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Alcohol is such a shitty drug. My father was an alcoholic and gave it up for the last twenty years of his life. My mother drank every day, often in the mornings,she'd never get drunk though, until recently and only stopped because she is now in a home at ninety six. She was a nasty mean woman most of her life and I believe the grog was a big part of that.
I hate alcohol.
The LW girlfriend has a disease, it is chronic, it is tough to fight, and it will shorten the girlfriend's life unless she address right now. The girlfriend has the disease of addiction. Drinking in moderation doesn't work, given they still can't control their intake of alcohol. Their behavior changes because alcohol is a powerful depressant.
The best way to deal with their disease is abstinence, which is still difficult, given an addict has to learn new skill sets to deal with it. There have been studies and treatments of using Naltrexone, a narcotic antagonist, that blocks receptors and allegedly blocks craving for ethyl alcohol.. AA is a good social network, but it still has close to a 90% recidivism rate, but the girlfriend should stop drinking alcohol immediately, get some treatment and a plan to deal with this serious chronic issue. Moderate Drinking is not working for her.
I dated a woman with an alcohol problem, although I did not know that at the time, and her periods of drinking were corrosive to our relationship. Anger, arguments, and risky behaviors; I found it really untenable to date someone abusing alcohol, let alone contemplate marriage.
LW, and Ms. Leach, should consider how she can create a boundary should her girlfriend kill someone while behind the wheel. Imagine tying your financial future to someone who is risking that legal liability.
@2/Dougsf: Before Dan clarified, I thought risky transportation was accepting rides from men who saw a drunk woman as an easy mark, but drunk driving makes more sense than other possibilities.
Is the GF at the point where she just drinks to black-out drunk 6 times a year?
Regardless of her history with alcohol, if we're at the point where 6 days a year the girlfriend gets black-out drink and LW doesn't want to have sex with her on those evenings.... That could be a very reasonable price of admission. Six nights a year where you're selfish and your SO has to mind their own business until morning is a healthy amount of separation, regardless of reason.
I know several people (including me) who occasionally (a few times a year) get black-out drunk. Nobody drives drunk, some people say some things they wouldn't say when they were sober, and we accept that this person is having a top much to drink evening and they'll get us next time.
If the GF is now capable of limiting her black-out drunk instances so that she's not risking actual harm to herself or others (no DUI, no situations where she's not with friends and liable to become a victim), LW may want to consider how much of this is a real actual problem and how much is turning a different approach to alcohol into a problem.
Certainly, if LW just doesn't like anyone who gets blackout drunk at all, LW can leave. But merely drinking to excess 6 times a year in its own - which may be the present situation - sounds like a situation many people would find unremarkable.
So really isn't the question more like how much improvement does she want and what's the time frame?
"...she loses control and blacks out a minimum of once a month."
There being 12 months in a year, that's at least 12 times per year, and likely more, since LW notes that this is a minimum number and GF travels a lot, i.e., her drinking is not always supervised (and thus counted) by LW. And this drinking is not "merely drinking to excess," as you say, but blacking out, which means retaining no memories once sobriety hits.
Even as someone who quit drinking because I consumed enough to cause measurable damage to my liver, I've blacked out, like, maybe twice in my life. Granted, I'm a 230lb dude, so it's probable that it takes a greater quantity of alcohol to black me out than the described GF, but goddamn, that sounds like a lot of blacking out, even to this old alcoholic.
That said, I'm not as hard DTMFA as errbody else here--just maybe, that professional with training and experience in these things may have something of a point--but again, damn. That's a lot of blacking out.
And I too, speak from experience.
Regardless of how often your girlfriend drinks or blacks out, this is the crux of the issue: you think her drinking is the problem (even with the changes she's made), while she thinks your refusal to engage with her when she's intoxicated with is the problem. Unless the two of you are in the same place regarding what the problem is, it seems mighty unlikely that it will get better.
I had relationships with alcoholics when I was younger. The relationships weren't all bad by any means -- alcoholics can be lovely people! -- but eventually I realized that when you have a partner that abuses alcohol, there are big chunks of time where they are not fully present or accountable for their actions. You're with someone who's only themselves some of the time. Healthy relationships take time and energy, and alcoholics tend to not have much of those things to spare since so much of it gets funneled toward their addiction.
“Moderation management,” as suggested by the guest therapist, is not that strange to some 12 steps. While it’s true that AA requires total abstinence, over eaters or sex addicts need to find their own moderation paths as both food and sex are essential parts of every human life.
She has to mentally monitor her gf, wondering whether this'll be the night when her gf's rationalizations leading to having too much booze for relaxation, stress-reducing, or as a reward, will be the dominant party in the room, pushing WASTED into last place.
I am at a loss with suggestions. I guess I'm lucky I was never in a relationship with anyone who abused booze (or drugs), though heavy use was enough to make me worry and back away. Right now, even WASTED's withdrawal from sex or meaningful conversations with her gf while the booze is in control doesn't seem to be working ... and would most likely be ineffective in penetrating her gf's booze-addled brain, as heavy drinking does kill brain cells.
I firmly believe that alcoholism is something you're born with. Your GF will *always* have that desire to drink, and it'll always be stronger than her ability to act normally. That's luck of the draw. If you aren't built to handle that - and most of us aren't - it's for the best that you separate. Don't hitch your wagon to an anchor, you know?
I wonder how old you were then, and what you were looking for in a partner at the time. When you’re in you 20s and looking for a partner with whom you can have fun and have sex, your relationship needs are pretty minimal. So what if your partner isn’t present all the time, you can hang with friends, and you don’t have shared financial commitments or children to worry about. Whereas when you’re looking for a partner with whom you can build a stable life, including a joint financial future and possibly a family, you’re evaluating a partner on an all together different set of criteria, and you need someone who isn’t checking out a few days a month.
LW sounds like she wants a partner who is present day-to-day, and wants to build a stable life with that person.
For me, one phone call from a nearly incapacitated girlfriend, who was too drunk to tell me her location, whether she was safe, or even if she had any friends or coworkers keeping her safe was enough to convince me that someone who was capable of drinking to a state of incoherence and blacking out wasn’t in a position be the kind of partner I wanted. I think LW is coming to that same realization.
The way I see it, I'm a woman of the 60's/70's and I took full advantage of the times and had a lot of fun and some heartache. What I didn't do is stick it out with a troubled person, and I'm glad. My advice echoes Dan's: RUN! You will never get your need met, LW, and the fact that you're counting the blackouts and doing all this monitoring says to me that you are classically codependent. Spend your energy on engaging with your own issues and learning how to solve or manage them. Again, you'll never get your needs met in this relationship. Save your energy for your own healing.
(caviat: AA is really bad at helping people stop drinking.)
The LW does not agree, and feels hurt by some of the GF’s blackouts affecting their relationship. (The GF forgets drunken hot sex and alcohol-fueled conversations.)
Since only the GF can control the GF’s drinking, the LW has to decide whether (a) to attempt to renegotiate the boundaries in their relationship, or (b) declare it done, dump the GF, and move on. Dan says the latter. I hope we eventually learn what choice each person made.
Note that (a) may lead to (b), especially if GF believes she’s already moderated her drinking enough, and is willing to let the LW walk rather than cut back any further.
Best advice: run away. Far, far away. Leave her and don't look back. Tell her that her drinking is the reason you're leaving if you like (she may come to appreciate that later), but also understand that that will not stop her from casting you as the villain in her own, private little melodrama. Leave her anyway.
If, for some reason, you must stay with her, the only other solution here is boundaries. Brightly drawn, sharply defined, and rigorously enforced.
LW must set the boundaries that he is willing to live with, and then provide GF the option of whether to live within those boundaries or not. Express to her that it is her choices that will determine the outcome.
Whenever GF's drinking lands herself in some situation, LW must not intervene to rescue her. No covering for her. No bailing her out. Complete honesty with third parties like friends, employers, even police officers.
But also no ambiguity either. No going out to the bar with her for "just a drink or two." No ordering a bottle of wine at the restaurant for your anniversary dinner. No keeping a six pack around the house for when you come home at night. You know she can't handle it, so you can't put her in the path of temptation.
If she makes moves towards good decisions (therapy, support groups including AA, rehab, etc.), encourage her, but don't set your hopes terribly high. Above all, recognize that there is little or nothing you can do to help her stop (and certainly not make her stop) other than giving herself the space to do it herself. Which might take decades, if it happens at all.
Best to leave now.
If you want someone to be nice to you don't date someone who is mean. If you want someone employed don't date someone who's happy being jobless.
Not wanting your partner to drink until she blacks out is a perfectly reasonable standard.
If you don't want to leave tell her the relationship won't progress until the blackouts stop. Tell her she has to admit she has a drinking problem and get it under control. No more of this risk reduction crap that doesn't seem to be helping. She's gets sober or she loses you.
You have to stick to this.
For example, one of those partners only consumed the problem substance when a) at home b) around other people she could trust c) not around me, because she knew that it was painful for me. I ultimately still had too much concern to remain in the situation, but she made visible efforts to minimize the risk / impact on me *without me ever requesting that of her*. She didn't ever attempt to travel while intoxicated, even on the level of a bus or Uber. She didn't put herself in situations where she could end up risking my sexual health, having interactions with me that she wouldn't remember later (whether positive or negative), etc. She didn't let herself get that intoxicated around people she didn't know because she was able to recognize that some people you don't know can be dangerous. She also was able to overcome her addiction without causing severe trauma to anyone around her.
I dated another incredibly sweet man who was an alcoholic. Similar situation in the sense that he didn't hang out at bars because he recognized that he wasn't capable of moderate use, planned those nights around not driving and being at home, and didn't text me (or anyone) while drunk.
I still left him because I wasn't capable of handling my concern in a healthy way -- and although the breakup was very painful for both of us, it ultimately inspired him to seek help. Not in an effort to win me back, but because he recognized that he was unlikely to be able to have the kind of emotional involvement & connection he'd ideally want in a relationship when so much of his time was devoted to an activity that made him unable to be present for himself or others.
I think that if a partner with addiction problems is unable / unwilling to avoid situations that introduce additional risks, they're in denial about the extent of their addiction & thus unlikely to be able to ensure both their safety & the safety of their partner. And honestly, breaking up with them could be the thing that is ultimately most likely to help them if it forces them to recognize the extent to which their addiction is hurting the people they love.
I had several people sincerely thank me for ending relationships with them and comment that it contributed to their motivation to address their substance issues... which in turn helped them improve their health, finances, friendships, and many other parts of their life. Obviously they didn't feel that way in the moment in which I ended the relationship, or even shortly thereafter... this is the scale of months, years, etc... but I remember specifically one person commenting that he saw more real love and compassion in my inability to watch him self-harm than he did in the people he dated immediately afterward who were unconcerned because they cared only about whether their own needs were being met in that moment & not about his future.
So, cold and terrible and horrifying though it can feel in that moment, I think that leaving a partner whose behavior is deeply hurting you can sometimes be the most loving thing you can do for them in the long run.
Knowing Dan, I'm surprised he didn't suggest steering the girlfriend towards weed instead of booze. If a person is inclined to abuse substances and to "reward" herself by getting trashed, weed is at least a better choice than alcohol. I've never blacked out or done anything I've regretted as a result of smoking too much cannabis. Or find some other reward -- chocolate cake? Retail therapy?
WASTED is onto at least one thing by refusing to marry her alcoholic girlfriend. If she does that, Girlfriend will have zero incentive to change her ways.
I wish both of them luck.
For the most part we were very happy,. Though his drinking was a Huge pain in the ass at times (he drank A LOT), we never argued about it. Ever. And I'm grateful for that. He did eventually hit his rock bottom and decide to get sober- with AA. When you're ready and serious about getting sober, it's a wonderful support network. He stayed sober for the last 10 years of his life.
So, I guess what I'm saying is - don't marry someone you want to change because it's not fair to either one of you and it will make both of you absolutely miserable. If you can't marry them with full acceptance of who they are, then what is the point? Being married to a practicing alcoholic was not easy, but at least I wasn't trapped in the role of police and judge. I decided his drinking was his issue alone and it made it easier to deal with because it was not my responsibility.
LW, it sounds like you’re not ready to trust the progress she’s made, which is legit. You/she may just need more time for this shift in behavior to harden. But I think you both need to agree on what ‘resolved’ means. She gets drunk only a few times a year? Doesn’t get SO drunk that it’s scary for you? What does success look like?
Alcohol damages the mind and body. You’re talking about a long-term relationship where she will deteriorate mentally and physically much faster than you will. Unless caring for someone who self-destructed is what you want for yourself, take another road.
Also: you don’t have to marry someone to love them. You can break up, wish her well and keep in touch, all while living your own life unhitched to hers.
It's true addicts will often make promise after promise to others only to break them all; sometimes those are cynical lies, but just as often they are making those same promises to themselves only to break them. If she were doing this, there would be a chance it is the latter kind, which would not excuse the behavior but might imply that *if* she ever does manage to get her drinking under control, she might be a decent person to be in a relationship with.
But she's not doing this. There can be no debate whether her remorse is honest or a sham, because she is not expressing remorse. She expects to be praised for hurting her partner just because it is less than she might have hurt her before. She is telling her partner, while sober, that she is doing something wrong for trying to protect herself from being hurt by politely withdrawing when she gets drunk.
I don't at all mean to imply that someone's bad behavior while under the influence is necessarily worth sticking out just because they're not entirely in control of it. But I do mean to imply that *if* you are going to use that reasoning to justify remaining in a relationship with an addict, then you also need to recognize that while addiction may have medical treatment options, just being generally shitty does not. LW's girlfriend is shitty, and the prognosis is not good.
'Harm reduction' is a great idea at the societal level: fewer liquor stores in poor neighborhoods, better health and housing access for drunks and addicts, strong drunk-driving enforcement etc. etc.
At the individual level (e.g. the letter-writers partner) the only harm reduction is NOT DRINKING. It should be obvious to anyone that the woman cannot drink without bad results. Trying to pretend that she's some other kind of creature is a cruel waste of time and effort.
I cannot think of a single alcoholic who hasn't tried, over and over and over, to 'moderate' or 'control' or otherwise drink like a non-alcoholic. The 100% failure of such schemes is perhaps the best way to define an alcoholic. If she could control/moderate she would have done so. She can't, so stop wasting effort on those fantasies.
I wonder whether there are any studies or guidelines regarding how one can switch from a dependence on alcohol to pot instead. Would the highs be similar? Are there any ... er ... "success" stories?
However, even though there is no such thing as overdosing/blacking out on chocolate cake or retail therapy (and Death by Chocolate is just a metaphor), these particular substitutions do have their own risks: intake of too many calories or increasing debt.
And join Al-Anon right away!
Sounds like more retarded, millennial, feel good drivel.
If she doesn’t stop and get help, DTMFA. Even if she does get help, chances are your relationship pattern will be a hindrance to either of you getting better anyways as it’s hard to break dysfunctional habits with the person you made them with.
Well, you could ask Google. There's this: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gq8zk…
And this: https://www.buzzfeed.com/katieherzog/how…
I know a few other ex-drinkers who stick with weed, and claim to be much happier for it.
You're right, every other indulgence has its down sides too, unless she were to take up exercise or something. But when you compare the down sides of getting blackout drunk to gaining a few pounds or a rising credit card balance, it seems a no-brainer.
This could have been me 3 years ago writing in about my then-boyfriend now-husband. He came from a culture of heavy drinking, and since he wasnt a sloppy drunk like some of his friends he didnt see it as a problem. It was a constant source of conflict and pain for us. Threatening to leave him (and him knowing that I dont make empty threats like that), combined with one particularly epic fight caused him to start on the path he needed. It took time; he had to completely change his relationship with alcohol and the way he approached drinking. And it wasnt easy, and required a lot of self awareness and a lack of ego on his part (and patience on mine). He just hadnt had moderation taught or modeled for him. But he is so much more fun to drink with, and be with now. And hes so much happier too.
I have seen people like the LWs girlfriend who party way too hard in a dangerous way but dont drink during the day. They hold a good job, maybe dont even drink every night, and are in all other cases a totally wonderful reasonable person. They arent necessarily physically addicted to alcohol. They just dont know how to stop when they start. My husband was one of them. I have also seen people who are the definition of alcoholics who drink sunrise to sunset and would become life threateningly ill if they didnt have alcohol. Those are the people AA or other abstinence/rehab programs are necessary for.
But for someone who parties too hard, like my husband did and it sounds like the LWs girlfriend does, abstinence doesnt have to be the answer. Moderation is possible, with the right circumstances. So I dont necessarily agree with the advise many are giving "she needs abstinence" here. Maybe she does, but not necessarily so.
What she does need though is 100% understanding that her behavior is toxic and is threatening the life she says she wants. So yes, a big, sober heart to heart is necessary. LW, protect yourself, make it clear that her improvement is noticed and admired but her slips are threatening the love and life you guys are building. Its you or the blackout boozing, her choice.
And I do agree with Dan that if you guys are long-distance its probably worse than you think. I didnt know my husband was as bad as he was until we moved in together.
And yeah- my husband tried the whole moderation thing quite a few times without any lasting success whatsoever. Hell, his first time getting sober in AA ended in another decade of debauchery. He quit when he'd finally had enough, not even breaking his back convinced him, and nothing you say will convince her sobriety is a good idea until she is good and ready. And let me tell you- those first two years he was sober were not magical, they were Awful, awful, awful. Like being married to a petulant hateful teenager. Re-birth is painful.
In my widowed group, those whose partners died of alcohol-related issues have some very serious complicated grief to deal with. It is the 'gift' that keeps on giving...
And I have to also disagree that AA is only for people drinking all day long, and not for high functioning alcoholics or people who party and cannot cut themselves off. Most of the people I know who attend AA were not intoxicated every day all day.
I never mastered moderation in either booze or pot, and I ended up giving them both up- booze because I had to and pot because my career had stalled a bit and drying out made it easier to write. And pot was a lot easier for me to give up, especially back in the late 80s when it was harder to get. All I had to do was move to a new city where I didn't know any pot dealers. A few weeks later and I didn't even think much about it, outside of some fond memories.
Given a choice between the two, I'd choose pot any day.
You are using a different "definition of alcoholic" than the rest of us. The rest of us are defining an alcoholic as someone whose drinking is causing a problem for them and for those around them; who are unable to drink moderately even when they try. If you can drink moderately, great. But that's the point: an alcoholic, or "problem drinker" if you will, can't. Moderation hasn't worked. Quitting is the only way to make sure you never drink yourself into a stupor or a blackout. Because trust me, I never INTENDED to drink so much I blacked out, got into a cab that wasn't a cab, had sex with a friend's partner, puked or pissed myself. But oddly enough, all these things happened anyway. Having "a few drinks" only made me want more drinks, and like your husband, I justified myself by pointing at the other, worse alcoholics around me. It was only facing up to the fact that I COULDN'T drink moderately that I managed to break the cycle.
Others' mileage may vary. I do envy those who can drink in moderation. I know I'll never be one of them. And from this LW's description, I highly doubt her girlfriend is either.
However, it is still the best program out there. The first thing most addicts in 28 day programs do, when they leave a facility is guess what? go back to their addictions.. Peer Support groups, are essential in trying to keep those with the disease of addiction to keep to a plan..
There are some questions about the 12 step program, and we need to have better results with the billions put into addiction treatment..
Yes, it is your responsibility. If your spouse gets in a car accident while drunk, you are financially responsible, let alone going to work to pay off the estimated $15-20k for a DUI conviction. If your spouse has health problems from his or her drinking, it is your responsibility, given you are paying higher premiums for health insurance, or out of pocket expenses not covered by health insurance. Ditto with higher auto insurance premiums..
This is not about changing your fiancee. This is about signing the doting line that if you realize that your spouse has an addiction disease, they need to treat it ASAP. If you refuse to intervene, and go on to married this person. You are responsible as much for their actions if they don't treat their disease.
It is your responsibility. It isn't a pain in the ass, it is a disease that effects you emotionally, and can cause serious harm to others, (via car accidents, drunken incidents, black out behavior) if the person doesn't address their disease ASAP..
He has an alcoholic problem. If you are his best friend, then it is imperative that you address it, even the risk of your friendship.
My best friend from University, who I thought was just like to party hard, was an alcoholic, it didn't delve to me, that he was out of control until he was serious about marriage. He was still a charming, incredibly funny person. I damaged my friendship with him, because I was insistent that he had to go to AA, or address his addictions. (I learned later, through his wife that he became addicted to heroin, which he hid until it became his life) He went to NA, which is also a good place to score a some heroin. He overdosed and died, because he took his regular dose, while he was clean a couple months as a reward..
If you really care about your friend. You address their addictions right now, because once they self destruct and die from their addictions or wreck what they care for in their world because they can't control it.. It is too late.. It is a problem if you can identify the addiction..
I'm thinking the LW's partner would see their relationship differently: 'I'm with someone who's good for me but not always much fun. How do I get her to accept me as I am? At the same time, how can I be a little bit more stable without losing the aliveness or wildness of spirit that's so big a part of who I feel I am?'
The gf sees drinking as a 'good' and drinking to excess as a 'bad'. Can the LW see things the same way? This is the central issue. If the answer's 'no', then give up on any thoughts of marriage and kids.
First of all, moderation for alcoholics is a fool's errand. Every time some scientific study comes up which concludes that alcoholics can moderate their drinking, when they follow up with those "moderate drinkers" years later, they find that they are either abstinent or drinking too heavily. Sobell 1973 is the most famous example, but there are others. I would ask the founder of Moderation Management how her moderate drinking is coming along, but can not because she killed herself after getting a felony drunk driving conviction.
The other misconception being posted is that AA does not works. It works if you work it, about 75% of the time. Observational studies have confirmed this over and over again (e.g. PMC2220012 shows a 67% success rate for regular AA attenders 16 years later). The surgeon general has stated that "Well-supported scientific evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of twelve-step mutual aid groups focused on alcohol and twelve-step facilitation interventions." I'm not saying the AA program is for everyone, and I'm not saying there are alternatives (SMART recovery, Life Ring, etc.), but for people willing to work AA, it really works most of the time.
"The other misconception being posted is that AA does not works. It works if you work it, about 75% of the time. Observational studies have confirmed this over and over again"
That is not true.. AA has probably better success rates than 28 day rehab programs, but we are talking 88 to 90 percent recidivism rates than 95 percent recidivism of programs like Hazelden..
"Alcoholics Anonymous is famously difficult to study. By necessity, it keeps no records of who attends meetings; members come and go and are, of course, anonymous. No conclusive data exist on how well it works. In 2006, the Cochrane Collaboration, a health-care research group, reviewed studies going back to the 1960s and found that “no experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or [12-step] approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems.”
“Alcoholics Anonymous was proclaimed the correct treatment for alcoholism over seventy-five years ago despite the absence of any scientific evidence of the approach’s efficacy,” he writes in his introduction, “and we have been on the wrong path ever since.”
That said, AA is still one of the best program out there to help alcoholic deal with their disease of addiction.. It is not about the 12 step program, which has its flaws, it is about peer group persuasion and peer support groups that give a person hope. No matter they still have a high failure rate. The 75% success rate is a shibboleth.
"He concludes from this important paper [i.e. Cochrane 2006] that AA and 12-step treatment were ineffective. However, the study actually concluded that AA and 12-step treatment were shown to be as effective as anything else to which they were compared."
The article goes on to explain that Cochrane 2006 was written before more recent randomized trials which show AA does work, such as Walitzer 2009.
Maia Szalavitz also quotes Dodes when concluding that 12-step programs do not work. Again, Dodes in inaccurate; here's another refutation of those incorrect numbers:
"her source itself [i.e. Lance Dodes] refers only to data gathered by others, mostly for purposes other than judging AA’s effectiveness. This forms the basis for three separate, questionable, calculations that arrive at the 5-8% figure"
PMC2220012, or if you prefer, Moos and Moos 2006 is a peer reviewed scientific observational study which was run over a 16-year period. It shows that 67% of the people who took Alcoholics Anonymous seriously were sober 16 years later (for the record, their numbers for even including the people who never went to AA are a lot higher than 10%; over all, 46% were sober 16 years later). Other studies I have seen come up with similar numbers; the reason I bring up Moos and Moos 2006 is because it's not paywalled and anyone is welcome to read it:
Do not trust all media accounts; look at the actual science. All of the recent 12-step studies I have seen show that the program really works.
Again, the surgeon general has stated that "Well-supported scientific evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of twelve-step mutual aid groups focused on alcohol and twelve-step facilitation interventions." I trust the surgeon general more than I do a random journalist.
Only when WANTS to give up the addiction can there be progress - whatever the substance is.
In these discussions it's always good to remember that the plural of anecdote is not data. And the 'Big Book' is chock full of anecdotes.
The very first time I drank two beers, it happened. Some people’s brains are simply wired that way. We can discuss “why?” til the cows come home, yes that can be a sign of deeper issues perhaps, but it simply IS. So folks talking about how they used to get tanked and “it didn’t happen to me, therefore” are short sighted. Are you a sun sneezer? Do you like the taste of cilantro? It’s on that level. I could drink a six pack one day and not have it happen or have two IPA’s over fries with a friend and whoops, starting to fade to black. My opinion is true love is hard to come by, so long as a partner is willing to have the conversation and work on change, give things a chance. Set a timeline, identify your hard no’s. But I’m pretty sick of how disposable most people find others. If you’re not being abused, if they’re holding a job and open to self improvement, give it a damn minute.
Someone at AA is not there because he enjoys the unique experience of alcohol. A participant in any addiction-recovery program has recognized his use of the substance cannot be harmless enjoyment; in his case, any use of the substance harms himself and others. Put more simply, AA has no recreational drinkers who could drink in moderation for enjoyment.
Again, the issue in this letter is the large difference in opinion between the LW and her GF on the harm done by GF’s current use of alcohol. GF simply does not see her own behavior as a problem; LW does see GF’s behavior as a problem. If they cannot find agreement, it’s difficult to see a path forward with them in this relationship.
@25 LavaGirl: I'm glad things got better as your father went to AA and sponsored others. That's sad about your mother, though.
During my one disastrous marriage, my then spouse and I were two different alcohol consumers. I would usually get giggly, silly, and be the life of the party. He got moody, brooding and violent. I won't drive if I've had a few drinks. My ex has a DUI history. We clearly were not a good mix.
WASTED: I'm with Dan. RUN from this relationship! Your GF isn't going to get better on your timeline, only hers if at all (12 blackouts a year?!?). And if your careers keep you at a distance, it's a good time to end it. So end it already.
The Sinclair Method and naltrexone as an analgesic has been shown to be much more successful in treating alcoholism than AA.. The methodology in studying AA, is very difficult, and I think it is time to seriously look at how to set up better treatment programs with lower recidivism rates..
Griz @69: And congrats!
For example, this claim that 93% of people who drop out of AA does not come from any scientific study: It comes from an old graph that someone with a strong bias against AA read incorrectly, and other people with a bias against AA parroted their numbers.
A proper interpretation of that graph shows about a 75% drop out rate:
http://hindsfoot.org/recout01.pdf [PDF file link]
Dodes concedes that this graph shows a 75%, not 95% dropout rate; Moos and Moos 2006 shows a similar 75% dropout rate.
We have a high dropout rate for any kind of treatment we give alcoholics. The fact of the matter is that most alcoholics do not want to stop drinking, even if continued drinking means they will die, even if everyone close to them tells them they must stop drinking.
While some figures for Naltrexone (i.e. The Sinclair Method) look promising, it doesn't help when suggesting abstinence with problem drinkers, and its effect is modest:
The idea that drinking to the point of blacking out isn't problematic is laughable nonsense, all the more so since that happens in the context of LW's girlfriend (i) history of expressing extreme feelings while drunk and (ii) forgetting her actions while drunk. Losing control of one's emotions and an inability to appreciate what you are doing while drunk are real problems.
@72/BiDanFan gets to the crux of the issue facing alcoholics: "What does she love more, booze or her girlfriend? It really does come down to that." LW's girlfriend regularly has wild personality swings, is not in control of her action, and blacks outs after drinking. Continuing to drink prioritizes those behaviors over her relationships. And if that doesn't highlight the problem then nothing will.
@63 blacking out is stone-cold the number one indicator of alcoholism.
The vast majority of comments regarding LW's gf blacking out are coming from the perspective that she's had six shots, four glasses of wine and just ordered a pitcher.. which maybe that's the case, but maybe not. People should know it just is the way some people's bodies work and not that they're drinking to excess to be blacked out. As someone else says shortly after "black out is a sure sign of alcoholism", oh the VERY first time you have a couple beers? just genetic old alcoholism? sorry bout your fam, you never get to drink?
It's a sign your body has had too much, too quickly and that level is different for different people. And many people are seriously bad alcoholics and absolutely NEVER black out. Science doesn't totally understand it, but blackout ≠ alcoholic.
I know plenty of functional drinkers who can drink me under a table, show up at work on time every day, get paid bank and use cabs for to and from home. Might not be making their livers very happy, but we're all going to die anyway. LW has every right to want what she wants, but I hope she can put her foot down and let the GF decide which is more important. This one has a chance if both parties can find a happy medium.
Yeah, some people are allergic to ethanol, some have ridiculously low tolerance, some are super functional regardless of frequent binges and/or blackouts, and some actually ENJOY toothy blowjobs and their balls getting slapped. God bless uncle Jimmy.
Humanity is an assortment of Gaussian curves. For the lack of clairvoyance, telepathy or any deeper insight into day-to-day-workings of the LW's relationships, everyone here logically assumes the statistically BY FAR most common constellation. Which is: regular black-outs = frequent binges = serious alcohol problem.
(even if you hit the correct ball, you still shot it into the wrong goal. Assuming the LW's GF HAS some untypical condition re: alcohol tolerance, "blacking out and behaving like an ass on a regular basis" is still "blacking out and behaving like an ass on a regular basis". If you go bananas from one single beer, you don't drink that beer. Low tolerance is an explanation, but no excuse.)
(What's wrong with teeth/slaps/a brick in the face? Objectively, nothing. Subjectively, everything. Statistically - an acquired taste (as in: acquired by a very small minority)