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Advise for an 30 year Alcoholic

answered 08:56 PM EST, Tue April 30, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
What would your advise be to an alcoholic that has been through treatment 3 times in his 30 years of drinking. He has been in and out of AA for 2-3 years. Once in the last 3 years he was sober 76 days. Today he is sober 1day. He wants to stay sober. He really does. There are just so many struggles in his life. And yes, drinking only makes them worse.

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds

Thank you for your question. I think it is wonderful that he was able to stay sober for 76 days once and that he has one day sober now. Every day that an alcoholic person is sober is a blessing. With that many years of drinking, I would recommend inpatient treatment followed by a halfway house or sober living. Just because he has been to treatment three times before and relapsed does not mean that he won't be successful this time.

He can definitely stay sober if he commits himself fully to Alcoholics Anonymous instead of going to rehab. I've seen many alcoholics do it. However, I recommend more treatment combined with AA. I usually feel that the more treatment a person participates in, the better their chance for success in recovery. Plus, the length of his alcoholism (30 years) may make it more difficult for him to make the changes he needs to make in recovery. After that many years of abusing alcohol, it will take time to undo the damage that has been done. Recovery can be a slow process. He needs to learn other ways to cope with life problems. Everyone has problems in their lives and things are bound to come up that will cause him stress. He has to learn how to deal with that stress without alcohol.

Support also needs to be an essential part of his recovery. I wonder if when he went to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), he found a support group. AA is more than just going to meetings. A big part of the program is having a sponsor who can guide you through the 12 Steps and having a support group. I recommend that alcoholics in AA have a minimum of 5 people in their support group and probably should have more like 10. The people in his support group would be people he could call when he feels like taking a drink or just to have someone to talk to. Everyone needs friends and this is especially true of alcoholics in early recovery. Support groups can also be there to show someone in early recovery how to have fun again without alcohol. They can show him other ways to cope with stress. And they can just be there for him.

I hope this helps and I wish you both the best of luck.


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