Can alcoholics ever drink?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by ColleenB, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    So son has been living out for a few months now and except for a very scary week in September has appeared sober.

    He wanted to attend a family wedding with us and his grandmother, we just lost his grandfather two weeks prior, so we were driving all four of us.

    Son told me he would have some drinks and I asked how he could handle that given his addiction? He claims moderation is possible and that abstinence doesn't work for him.... huh? I was a nervous wreck the entire wedding. So was his father. He drank probably six or more beer plus wine at the table. He drank it like water and kept filling up.... ugh. It was embarrassing.

    He was obviously drunk. No moderation.

    He passed out in our vehicle on way home and we dropped him at his apartment. I texted him today but he says he is doing school work.

    I don't think what I saw was moderation. Two beers and a glass of wine .... maybe. But he couldn't stop.

    I am totally embarrassed as that side of the family didn't know but I'm sure they do now. I honestly felt humiliated.

    I know it's not that big a deal compared to what we have gone through with him in past but it just made me realize he isn't even close to any kind of long term recovery and doesn't have the ability to see this. He said that he used to drink 24 beers so that was "nothing". Ugh!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No. Alcoholics cant drink at all and still be in control of the substance they are addicted to. The substsnce eill take over.

    Some alcoholics like to claim they can suddenly control if, but they have obvious reasons.
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  3. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    This is where I feel the pool truly devides. There are dependent people and alcoholics or addicts.

    When someone has been dependent on a substance and says it was starting to have negative effects on me. I just stopped or I cut way back it was no problem for me.

    This is someone who was dependent and abusing a substance. Not an addiction per se.

    Addiction is lack of self control as in drinking to excess with no control. Dragging eith no control to stop.

    I like the 4 Cs of addiction as the best definition.

    simple way of describing addiction is the presence of the 4 Cs:

    • craving
    • loss of control of amount or frequency of use
    • compulsion to use
    • use despite consequences.
    This could be substance, or any other addiction Gambling, Porrn....

    It is the use despite consequences that creates rhe true final factor in addiction. People who were dependent and stopped could control the craving, the compulsion, keep use under control and due to negative consequences stopped or reduced their use. Addicts can not do this, not in. Their own. Their illness prevents them from being able to manage to control any use of their doctor or other vice.

    This is what makes me so very angery when people say why don’t they just stop. Often attached to a story of “someone” they know who did his that, simply stopped.

    This is why harm reduction may work for a dependent person and will never work for the addict. There is no sick thing as just a little for an addict. They can not control their compulsion or craving.

    CB the indication that your son drinks and was pouring and drinking wine like water this is very telling. Not drinking to be social or savor the palate of the wine. Just driven to consume.

    Screw the family no one has a right to Judge him or put. If he had diabetes and had a diabetic episode would they be judgy then?? It’s a disease. A very unfortunate one that people lack compassion and understanding for.

    Remember we see it and it breaks our hearts. We Don’t cause it, we can’t cure it and we can not control it.

    I wish you had a better time at the wedding.
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  4. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    Sadly... my husband's father who just passed away was a recovered alcoholic and a few people at the wedding told my husband how his father helped them in AA, as a few other relatives are recovered alcoholics also. This is the thing that makes me crazy.... it is so common in his family and here we are watching it happen in our son. I don't know if I can stay sane watching it all unfold. Last night really made me realize he has no control.

    He even went to a meeting last week. Is must be in denial about the severity of his own addiction .
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  5. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Yes definitely struggling with the reality and severity. Abstinence is a very difficult reality for young people.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Addiction is physical craving. Dependence is using something to blunt life without physical addiction.

    When I first met my husbsnd he was lonely and not very happy and drank a ton. One night shortly after we met he got drunk and I was so disgusted i told him if he was going to get drunk he needed somebody else. I went home.

    He never drank again, even though I have told him I dont care if he has a beer. On the other hand he had a drinking buddy who is an alcoholic. Every time he would try to stop he would get the DTs. He also almost died of alcohol poisenig but didnt stop. Alcohol ruined his job and family...wife left.

    Even though it is hard to stop, it is done all the time and there is medical help to make it safe. And if they want to stop, they will.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't think that you truly grasp the definition of dependence vs addiction. Addiction is using without control. It is generally a psychological state and it has a physical component also. If you are addicted, you are unable to use the substance in any quantity. If you use the substance, you will use it to excess. There simply is no moderation. You are able to go without, but you are not able to use in moderation.

    Dependence is often called physical dependence. That is when you use a substance to the point that you have physical symptoms if you don't use it, but you are not psychologically addicted to it. You require a certain amount of the substance to not have symptoms of withdrawal, but you don't have to use it until you are drunk/stoned. I am in pain management due to a number of health problems and an allergy to NSAIDS that is life threatening. I take the same amount of my medication every day. If I don't have my medication, I experience physical symptoms of withdrawal. I don't have to take all of the medication prescribed for a month in a single day the way an addict would. My ex sister in law is an addict. She managed to get doctors to prescribe pain medication at various times and her medication NEVER managed to last until the next time it was to be prescribed. Not even when my brother kept it locked in a safe in his vehicle when they were married. She would be out of medication in 2-3 days or less. Does that illustrate the difference?

    Your son is an alcoholic. He cannot drink in moderation. I would not take him to events where there will be drinking if his behavior will embarrass you. Be honest about why you won't take him. The shame belongs to him, not to you. You should not take him with you to embarrass you, and you should let him know why. Many people go to AA meetings while they are drinking, some even while they are drunk. Hopefully they will become honest with themselves at some point and live by the program. That is up to them though. You cannot fix anyone but yourself.
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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Susie, you really nailed it. Thank you.

    I think it is best for us not to drink around beloved alcoholics. It gives them the excuse, "YOU did it." They often refuse at times to admit they can not drink when others can. It is hard for them to buy it so they drink too.
  9. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I do understand the difference between addiction and dependence. I was just sharing what he said. I knew that moderation would be impossible for him... hence why I was anxious the entire event. When he told me he could just have a few my anxiety went through the roof as I knew how the event would play out. I was simply sharing my experience of the evening. I am also aware he is an alcoholic.

    I was not aware he would drink until the event as he had been sober and going to meetings.

    In the future I will be more clear with him prior to the event as to avoid this scenario.

    Thank you to those of you who "get it" and know it was me just needing to vent and find support when these things happen.... as we know they do.

    Today is a new day a new week.....
  10. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    One day at a time dear CB. I struggled so very much realizing through my own denial that my son is an addict not just dependent. It breaks my heart to see him right now. As he is laying in my back yard huddled under a dirty canvas sheet. I don’t have the strength to tell him to leave or call the police.

    We do not cause this and we can’t control this. As much as we try and as much as we carefully plan.

    One day at a time....a new day...a new week. Thinking of you today.
  11. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Colleen. Vent on please. Your experience always makes me feel less alone, I get it. Now you have learned a new truth, you don't want to take him where alcohol will flow because he can't handle it. He can't.....and you shouldn't have to go through watching that. It's ok for him to know his action had these consequences.

    Last year, after my mother in laws funeral forty+ people were in her house (her kids,grands and greats) all choosing momentos and pictures and things to cherish before the rest was donated.
  12. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    (sorry not done!) My son in the kitchen drinking wine straight out of fridge. Really? That one's burned in my memory. This is so hard.
    Prayers to you today, many times I ask when this ever will be over? But I'm afraid "over" might be the end, I just want him better. Hang on to that shred of hope, it's all we've got.
    LBL- thinking also of you this morning. Hold tight. Wagons are circled around you both.
  13. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

  14. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I agree with all of this.

    I feel bad that my son can never just enjoy a beer. I hate beer but I just want him to not be an addict.

    I know that doesn't mean his life can't be happy, rewarding and full. Just saying.
  15. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I have known alcoholics who were able to drink in moderation for a while, but then had a full relapse. It's too much of a risk for them to drink at all.
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  16. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry that YOUR enjoyment of the event was ruined. Alcoholics/ Addicts are so focused on their needs that they are literally blind to the pain they cause.

    I would consider leaving him out of any future celebrations. Just my 2 cents.
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I agree with leaving him out of future celebrations. I am also sorry for your embarassment, and for the others who had to endure his behavior.

    On the subject of addiction vs. dependence, I have two things to say. One, for a year and a half after my husband died, i drank (for me) heavily. I got up to 3-4 beers a night. One night, I realized I was heading for trouble and just quit. I had a worsening of anxiety for a couple of weeks and then dropped back to my usual level of anxiety. I didn't drink at all for a few years, and now joke about placing my yearly order for craft brewed meads and ciders (6 500ml bottles. I use wine bottle stoppers, as a half liter of strong cider or mead would floor me.) My mother was a heavy drinker who also was able to quit and can drink very occasionally like me. My sister is an alcoholic who once she starts, doesn't stop until she either passes out or there is no more left to drink. My maternal grandfather was an alcoholic who went into rehab in the 70's. He succeeded due to his aspie rigidity. Once he made a decision, that was IT. However, being a rabbi, wine was sort of unavoidable. He found a company in Israel that made grape juice Kosher for sacramental use, and for many years nobody knew that the rabbi's fancy cup had grape juice and not wine in it. I also have a cousin who became dependent and was able to quit and only drink moderately and occasionally. It's definitely genetic on my mother's side. Interestingly, on my father's side, where the bipolar comes from, they're all teetotalers, except for religious occasions that require wine.
  18. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Great comparisons. It is insightful and helps me recognize that my son simply can’t just stop.
  19. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I would have to say that both alcoholism and the tendency toward AODA dependency run in my family. I'm dependent on benzos, have increased the dose 2x in 13 years. I take one for sleeping and one for anxiety. I was put on them in 2004 by a psychiatrist who disregarded prescribing recommendations and kept me on them long term. I don't get high off of them, but at my age, and with as long as I've been on them, psychiatrists after that doctor have all felt it better to keep me on the benzos, as opposed to put me through the high medical risks of withdrawing me. The difference between me with a dependency on benzos and someone addicted to benzos is that I don't seek out the high. I don't blackout, I don't take more than prescribed, etc. But, I am definitely physically dependent. When I was rushed into emergency surgery in 2005, the hospitalist in charge of my care didn't "believe in benzos" so wouldn't allow me to have them. I had 2 days of horrific hallucinations and paranoia, and then a grand mal seizure. They sent in a neurologist. When he found out I'd been on benzos for over a year, he had a cow...and ordered the medications for me, starting off with an IV of Valium to prevent any other seizures, until they could get the correct medications in iv form.
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  20. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Prescribing and monitoring of many drugs is sorely lacking.