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True or false? You can't help an alcoholic that doesn't want help?



True or false? You can't help an alcoholic that doesn't want help?

Old 01-28-2009, 09:52 PM
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True or false? You can't help an alcoholic that doesn't want help?

I try to be positive and I'm usually pretty successful at it, but I'm thinking the answer is - True. My wife and I have a very good, close friend that is about to turn 36 and has been drinking since 16. He was fired from a good job 3 years ago and has been living off a large sum of money he saved and more that he inherited. Plus he's living in his mother's house. He's ashamed that he's not worked for so long and he knows he's alcoholic but he doesn't want to change. Oh sure, he'll say he needs to get his drinking "under control" but you know that doesn't work. He's been getting worse and worse. The longer he goes without work the less people he talks too because he can't answer the "what have you been up to?" question any more. He used to have dozens and dozens of friends.

I notice how bad he is more now that I'm 6 months sober myself, but it's not just that. He's worse. We're both worried that he's going to pay one of the ultimate prices. Death. DUI. Jail.

To compound the issue, my wife is bipolar or very close to it, and we've been having marriage issues for about 18 months. Our friend, let's call him Greg, has been one of very few people that she can turn too for a sounding board and it has helped her through a very rough time. Now, he's the opposite. There is nothing going on between them, that's not the issue. He is letting her down now, doesn't remember conversations or entire days etc. etc. Just when she and I are making some progress, his situation sends her off into depression.

Greg is/was very intelligent, caring, giving, can fix almost anything mechanical and was somewhat of a local freelance unpaid therapist. People come to him for advice all the time.....well they used to be able to on any given day up until the time of night/day when he got "too drunk". Now no one bothers. He buys Captain Morgan by the gallon regularly.

Anyway, I'm off track here. It's bad. He's bad. He knows it. But doesn't want to change. Do we just wait to be there to help pick up the pieces? Can we help him bottom out quickly without dying if that's what it's going to take? We could abandon him and he'd keep drinking so I don't think we're the enablers. Only see him once a week at the very most.

Any ideas or advice? Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:16 AM
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"But he doesn't want to change." - end. of. story.

Until HE is willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES, he will be his own victim.

You now have the choice of being accessory victims, as well. You are already spending heavily in attention and emotion into HIS sickness, how far are you going to go down this path?

Alanon is a great place to sort out the confusion of alcoholism's collateral damage.

EVERY person here, and in Alanon, knows a "great person" who IF ONLY....

And we all have to come to terms with the concept of:

WE didn't cause THEIR alcoholism, nor make their choices.
WE cannot control THEIR alcoholism or their choices.
WE cannot cure it.
THEY can choose to spiral downward, until the end, or THEY can choose to recover themselves when THEY choose to DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to be in active recovery.

Trite, but true. How long you bang your head against the wall of these truths is up to you. We've all been there, and welcome you here for support.

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:19 AM
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Welcome joinedintime,

First off, congrats on 6 months sobriety... that is awesome..

Just like you, your friend has to be the one that stops drinking and make the decision to change his life...

You can be there to support him in recovery but not his addiction.. I know it's sad to watch someone you care about destroy themselves with an addiction but if you are not careful their addiction can destroy you in the process..

It's bad. He's bad. He knows it. But doesn't want to change
I think you said it best yourself... he doesn't want to change..and until he does there is nothing anyone can do to help him..

I know you are a recovering A but have you thought about attending some alanon meetings as well? You will gain a lot of insight there in how to help yourself detatch from your friends problems and to put the focus back on yourself and your sobriety...

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our addicts is to let them fall..
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:18 AM
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joinedintime, Absolutely True, if he doesn't want help or to change....there's not a thing you can do. Being there as support when he does decide is different.

My AD is also bi-polar...and has one friend who is also bi-polar & a recovering addict....I know that sometimes she feels he is the only person that can understand. However, in our area.....there is a support group for those that are bi-polar and their families. Meetings just like AA, Al-Anon, etc.....we went to a few......they discuss meds, jobs, what's going on in their lives, etc. That might be something for you & your wife to look into.

And by the way...Congratulations on your sobriety....Great Job!!

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Old 01-29-2009, 07:16 AM
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Unfortunately there is NOTHING you can do until he is willing to change his alchohol adiction for HIMSELF!
You will just have to sit back, detatch, and be there for him as a friend once he decides he wants help.
Sometimes people need to get worse before they get better.
Try not to enable him if you can, and just be there as an ear if he needs it.
A guy i know through my brother is an alchoholic who doesn't work, and has lost his marriage, his family and is still drinking. He's in very bad health, but we know there is nothing we can do.

Just hang in there.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:11 AM
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I know that's how it was for me. If I didn't decide that I couldn't live with the results of what I was doing and that I needed to change, then I don't think others could have made me change.

I opened this thread in this section of SR because I thought that if there was something I was missing this group would be the most likely to know.

I opened the thread with this line because I figured there wasn't some magic trick.

Originally Posted by joinedintime View Post
I try to be positive and I'm usually pretty successful at it, but I'm thinking the answer is - True.
I am happy that I did though, because the support is good. I do appreciate it. Anyone else with input is more than welcome.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:26 AM
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Joined - Congratulations to you. We all love hearing about people working their recovery.

keep working your recovery and who knows maybe he'll see how your life is changing for the better and want to feel that way too. If he makes your own recovery hard then please reconsider how much contact you should have.

As for your wife, that's got to be hard for her to loose someone she relies on. One thing believe strongly in is never taking advice from someone who isnt more knowledgeable on a subject than me. We can share and get ideas when we're going through similar things together but if someone else isnt willing to work on themselves then i would be hesitant because their advice might not be too sound. My ex is an alcoholic, abandoned his son, has no job, no driver's license, lives off his gf and he's always trying to give me (and everyone else) parenting advice. no thank you.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:29 AM
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You can't make anyone change about anything, actually. but in the case of addiction, interventions sometimes work. You could look into that. It must be done with a professional CAC in charge (certified addictions counselor) or (trust me; I tried) you'll screw it up royally if you try yourself without training or support or anything.

Or you could detach with love and do nothing but pray. I

'm not opposed to interventions or anything that might work as long as everyone knows there are no gaurantees.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:50 AM
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I didn't read thru all of the responses

He's lucky he's got a caring friend like you. Catch him in a sober moment and have a talk with him. Open him up to the idea of seeking help. Tell him how much you care for him etc.

You might have to even distance yourself from him if, you're staying sober lest, he drag you down as well.

Nothing worse for a drunk to hear, he's got a problem with his drinking. Don't talk to him in a demeaning way.

I always joke around about AA is like playing country music backward, you get your lic. back, you get you wife back, your job back etc.

It's heart wrenching to watch those you love go down this road.

Offer to take him to a meeting, you just never know

Sad he has money, stops him from hitting his bottom as quick
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:53 AM
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I am an alcoholic... Family member's and friend's could have talked a blue streak. I didn't change until I wanted too.
My sister just lost her son due to drinking and there is nothing any of us could have done to stop her from drinking or using. Hopefully this is her bottom - but that's up to her.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:12 AM
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Early in my own sobriety, I was really hyped up about saving the still suffering alcoholic.

What I've learned is when an airplane is in trouble and the oxygen mask drops down in front of you to put it on you, there's a reason for that! I don't hand it to the next person!

Continue to do the work you need to do on your own recovery, and congratulations on your hard-earned six months!
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:59 PM
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Your post just reminded me of my sister. She has the same history as your friend but has been drinking for 20yrs now. Over the years she has become worse & worse. Over these years nothing you could say would stop this horrible addiction. She has lost everything!
I did the same, was there for her, went away from her, helped her again, stayed away again and now I really dont know whether she will every want to stop.
To keep my sanity, I have to keep my distance otherwise this just encourages her bad behaviour.
True, you wont stop him drinking but I believe just letting him know that he will have someone to go to if needed, is good.
If I call my sister to see if shes ok, she cries, because she cant believe I still care. (thats what she calls it). I will always care and it kills me to see what she has become. I accept it is her life but to be honest I find it difficult to accept she may die, therefore, I let her know I love her.
Be there in spirit for your friend but I would advise not to assist financially or otherwise.
Best Wishes JJ
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:13 PM
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I'm sorry but your friend is going to go where he wants to go. I would express my concerns, but sadly you need to let go and work on below:

Originally Posted by joinedintime View Post
and we've been having marriage issues for about 18 months.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:35 PM
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I know.
You are right.
However, I am working on the marriage in many many ways. This thread is actually one of those (small) ways but, unfortunately, I don't have the energy to explain how right now.
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:06 AM
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In the end even if they want help, we still can't help them...we can though always help ourselves.
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Old 01-30-2009, 11:24 AM
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We can help them by supporting their recovery right? If they accept the help and want to recover.

Are you saying it's 100% on them?
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Old 01-30-2009, 11:32 AM
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Yes, it is 100% their choice. IMO, if the addict/alcoholic decides they want recovery & needs a ride to meetings, or something of that nature, I would most definitedly be there for them.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:14 PM
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When I said "we can help them by supporting their recovery, right?" I was disagreeing with this comment:

In the end even if they want help, we still can't help them...
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:45 AM
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Pray for him. Live the example. Stay in the solution. Pray again.

Thats the only thing that has consistently worked for me.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:07 AM
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Interventions are a way to help them find their "bottom" before things get worse. They sometimes work. I'll 2nd what has been said about getting a professional to do this. However, even with the best intervention, by the best interventionist, will not work if the A is not ready to help themself.
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