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Archive for May, 2007

44 Ways to Help a Problem Drinker

©2007, Jack Trimpey, all rights reserved.

  1. Tell him he is powerless over his desire to drink.
  2. Tell him his problems are driving him to drink.
  3. Tell him he is congenitally defective, suffering an interited disease, “alcoholism,” that is causing him to drink.
  4. Tell him that if he could have quit drinking by now, he would have, and the fact that he has not yet quit proves that he has been powerless to do so because of his alcoholism.
  5. Tell him that if he doubts he has the disease of alcoholism, he is in denial, which is a symptom of the disease of alcoholism.
  6. Tell him his drinking is a coping mechanism for issues he must yet discover.
  7. Tell him he’s an alcoholic, and if he think’s he’s normal, he’ll drink.
  8. Tell him he should find coping mechanisms other than drinking.
  9. Tell him that some problem drinkers can drink moderately, but real alcoholics cannot.
  10. Tell him that, if he is really careful, he can drink moderately and prove he’s not a real alcoholic.
  11. Tell him that he can’t know if he’s a real alcoholic until he finally “hits bottom,” when his losses are enormous and he has harmed many people or possibly killed someone. Then, he’s a real alcoholic.
  12. Tell him he can never know if he’s really hit bottom or has only reached a “false bottom.”
  13. Tell him that his logical idea of quitting the use of alcohol and other drugs for the rest of his life is a way of denying that he has a disease, which is a symptom of the disease of alcoholism.
  14. Tell him that every drunken episode kills off another 50,000 brain cells that are necessary for good judgment.
  15. Tell him that alcoholics metabolize alcohol differently, in that their livers release yet another substance, “THIQ,” that is more addictive than heroin.
  16. Tell him he’s a quart low on serotonin, which is why he’s depressed, and that by drinking he’s trying to make up for his seratonin.
  17. Tell him he cannot expect himself to just quit drinking, but should get help, which means going to a recovery group or to a counselor who has never been addicted or who has not resolved his/her own addiction.
  18. Tell him that his family is partly responsible for his excessive alcohol intake, particularly the codependents and and enablers that surround all “alcoholics.”
  19. Tell him he must immediately stop trying to quit drinking altogether, but only try to stay sober, with the help of the Creator of the Universe, just one-day-at-a-time.
  20. Tell him that, if he just abstains from alcohol without getting religion or spirituality, he will become a“dry drunk,” — a miserable, angry person, incapable of happiness, who will inevitably return to drinking.
  21. Tell him that he is little more than a bundle of character defects and must always struggle to be good and remain sober.
  22. Tell him he has issues that make him drink, and that his opinions on everything are worthless.
  23. Tell him that, for him and other problem drinkers, the act of self-intoxication is an innocent act, a symptom of a mysterious disease they deny having.
  24. Tell him that, although his drinking is not a moral issue, he is morally responsible for his drunken behavior.
  25. Tell him that in order to refrain from drinking, he must discover a new interest or satisfaction to replace the gratification produced by alcohol.
  26. Tell him that by not getting drunk he is creating a deep spiritual void that only God can fill.
  27. Tell him that he is at high risk of relapse if he becomes hungry, angry, lonely or tired, and that any combination of these constitute being “in relapse.”
  28. Tell him that he should turn his life over to a deity entirely of his own imagination.
  29. Tell him he should pattern his life based on the lives of AA old-timers, especially following the example of AA founder Bill Wilson, a lifelong addicto-depressive who demanded a drink on his deathbed.
  30. Tell him that he cannot refrain from drinking on his own, and that he must have the continuous social and emotional support of other substance abusers who have not resolved their own addictions.
  31. Tell him that he must form a juvenile, dependent relationship with another substance abuser who is also reserving the privilege of future relapses.
  32. Tell him that he must rely upon a god of his own creation to restore him to sanity.
  33. Tell him that “Treatment works!” because the government and addiction treatment experts say it works.
  34. Tell him he should get substance abuse counseling and addiction treatment conducted by other substance abusers who attend recovery groups themselves, who reserve the privilege of future relapses, and who are sober, one-day-at-a-time.
  35. Tell him that seeking conscious contact with God by praying daily to Him for good fortune, wisdom, serenity, sobriety, and other benefits is not religious, but something entirely different — spiritual.
  36. Tell him he must leave his family in the evenings and attend group meetings of the same substance abusers he has been hanging out with for years.
  37. Tell him he must attend recovery group meetings for the rest of his life, and that any resistance to doing this is a symptom of the the disease of alcoholism.
  38. Tell him he should fear his desire to drink, for he is powerless over it, and that if he has a moment of desire, he should immediately call his sponsor or get to the very next recovery group meeting.
  39. Tell him that he has the disease of relapse, and that relapse is a normal, expected part of addiction recovery.
  40. Tell him that relapses just happen to people, just as with other diseases like cancer, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
  41. Tell him that sometimes there is no human defense against having the first drink, that only God can intervene in addictive desire.
  42. Tell him that he should tell all of his personal secrets and confidential information to everyone at public meetings of irresolute substance abusers held at the town square.
  43. If he commits a crime such as drunk driving while under the influence, arrest him, throw the book at him, give him a stiff sentence, and then tell him that he was powerless to not drink in the first place. By no means suggest or accept that he might revoke his own drinker’s license; it’s the driver’s license or else. Offer him leniency if he accepts, believes, and acts upon all of the listed items above, 1 – 42.
  44. As a last resort, when all of these approaches fail, as would seem very likely, tell him that an “alcoholic” is just a self-excusing ass, and that his drunkenness is the ultimate self-indulgence, the ultimate betrayal, the intolerable offense against you. Tell him that unless he immediately quits drinking and vows to abstain under all conditions for the rest of his life, you will abandon him to the natural consequences of his immoral conduct, however painful or lethal they may be. Explain that you love the memory of him before he transformed himself into an animal, and that you want him back under the necessary condition of zero tolerance for any further use of alcohol and other drugs. Tell him if he consumes so much as one drop of alcohol, or takes even one pleasure pill or other dope, he will thereby forsake you forever. Tell him that one-day-at-a-time sobriety isn’t good enough for you because you refuse to continue to live with someone who won’t make a guarantee of loyalty, to forsake the pleasures of addiction until death. Be sure he has direct access to authentic Rational Recovery® learning materials which set forth Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT®), so that he may soon come to you and say, “I will never drink again, and I’ll never change my mind.” Then and only then may he begin to apologize for his past drunkenness, for one cannot apologize for something he knows he may do once again. Send him to this link on the Internet:

The Crash Course on AVRT®

Make sure he has a personal copy of Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction. By all means review this article on zero-tolerance in the family.

Because he is free to choose between good and evil, he may choose his addiction over you. If he continues to suffer and die, it will not be on your account or in your home, and in your grief, you will know that by choosing his addiction he has granted you the rest of your life to live on your own terms rather than on the terms of his animal nature, and that he has exchanged the best thing he ever had for the cheap thrills of addiction. For that you may be grateful and hope he will suffer the least and finally rest in peace.

If he chooses you, however, you may be on the path toward a reconciliation you’ve longed for, a reconciliation that will restore him to his family, to freedom and to dignity.

The Ancestry of Substance Abuse Counseling

©2007, Jack Trimpey, LCSW, all rights reserved.

BWilson.jpgAlcoholics Anonymous (AA) was conceived by two intelligent, well-educated men, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both of whom were severely addicted to alcohol, and neither of whom finally defeated their own addictions. Behind closed doors, they admitted their ghastly sense of powerlessness over addictive desire, and shared stories of personal failure and degeneracy.

They were a rare combination of character and talent. Bill Wilson was a raising-the-dead necromancer (a channeler, like John Edward), and Dr. Bob was a physician-drunk. Their combined input produced a magnificent compromise between the rigors of moral decency, which they loathed and feared, the prestige of religion and science, which they both understood very well, and the call of the wild, which we may deduce from their actions, was closest to their hearts.

Shortly before they met and founded Alcoholics Anonymous, Mr. Wilson had been through a number of spa-like addiction treatment programs without success, medical programs remarkably similar in methods and outcomes to today’s addiction treatment centers. Following intense, emotional turmoil and apparent psychotic episode at a hospital that treated addiction with hallucinogenic drugs, Bill Wilson remained extremely restless, desperately running away from addictive desire. He became obsessed with saving other drunkards from themselves, possibly as his own wish-fulfillment to be rescued from himself. In other words, he did not recognize his messianic mission as part of an underlying, immutable plan to get drunk. His chaotic outreach, however, resulted in a chance enounter with his future cohort, Dr. Smith.

DrBob.jpgDr. Smith was on the verge of professional and personal suicide, drinking during surgical procedures in the operating room as well as in his professional office. Mr. Wilson was convinced he’d resume drinking unless he was actively persuading other drunks to become like him — sober, but also compelled to help other drunks become sober. It began as a simple, pyramid scheme to build a network of drunks policing, comforting, and redeeming other drunks, but it soon took on grand dimensions with enormous political and social significance. Dr. Bob, similiarly infatuated with addictive pleasures, found Mr. Wilson’s proposal curiously attractive. Before long, he became the first substance abuse counselor, as the medical director of a 12-step addiction treatment program he initiated at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron. He was the original “two-hatter,” engaged in a dual relationship with his addicted patients, recruiting them into his own nascent religious cult.

Continue reading ‘The Ancestry of Substance Abuse Counseling’

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