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Old 12-31-2008, 11:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Can someone stop drinking without help?

If a person has been a drinker for 25+ years and drinks everyday. Can they just quit? Won't they have some sort of withdrawal? He says he is done drinking. Should I be afraid?
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, it can be done. My father quit on his own, without medical intervention of any sort and never drank again. But it can be risky for some alcoholics. Withdrawals may or may not happen. I would watch someone carefully to see if they need medical care.
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm no expert, and I do believe withdrawal effects are different for everyone, but I also know they can be dangerous sometimes.

I'd encourage him to see a doctor for advice on stopping drinking before actually stopping cold turkey, or if he insists on going it alone keep an eye on him and call for help if he looks like he remotely needs it.

I hope he beats it, good luck.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow something positive is that you don't often see alcoholics decide to just give up on their own. If he's really doing it on his own at least this means he's doing it for himself and no one else. That's key in quitting if the alcoholic is driven themself. Really good luck to you!
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It can be done, yes

I did it

Alcohol withdrawals can kill people though, although that's in extreme circumstances

If he starts talking to people who aren't there I'd consider getting help, if he's cranky, that's a good sign

I think the first three days are the critical ones

I wouldn't worry too unduly but I'd keep a weather eye out if he drank a quart or more of hard alcohol a day.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The AS of my BF was admitted to the hospital over the summer because of his alcohol use. He was diagnosed with alcoholic hep., cirrhosis, and jaundice (he was about the color of grey poupon mustard for quite some time). He was given a 50/50 shot of surviving the hep., of his liver improving enough to NOT have a transplant, and of surviving the DTs he went through. The DTs involved paranoid visual hallucinations including giant spiders, FBI agents everywhere, TV shows playing on the wall that have not been on the air for years (i.e. In Living Color).

If you believe that your A is hallucinating, please call an ambulance.

You have my best wishes and prayers. :praying
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sue,

Is he actually saying he's going to try this, or are you just researching the possibilities? Just curious. Lots of good advice here
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd like to add that even if he does stops drinking, that is not the same as entering recovery. My father, as I said, upped and quit drinking one day (after he fell and broke his ankle walking out of abr) and never drank again (20+ years til he died). BUT he never entered recovery and retained many of the same behaviors he exhibited while an active alcoholic.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How much did you dad drink those 25 + years everyday? Yes people can do what they have there minds to. Find out from a doctor what you can expect and what are the signs that he needs medical help.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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He told me he is just going to quit. I think the Alanon meeting freaked him out. I told him right before I left the house and he was packing his bags. When he got home today from work the story was different. I still am going to go back to the meetings and I am still going to be leaving. I don't think the alcohol is the only problem with him. I guess I will find out soon enough!
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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wooforever, In my case my ah is the 25+ year drinker. Anywhere from 6 to 24 in a night. I wonder if all that is in his system will carry him for a few days? I really think he needs medical help but he is not willing to go that route. Also, he has history in his family and I think that plays a big part in a lot of his problem. I also think he may be suicidal. I know he told me he could do that and I will call a place to come and get him if he does it again.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes people can do what they have there minds to.
Not Alcoholics

That's what makes it a disease, and that's the difference between "Heavy drinkers" and Alcoholics, is alcoholics can't stop and stay stopped when they try generally speaking. That's why they have programs and AA and stuff. They can go into recovery, but not quit using "will power" it just doesn't work. Alcoholics have a "strange mental twist" where they don't remember even yesterday when it comes to drinking.

We can get help, but "putting our minds to it" is a bad idea since it's "our minds" that make us drink in the first place.

Might seem to be semantics, and I truly apologize, but I felt it was important enough to say something about it.

sorry to "hijack" it's just not true in my experience, I mean it happens sometimes, but cancer miraculously goes into remission sometimes.
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Old 12-31-2008, 07:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I believe that plenty of people quit on their own. We usually don't hear about them precisely because they don't join any group or get counted as some statistic. Others can't. They need help. Not that one way is "wrong" or the other is "right." It simply depends on what works for the individual.

None of that really matters to YOU, however. What matters to you is what will you do IF he is successful? What will you do if he is not? What will you do about your life, independent of what he decides to do with his?

The feeling I get from this post is "give me hope, tell me what he is doing will work." No one can tell you if he will get sober or not. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. The question you must ask yourself is what will YOU do either way. He will do whatever he will do. What will you do?

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Old 12-31-2008, 08:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yes, they can. When I finally reached my end and KNEW I was going to die if I kept drinking and I KNEW I was going to die if I tried to stop, I wanted to die sober. I put the cap back on the bottle, there was maybe 3 or 4 swigs left in the bottle, we found it several weeks later in the back seat of my car.

That was at 4:30pm on a Sunday afternoon. At 8:00am the next morning I somehow managed to drive that piece of chit vehicle to Olive View Hospital, in Van Nuys, walk into the ER and tell them I was an alcoholic, hadn't had a drink since 4:30 the previous afternoon and something was terribly wrong.

I know this part of it, because at about a year sober I went to talk to them and get my medical chart. The gal who was on the desk was there. She said, I was green, literally, and that she pointed to a chair about 4 feet from the desk, and was hitting the 'hot' button under the desk. I didn't make it to the chair, I went into massive seizures on the floor in front of her desk. I didn't become really aware again until about 6pm that evening, when I came to in a hospital bed on the medical floor.

Turns out my BAC was .38 and my body NEEDED more alcohol. All day they tried to control the seizures. All day they had to keep restarting my heart and at 4:28pm on Monday June 8, 1981, 24 hours after I stopped drinking, the Dr was putting the TOD on my medical chart after I had been down for almost 30 minutes from the last heart stoppage. My heart started on its own.

Yes, I was given a second chance. He may not. I tell you this, because you telling him you were going to Alanon scared him enough for him to start QUACKING, or he is serious. If he is serious, and you see 'changes' of any kind in his physical person, CALL 911.

Detoxing is NOT something to be taken lightly and yes people do die from it.

J M H O

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Old 12-31-2008, 09:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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((lost sue)) My AH had been a heavy drinker for 20 years and quit for 3 weeks without the serious side effects. He did it as a response to me telling him I was leaving him. My boundary is that I never want to see him drunk again and no alcohol in the home. He has not been drunk for nearly 2 months which I have never seen in the 8 years I have known him. He is still drinking maybe 2 beers a week (I'm unsure because I really don't want to monitor it). I don't know if this is how it will be for the rest of our lives or if it will be a matter of time before the slide downwards occurs. But I think the healthy way for me to approach it is to enjoy this period. Even if he was to do recovery the way I think he should ie. AA and abstain completely, there still is a chance that he could relapse so I really want to let go of the worry.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Alcohol is the one drug that can be fatal during withdrawal. No, heroin does not produce fatal withdrawal symptoms (they just feel like they are going to die). So to answer your question, it depends on many factors as to whether they can quit on their own without help or medical monitoring. The best way to assess this is to have an addiction professional assess them. A person can quit and not have the severe withdrawal if their use was not too great, even if they did drink every day for many years.

I was consuming a fifth of vodka, wiskey or tecquila a day, every day, when I stopped but I went into in patient treatment and I was professionally assessed for risk from withdrawal before I was admitted to the facility. If I was a great medical risk they would have diverted me to a detox center first, then admitted me.

The other important issue is underlying medical conditions of this person. Especially if they have any cardiac or pulmonary medical conditions. Alcohol withdrawal can be particularly deadly with these conditions present.

Caveat: it is easy to stop. The problem is not starting again. That is the difference between recovery and mere abstinence.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by laurie6781 View Post
Detoxing is NOT something to be taken lightly and yes people do die from it.
Very true. Alcohol detox is approximately 7 times more deadly than opiate detox. Death from untreated DTs - delirium tremens - occurs in over 1/3rd of alcoholics that get that far.

Google this info, it is readily available.

Please show him this post, it may make a difference in his attitude.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:38 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lost sue View Post
If a person has been a drinker for 25+ years and drinks everyday. Can they just quit? Won't they have some sort of withdrawal? He says he is done drinking. Should I be afraid?
Hi
my aw stopped on her own last year no dr no counseling etc.it can be done!
The problem is that all the reasons for drinking were still there,so when the "3 month" difficult time came around she started drinking again as her only help!
One year later she stops again and we/she have surrounded her with advisors, medication, and a doctor willing to listen,today she is three months sober again and is having a really hard time of it despite all these things!
She "only" drank for 6 years so maybe this doesn't help you ?But good luck if
he goes for it!
Take care
N.Walker
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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This last post abundantly demonstrates why so many here and all over the world have found success in long term recovery, not mere abstinence, from active mood altering substance addiction, by using a recovery program every day, every year of recovery. As I previously stated, yes, you may be able to stop, but you can't avoid re-starting the use of the substance without a recovery program to use every day. For me it is the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous and a very strong spiritual program.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:16 AM   #20 (permalink)
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And this entire thread demonstrates to me how insidious codependency can be. ONE alcoholic SAYS he's gonna quit. Doesn't even DO anything yet and all the focus goes to HIM. For all we know he is only QUACKING.

Yes, withdrawals, seizures, DT's can all be deadly. Yes, you should call 911 if anything goes wrong. But (I thought) this board is for helping Friends and Family.

I'll ask again. Sue, what are you going to do for YOU in all this?

L
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