Is abstinence really the key?

Medic_Cop22

On ROPS
On ROPs
#1
I type this with with a degree of caution & trepidation as I am aware of the sensitivity around the topic.
However I do believe there is the potential to have a reasoned discussion. I recently met with a close friend of mine whom I deployed with on a rather kinetic Herrick.
During an Op Archer (brilliant idea weren’t they....) he was the unlucky c*nt in the multiple that fell foul of an IED strike. This resulted in him receiving serious injuries. We’ll leave it at that for privacy.

When he was MD’d, his drinking began to spiral out of control.
With so much time on his hands and away from a daily routine & living in the block he explained that he began to feel a pervading sense of anxiety and depression. He found drink calmed his nerves. He wanted to engage with treatment physical & mental but needed shots of whiskey to gain the confidence. Obviously you can see where this is going. He was self-medicating with booze which became cyclical and self-perpetuating. His underlying anxiety lead to increased alcohol use and the bloke is now an alcoholic.

Right,

All fairly standard so far, and I’m sure many blokes on here have experienced this shit cycle in some capacity. During a chat the topic of the almost unclimbable mountain of abstinence cropped up. Got me pondering. Abstinence has become the de-facto SOP for anyone who is struggling with an addiction of any sort – Drink, drugs, porn, gambling or trolling @The_Duke (sorry mucker, I jest) .

Addressing any addiction with abstinence sounds like a perfect solution. But is it the only solution?
From my humble experience most addicts who want help are not ready to fully commit to quitting.I would suggest this is one of their primary reasons for not seeking help.

I recall an MO telling me that about 90% of those who struggle with addiction don’t get treatment for it.

Is a lowering of intake not a start?
If a person has managed to cut back their consumption by half, or even 80% are they failures? I’m not suggesting we pour drinks down the grid of alcoholics.
I’m simply asking- is immediate cold turkey the answer?
 
#2
It depends.

There is a scene in the West Wing (bear with) written by an alcoholic, performed by an alcoholic. The character (Leo) explains he can’t just have one drink, having just one drink doesn’t make sense. If alcohol tastes so good, why do you want to limit yourself to just one drink?

 
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#3
I type this with with a degree of caution & trepidation as I am aware of the sensitivity around the topic.
However I do believe there is the potential to have a reasoned discussion. I recently met with a close friend of mine whom I deployed with on a rather kinetic Herrick.
During an Op Archer (brilliant idea weren’t they....) he was the unlucky c*nt in the multiple that fell foul of an IED strike. This resulted in him receiving serious injuries. We’ll leave it at that for privacy.

When he was MD’d, his drinking began to spiral out of control.
With so much time on his hands and away from a daily routine & living in the block he explained that he began to feel a pervading sense of anxiety and depression. He found drink calmed his nerves. He wanted to engage with treatment physical & mental but needed shots of whiskey to gain the confidence. Obviously you can see where this is going. He was self-medicating with booze which became cyclical and self-perpetuating. His underlying anxiety lead to increased alcohol use and the bloke is now an alcoholic.

Right,

All fairly standard so far, and I’m sure many blokes on here have experienced this shit cycle in some capacity. During a chat the topic of the almost unclimbable mountain of abstinence cropped up. Got me pondering. Abstinence has become the de-facto SOP for anyone who is struggling with an addiction of any sort – Drink, drugs, porn, gambling or trolling @The_Duke (sorry mucker, I jest) .

Addressing any addiction with abstinence sounds like a perfect solution. But is it the only solution?
From my humble experience most addicts who want help are not ready to fully commit to quitting.I would suggest this is one of their primary reasons for not seeking help.

I recall an MO telling me that about 90% of those who struggle with addiction don’t get treatment for it.

Is a lowering of intake not a start?
If a person has managed to cut back their consumption by half, or even 80% are they failures? I’m not suggesting we pour drinks down the grid of alcoholics.
I’m simply asking- is immediate cold turkey the answer?
I take it you haven't read @Ravers thread entitled Going Dry?
 
#5

Medic_Cop22

On ROPS
On ROPs
#6
I’ll have a read.



We surely must consider that every person is an individual and so treatment should be individualised.
Why limit to a one size fits all treatment plan?

Goals set in treatment for addicts tend to be predetermined. Abstinence being the primary example. Anyone who is at all resistant to this as the primary goal is seen as being in denial or not aware of their problem.
 
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#7
It depends.

There is a scene in the West Wing (bear with) written by an alcoholic, performed by an alcoholic. The character (Leo) explains he can’t just have one drink, having just one drink doesn’t make sense. If alcohol tastes so good, why do you want to limit yourself to just one drink?

no doubt all thoroughly indoctrinated in the AA dogma
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
As Sluggy suggests, have a skeg at the Going Dry thread.

Some great discussion about giving up booze, or just cutting down.

Everyone is different, some people might find they have the will power to cut down their booze intake. However for me, this was never an option. I’d cut down for a bit but quickly end up getting into the habit of a few more again.

I’d say “right only booze at weekends”.

It would start well enough with me just getting smashed on Friday and Saturday night. And I mean smashed because these days were special occasions when I was allowing myself to drink. I’d find myself massively looking forward to the weekend because it meant I could have a drink.

Then after a few weeks, I’d find the weekend started on Thursday night so I’d drink on Thursday too. I mean “**** it it’s friday tomorrow, that deserves a celebratory drink doesn’t it?”

Then I’d find myself having a drink on a Sunday night (it’s still the weekend) to wind down before the week ahead.

Then I’d have a rough day at work so have a glass or two (or a whole bottle) of wine on a weekday evening.

Before I knew it was getting smashed every night.

Then I’d try and cut down again and the whole cycle would just start again.

It was never out of control or full on addiction, just a bad habit that was hard to break and cutting down was not working for me. I’d tried and failed on various occasions.

So one day I just woke up and said “**** it, I’m never drinking again.”

Easier just to cut it out completely and forget about it. It’s been about 4 months now and I haven’t looked back. Everything is better now, I’m saving money, losing weight, I have more energy, no more hangovers that make me want to blow my brains out, no behaving like a ******** while smashed and regretting it the next day, I look better and I’ve rediscovered skills and hobbies like playing the guitar that I’d neglected because I was spending that time drinking.

It was like lifting a big weight from my shoulders. Once I’d got my head around the fact that there was no battle with booze anymore, I was able to just get on with my life.
 
#9
As Sluggy suggests, have a skeg at the Going Dry thread.

Some great discussion about giving up booze, or just cutting down.

Everyone is different, some people might find they have the will power to cut down their booze intake. However for me, this was never an option. I’d cut down for a bit but quickly end up getting into the habit of a few more again.

I’d say “right only booze at weekends”.

It would start well enough with me just getting smashed on Friday and Saturday night. And I mean smashed because these days were special occasions when I was allowing myself to drink. I’d find myself massively looking forward to the weekend because it meant I could have a drink.

Then after a few weeks, I’d find the weekend started on Thursday night so I’d drink on Thursday too. I mean “**** it it’s friday tomorrow, that deserves a celebratory drink doesn’t it?”

Then I’d find myself having a drink on a Sunday night (it’s still the weekend) to wind down before the week ahead.

Then I’d have a rough day at work so have a glass or two (or a whole bottle) of wine on a weekday evening.

Before I knew it was getting smashed every night.

Then I’d try and cut down again and the whole cycle would just start again.

It was never out of control or full on addiction, just a bad habit that was hard to break and cutting down was not working for me. I’d tried and failed on various occasions.

So one day I just woke up and said “**** it, I’m never drinking again.”

Easier just to cut it out completely and forget about it. It’s been about 4 months now and I haven’t looked back. Everything is better now, I’m saving money, losing weight, I have more energy, no more hangovers that make me want to blow my brains out, no behaving like a ******** while smashed and regretting it the next day, I look better and I’ve rediscovered skills and hobbies like playing the guitar that I’d neglected because I was spending that time drinking.

It was like lifting a big weight from my shoulders. Once I’d got my head around the fact that there was no battle with booze anymore, I was able to just get on with my life.
Well done matey. I’ve gone from excessive binge drinking in the army to over the last 12 years in the police drinking very little and really enjoying the odd pint or glass of wine that I do have.

A lot is to do with shifts and the complete lack of a drinking culture in the oldbill, which came as a shock. I regret the amount I drunk in the past and wish I had been more sensible and not got dragged into that culture at such a young age.
 
#10
It was like lifting a big weight from my shoulders. Once I’d got my head around the fact that there was no battle with booze anymore, I was able to just get on with my life.
I have a driver at work (I'm a transport manager) that was reportedly smelling of drink when starting his shift.
I tried multiple times to catch him. The police were tipped of four times in three different counties. He still wasn't caught.

I took legal advice that I could fire him on suspicion provided I had reasonable grounds, the directors gave me that option even though they were aware we would lose a tribunal if I did so.
The view was taken that it wasn't worth the risk of letting him drive for us if he was drinking

I introduced a fairly draconian alcohol policy includin dismissal for anything over a trace and calling the police if remotely justifiable.
I bought a breathalyser and breathalysed all drivers, repeatedly (with universal support from the other drivers to be fair)

The problem went away, the driver concerned has apparently knocked it on the head,

Biggest point of all is that his character has changed dramatically within a few days. He is a completely different bloke, happier, more helpful and far nicer to be around for everyone.

I have no doubt there was a drink problem, I just couldn't catch him. the character change is sufficent proof for me.
If he does it again he'll get bagged and sacked on the spot.
 
#11
Is a lowering of intake not a start?
If a person has managed to cut back their consumption by half, or even 80% are they failures?
I’m simply asking- is immediate cold turkey the answer?
Yes. Phased withdrawal often features.

No. That can represent a very significant achievement for the individual,

Bad idea for those in deep. Severe cases can snuff it and require managed detox. Appropriate meds. help a lot
 
#12
I managed a few weeks where I only drank at weekends then slipped a bit (family celebrations x2), couple of really crap days, row with SWMBO etc.

I have now started marking the calendar at the front of my diary with a red, yellow or green dot. Red being a major session, yellow being the odd glass of wine / small whisky and green being alcohol free. The idea is to be green Sun-Thurs, yellow at weekends and red no more than once per month.

I've also lost a couple of pounds in weight, which I partly attribute to the alcohol reduction and the diary shows how well I'm doing.
 
#13
This week I have drunk four pints. Two on Tuesday, one yesterday and one today. I've enjoyed them all but the pint of Black Sheep Monty Python's The Holy Grail was exceptionally nice. Another one would have ruined it. Anyway, I'm working the next three days so no more beer for me.
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
If you haven't have a look at the Adrian Child's programme on alcohol, I think it's on the BBBC I player. Yes he can be an irritate ting twat but on this programme he wasn't and it was very watchable. Give it a watch it's rather interesting.
I'll try and find a link.
I'll put it on the other thread as well as I think it's worth watching.
 
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#15
Addressing any addiction with abstinence sounds like a perfect solution. But is it the only solution?
I've been abstinent from alcohol for 9 1/2 years now. I didn't choose abstinence, it was forced upon me, because the previous decade had been spent trying to drink like a 'normal person'.

Very few have a little bit of a problem with something and then goes abstinent (only the really wise I suppose), but abstinence is normally the end result of a horrendous journey that has often lasted years.

Personally, I think a better question is 'how do you stay abstinent?', because most don't want to or can't.
 
#16
I gave up 3 years ago, my drinking was heavy but I thought I had it under control. It was a visit to the Doc that changed my outlook, I had a fatty liver plus other issues I stopped at that point. I can't see me going back to drinking, just can't see the point in it anymore...probably me becoming a boring old git.
 
#17
I gave up 3 years ago, my drinking was heavy but I thought I had it under control. It was a visit to the Doc that changed my outlook, I had a fatty liver plus other issues I stopped at that point. I can't see me going back to drinking, just can't see the point in it anymore...probably me becoming a boring old git.
I've have been told same thing regarding my liver (NAFLD), so far I'm cutting back and after tomorrow (family wedding). I'm knocking it on the head.
 
#18
I wonder if there is a difference between those actually physically dependent on alcohol (or anything else) and those for whom it has become something to lean on when stressed or anxious?

The first group I imagine need to learn to abstain. The second group - not so sure? The problem is if having a drink is your safety behaviour then if you end up having one there is a risk that you will feel anxious etc and guess what? Another drink.... Then another.... The alcohol will interfere with your ability to think logically.

It is the same with a dieter who falls off the wagon and eats a doughnut, but then comfort eats by munching five or six of them. Anything that is a safety behavior has the potential to lead to self sabotage. I know from bitter experience (nothing to do with booze or doughnuts).
 
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#19
I wonder if there is a difference between those actually physically dependent on alcohol (or anything else) and those for whom is has become something to lean on when stressed or anxious?

The first group I imagine need to learn to abstain. The second group - not so sure? The problem is if having a drink is your safety behaviour then if you end up having one there is a risk that you will feel anxious etc and guess what? Another drink.... Then another.... The alcohol will interfere with your ability to think logically.

It is the same with a dieter who falls off the wagon and eats a doughnut, but then comfort eats by munching five or six of them. Anything that is a safety behavior has the potential to lead to self sabotage. I know from bitter experience (nothing to do with booze or doughnuts).
It was Dwarf Clown Porn wasn't it....it's OK you can tell us we are understanding
 
#20
Depends on the person. For a lot of people with a history of drinking too much (& The West Wing character referred to above) it's a hell of a lot less difficult to refuse the 1st drink than it is to refuse a subsequent one. For others, cutting back is & sticking to a small intake is feasible.
 
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