinking, as are my other half-brothers. However, we have one success story in our family, and that gives me hope for the rest.

 

tonya

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My MIL was an alcoholic for many years, probably since before she had my husband. So was my FIL, who died when my husband was 8yo. His mom made a few attempts with AA when my husband was a teenager and finally got sober when he was in his early 20s. It was not long after my husband and his sister became Christians and I believe that their prayers really made the difference!

 

A few years after we married she moved in with us. By then she had been sober for about 10 years and stayed sober till her death.

 

So - there really is hope!

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Yes! There is hope!

My brother was an alcoholic from the time he was 17 until his late 20's. It took his wife packing herself and their 3 kids up and leaving to get him to check himself in to treatment, but he did it. His wife returned home 2 weeks later.

 

He has been sober for 16 years this month. It hasn't always been easy and for the first couple years he attended AA meetings several times a week and continued to attend them fairly regularly up until they moved out of state last fall, although in the last few years I think it was more to lend his his support to newcomers.

 

Don't think that once he leaves the treatment center it's over. I do believe that the AA meeting were the key to my brother's continued sobriety those first few years.

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My husband is a recovering alcoholic, along with having bipolar disorder. It was bad- even after a month of inpatient treatment, he still had drinking binges so bad that he'd lose entire days. I had to spend time in a shelter because he kept hitting me and threatening my life in front of our then-infant. And I don't know how many times he took the rent money and used it to get a hotel room and binge.

 

He did stop drinking, however. He hasn't had a drink in, gosh, must be over a year now. He finally understands that if he drinks again, even a sip, he'll lose everything he has, and for a lot of people, that's what it takes for them to stop.

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There is always hope. Sometimes it takes losing everything before an alcoholic/drug addict wakes up. Important: don't be a cop to them. Let them make their own choices. 30 day detox treatment centers are probably the best start, lots of AA, Al-Anon for the spouse. Let them find their own way, and keep being a concerned friend.

We are surrounded by alcoholics/drug addicts, recovering and not recovering.

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We have alcoholics all thru our families (dh's and mine) and my son is a newly-recovering alcoholic. He started drinking at 12. So far, as far as I know, he has been sober for a year and 5 months.

 

If you really want to support her, educate yourself. I think Al-Anon is a brilliant resource. Ask her if she wants to try out a meeting with you. It will give her something to do while her husband is in treatment.

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There is definitely hope.

 

I come from a family of alcoholics. Someone very dear to me struggled with drug addiction for seven long years before achieving recovery. That person is doing really well now, and has been well for several years.

 

Just be aware that it takes a long, long time to truly recover. The programs that are available really only cover just a short time--I find that most alcoholics really need the support and accountability and cocooning for at least a couple years. There will come a time, within just a few months here, that everyone will just want to get back to normal. It will be important at that time to find a way to function "normally" but still with the intensive support and accountability. It's very, very key to understand that recovery is a marathon, and that the commitment to sobriety (and all the transparency and support-seeking that entails) has to be kept at the forefront of the mind for a long, long time.

 

AA and Al-anon are wonderful support.

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