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advocacy or not?

Old 11-26-2011, 06:50 AM
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advocacy or not?

Hiya,

So AH asked for my help in getting into detox. At first I was like, "Yeah, you don't seem to have trouble getting into the pub--if you really want to check into a detox programme you'll do so."

But having spoken with him today it does in fact sound as though he's not getting access to care, after having reached out for it. He's gone to see his counsellor Tony for the last three weeks and each week he's said he wants to stop drinking and he's asked for medically supervised detox. (Given his health history and the length of this current binge, he fears a heart-attack if he does his usual cold-turkey overnight detox.)

From what AH said, his counsellor has told him he has to fulfill certain requirements before he can get into NHS detox. Keeping a drinking diary, getting blood tests, maybe something else... AH wrote a list for himself but lost it--evidently he asked counsellor to text him with reminder of what's needed but AH hasn't heard back.

AH is telling me the truth here, we can take that as a given. Even when drunk he's honest to a fault. So it may be parital or second-hand information I'm getting here, but it's accurate.

These requirements, like keeping a detailed diary, seem incompatible with heavy intoxication. AH can barely hold a pencil now, and for some reason his eyes have swelled nearly shut with all the alcohol. I actually found myself agreeing that it seemed weird that AH was asking for help and then being sent away with a bunch of conditions to fulfill, and no support for same.

So I've written an email to his counsellor asking him to email AH a list of things AH has to do before he can be admitted into detox. I've told AH that's all I'm going to do and that he will need to follow up.

Anyone else experience this? I always thought that if a drunk person showed up to an appointment with an addictions specialist and said they wanted to get into detox--they'd, I don't know, get admitted to detox?
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:05 AM
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Don't think this would happen in the US. I can't imagine any facility turning this request down. What about just showing up at the ER intoxicated and telling them that detox is required? I think I would look for a new addictioons specialist. Sounds like this one might want to prolong visits to keep getting their fee.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by akrasia View Post
Hiya,

So AH asked for my help in getting into detox. At first I was like, "Yeah, you don't seem to have trouble getting into the pub--if you really want to check into a detox programme you'll do so."

But having spoken with him today it does in fact sound as though he's not getting access to care, after having reached out for it. He's gone to see his counsellor Tony for the last three weeks and each week he's said he wants to stop drinking and he's asked for medically supervised detox. (Given his health history and the length of this current binge, he fears a heart-attack if he does his usual cold-turkey overnight detox.)

From what AH said, his counsellor has told him he has to fulfill certain requirements before he can get into NHS detox. Keeping a drinking diary, getting blood tests, maybe something else... AH wrote a list for himself but lost it--evidently he asked counsellor to text him with reminder of what's needed but AH hasn't heard back.

AH is telling me the truth here, we can take that as a given. Even when drunk he's honest to a fault. So it may be parital or second-hand information I'm getting here, but it's accurate.

These requirements, like keeping a detailed diary, seem incompatible with heavy intoxication. AH can barely hold a pencil now, and for some reason his eyes have swelled nearly shut with all the alcohol. I actually found myself agreeing that it seemed weird that AH was asking for help and then being sent away with a bunch of conditions to fulfill, and no support for same.

So I've written an email to his counsellor asking him to email AH a list of things AH has to do before he can be admitted into detox. I've told AH that's all I'm going to do and that he will need to follow up.

Anyone else experience this? I always thought that if a drunk person showed up to an appointment with an addictions specialist and said they wanted to get into detox--they'd, I don't know, get admitted to detox?
That is very strange... I second the call for the ER... if you say chest pains in the US you immediately get help stat to avoid a future lawsuit if you die because of neglect. When my RA was still drinking and would detox here in the states he knew the drill and would tell them he had chest pains (he really did but they were anxiety produced) and that always starts a flurry of activity and lots of observation.

I don't know if the ER there would take him for detox alone... can you call them and ask?

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:39 AM
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In fact the referral to this addictions specialist came from a visit to the ER (A and E they call it here).

I just got an email back from the addictions counsellor, who said that he'd asked AH to go to GP (what's that in US, PCP?) to get a general health review and a liver function test before the detox. In his email, counsellor asked me to help arrange that. I said I'd help AH telephone our health centre Monday morning to arrange this.

Of course I was thinking--okay, why couldn't counsellor call GP and arrange this? While AH was sitting there in the health centre with him on Friday? AH said he'd wondered about that too.

My experience with NHS has been absolutely wonderful to date--really top-notch care. Don't know why they're making such a rigmarole out of this.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:01 AM
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So I'm feeling all mad and anxious about this so I've devised a plan for Monday morning: I'm going to stop into our health centre with AH. I'll bring a print-out of the email from addictions specialist, and I'll help arrange the health review and liver function test as required.

Hopefully it will be great, they'll schedule it all, we'll be sorted, moving on to detox.

If they give me any grief or weird delays or act like they don't know what I'm talking about, then I'm going to send a prissy lawyery email to the addictions counsellor citing "duty of care" and say that I expect the addictions counsellor to take care of arranging these appointments and any other needed care by x date so that AH can access the detox treatment he's been requesting for nearly the past month.

So much for not getting enmeshed.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:11 AM
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sounds like a good plan ... and a heathy perspective.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:25 AM
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Hi Akrasia,

I am only going on my experience with NHS,and Detox, they dont work the same as in US,In England,they the A has to keep a diary,(because they lie about their drinking and amounts) if you take him to A+E, (as again my experience) they will send him away.Also you will have to pay 000's for Detox,but again you could pay for all that and he may discharge himself after ? 2 days and your money will be wasted(he may not too,it could be a chance, that he may stay)- they will take him in to A+E if the police take him there,or someone finds him unconcious,In my experience is that to get him to Dr's,to someone who is experienced in the disease!,
For what its worth in my humble opinion is to ring the National-Help Line of AA ,you could talk with someone from there,they will let you know what all the ins and outs of Detox's,(they though will not speak to him unless he rings them personally himself)-as they say when he reaches his rock-bottom or is so sick and tired of being sick and tired he will ask them for help !
Thats the way it works in England and seeing it first hand here too.

I for myself I had to get to Al-anon,I had to do something about the insanity going on in my life

Sending you all best wishes
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:08 AM
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I know we always 'suggest' that the A do all the work.

However, with that being said, I have many friends in your country and they have all been reporting how DIFFICULT it has become to get care for an alcoholic and/or addict. Seems both have been on the rise, and your health care system just can't help them all and are using 'excuses' (or whatever) to keep them hanging.

In your case, I say go for it. In my experiences, even here with our health care system, there is nothing like an "on the warpath" female to get them 'moving.' You go girl!!!!!!!!!!! What you are describing of your H's physical condition is not good at all and he definitely needs medical care and medical detox.

Remember, we are walking with you in spirit.

Love and hugs,
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for the kind responses. This is all so strange. It's an interesting contrast: back when AH had an eye surgery, I was blown away by the kindness and professionalism of everyone involved. I mean, the surgeon came in on a Sunday morning when there was a slight complication with the healing.

That was when he was all sober and charming.

And now this. It's clear that the annoying drunk is getting the brush-off.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:53 AM
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My experience with NHS has been absolutely wonderful to date--really top-notch care. Don't know why they're making such a rigmarole out of this.
If it is anything like publicly funded detox centers in Sweden, they will raise the bar for getting "accepted" as they run out of funding. I had an ex-boyfriend who was in a similar situation -- he couldn't keep the information they needed in order to determine whether he fulfilled the qualifications to get admitted. He made a half-hearted suicide attempt, and that got him into a mental health facility from which he got funneled into drug rehab.

I'm really sorry he's having such a hard time getting the help now that he's decided he wants it.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:23 PM
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I hope all goes well for you Akrasia,and that you do find help on this matter.

The US seems to have a better understanding of this disease than here in UK




All prayers and best wishes
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:03 AM
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So here's an update:
He woke this morning with big swollen elephant legs. He says they don't hurt.

We went as recommended to the health centre this morning and he got liver function test. Of course they were like, "So why does he need to see the GP?" I showed them the email print-out from the alcohol counsellor which mentioned that a liver function test plus GP health review was necessary before admission to detox. So they were like, "Um, okay, we'll make an appointment with GP for 11:00 but still not sure what you need..."

So we'll go back there in an hour. In the meantime AH is asking, "So can I go into detox today?" He's desperate to stop drinking but because of his health problems (heart disease), he's been told not to stop on his own.

We don't have a number for his alcohol counsellor. I called the main office for the Alcohol Team for our borough--it's closed today for staff training. I sent counsellor an email and asked him to telephone me.

I looked around on NHS website and on a document I found the mobile number for the head of substance abuse services! I called her and explained that I'd found her number online and was just calling to find out what to do. She said she was driving but very kindly pulled over and spoke to me, or rather listened as I explained where we were up to. I basically said, "So he's asking to go into detox, we're trying to make that happen and hitting these roadblocks--not sure what to do now."

She seemed sort of surprised and asked who his counsellor is. She said she'd look into it and give a call back.

So in a little while I'm going back to the health centre to see the GP, I have printed out the emails from counsellor and also the contact information for the detox team.

AH is in this state where he's barely sentinent and is just repeating, "Please help me out of this." I'm literally leading him into the health centre, up the stairs to the blood test centre, back home, etc.

This is absolutely impossible. One thing that's come of this: if at the end of all this AH goes back to "Yeah, no, it's okay if I have a little beer at a party, don't be so judgemental" then I'm literally just going to block his phone and let him die alone.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:27 AM
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Dear bloody God. GP visit was waste of time, Dr. said he had no involvement with substance abuse but advised AH not to cut down on drinking due to stroke risk. "Getting to detox is a long process..." Got home and there was a message from substance abuse service boss: "Getting to detox is a long process..."

I called her back and said, "Great, so step one in this long process is what?" She basically referred me to counsellor. We don't have a telephone number for counsellor. I told her that AH has been asking for help getting to detox for month, would like some support from getting from A to B. I actually began to get choked up and I apologised, saying I didn't mean to be difficult but I was very concerned for him.

AH has gone to pub. At this point I'm about to become an alcoholic my damn self.

I wrote an email to counsellor, see below, names changed to protect the useless:

Dear Counsellor,

AH and I went to the Town Health Centre this morning for the liver function test and GP review as you requested. AH was asking me to help him get into detox today.

Dr. GP was not sure what we wanted, but recommended that AH not reduce amount he's drinking due to health risks. Otherwise he referred us to [substanse abuse service], he had no notes about treatment process and said he could do nothing about helping AH towards detox. Regarding the liver function test, he said that if it were done this morning the results would be on the system probably by the end of the week. He said he didn't intend to review results, but that [substance abuse service] would do this.

Dr. GP didn't examine AH, I asked about AH's swollen legs and he only mused that it might be due to liver problems. I asked whether I ought to take AH to A&E and Dr. GP said no.

Got a message from Ms. [substance abuse services director] that the next steps in getting AH to detox are:

1. Home visit with me present

2. An unspecified amount of additional counselling sessions.

AH is asking me on a daily basis now to help him stop drinking and get into a medically supervised detox programme. He is also heavily intoxicated and therefore has not been able to arrange on his own the required preliminary tests, diaries, etc.

I believe you mentioned that AH is scheduled for an appointment with yourself this Thursday afternoon at 4:00. Could this be the home visit? If I act now I can arrange things to be home from work that day by 4:00.

Kind regards,

akrasia
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:37 AM
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((((Akrasia))))

Ugh, ugh, ugh!

No advice, just hugs and support!
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:57 AM
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Ha, and just for the heck of it I telephoned the AA advice line and asked whether they had any tips for negotiating the NHS detox system. She listened a bit and then started saying, "Well, you usually go through your GP so I don't know what to tell you! But in any case you ought to refer your husband to AA first of all."

I was like, "Okay, but at the moment I'm trying to help him get into medically supervised detox."

She said, "No, you want to refer him to AA. We take one day at a time and people quit for good after coming through us. You'll have no problems referring him here. You don't need the NHS system at all."

I was like, "Yeah, but at the moment he needs medically supervised detox--"

She said, "See, you don't need NHS at all. One day at a time. Those NHS people just advocate controlled drinking, which is wrong--"

I interrupted her and said, "No, they're working on an abstinence plan, in fact. At the moment I'm trying to help him get into medically supervised detox. I don't understand why you're saying he doesn't need NHS for that. You have your own hospital?"

She said, "See, we go one day at a time."

Readers, I hung up on her.
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:03 AM
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Ha. Just got call from counsellor. He's on a training day but will stop by our house for home visit after 5:00.

Also wanted to know how I got his boss's direct number.

Will take good notes.

Thanks for support.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:15 AM
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Hi Akrasia,

Is he still in the pub ? said he feels okay today !,I thought he was wanting help !

I have to say this,and you may not like it, could be he is distracting you away from his drinking -'keep her busy getting me help' !

The person you spoke to at AA is telling you the truth about detox in this country- they do advocate ,controlled drinking,(they in AA, advocate no drinking at all, and to take it one day at a time- not to project into the future of what may or maynot happen while he is trying to maintain sobriety) still keeping the spouse or partner enmeshed in the drinking issues.,and going by my experience of what I've seen, it is very damaging to family and friends,the A is clock watching for next intake of drink issued by spouse or whoever is watching over them.As one member told me (I was actually perpetuating and helping his.....kill himself c/o drinking addiction)The guilt that person felt was awful,,that person of that member -son/daughter......is now is a long standing member of AA,and did it all their own.


I knew when I reached my rock-bottom-and reached out for help by going to Al-anon.

All my best wishes again- sending you all my ES&H
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:27 AM
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I appreciate your taking the time to respond but your response would be more meaningful if you had a look at what I wrote.

1. You'll note he's actually been medically advised NOT to cut down on drinking, due to health risks, until he can be medically supervised. I mean, I saw and heard the doctor and counsellor say that. That means he is still drinking--incredibly--per doctor's orders. That's sort of the whole issue here.

2. And you'll note that the counselling service with the council is in fact advocating a long-term abstinence programme, which I mention above. They're not at all advocating controlled drinking in the long run.

Regarding being enmeshed: I mean, that's my whole quandary here. I wasn't getting involved at all until AH explained to me that on the one hand his counsellor was telling him not to quit alcohol on his own, but at the same time giving him a lot of tasks to complete before he could be admitted for medically supervised detox. He actually told me that for several weeks in a row before I began to take it seriously.

And even then I didn't quite believe that until I heard it from the counsellor directly. It just seemed too strange. And now the counsellor has in fact asked me to get involved.

Didn't I explain all of that above? Yes, I get that AA has helped people but I'm not going to go against medical advice and risk a stroke/heart attack for my husband because some nutty woman on the AA "help" line tells me to.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:46 AM
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Personally I would stay out of it. He can organize himself enough to find the pub he can find the phone and make his own calls.

I'm in a different country but IME treatment professionals move a lot faster when the person needing treatment is the one seeking it.

Let us know how it goes. It certainly does sound like a frustrating system.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:57 AM
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(((((akrasia)))))

You are doing a GREAT job. I understand your dilemma as usually it is for the A to seek all this.

However, based on your previous posts and his PHYSICAL CONDITION and the RED TAPE of NHS, ABSOLUTELY YES you had to become involved, be it your H or a stranger that is 'human compassion' not enabling in my book.

Now, I understand that "AA" is very different in the UK than here. Maybe they are 'behind the times' in some ways and do NOT REALIZE just how DEADLY detoxing can be.

Hopefully his counselor will be showing up shortly as it is almost 5pm your time now, and can 'pull some strings' to get him into a medical detox. The 'swollen eyes' the 'bloated legs' to be honest are all bad signs. And I M H O if alcohol were abruptly stopped with no medical intervention there would be MAJOR consequences.

Sending good thoughts and prayers across the pond for you and your hubby!!!!!

Lots of love, and bunches of hugs,
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