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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Advice on friend who may be alcoholic

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Contributing Member


Sep 24th, 2017 01:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

One of my closest friends I'm concerned is an alcoholic. He's always been an evening/late night drinker, but lately he's been having an occasional scotch first thing in the morning - hair of the dog. The last thing I want to be is judgmental and I know that any change has to come from him, but what role/responsibility do I have here and how should I handle it?


Undiscover'd country

from whose bourn no traveller returns.
Sep 24th, 2017 01:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

My neighbor has the same prob. He does not drink in the AM (AFAIK) or drive drunk. But, he drinks vodka by the gallon.

I don't know what to do, ether.

(This message was last edited by Electron at 04:01 PM, Sep 24th, 2017)

Contributing Member


Clawhammer Rules!
Sep 24th, 2017 01:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

You have no responsibility. Your role is concerned friend. You can try talking to him but do not expect a good reaction. If he doesn't have a problem (yet) then he will think you are full of bull. If he does have a problem, expect much worse. As a matter of fact, his reaction to your concern will tell you just how far down that road he has gone, as an alcoholic will usually angrily deny being an alcoholic. And will begin to avoid you, until he needs something.
Just don't be an enabler, don't laugh it off when he does, but honestly this is a self-rescue situation. They have to hate the bad effects more than they love the desired effect, and that takes some living.

Contributing Member

Bakersfield, CA

Getting old is not for sissies!
Sep 24th, 2017 02:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good words and sound advice, rok!

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Idaho, USA

Insert clever tagline here
Sep 24th, 2017 02:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

rok far more articulately put than I might have.

Contributing Member

Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Sep 24th, 2017 02:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

In my experience (ex MIL) It won't be an occasional drink in the morning, it will be EVERY morning.

Contributing Member


Sep 24th, 2017 02:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

I tried a band intervention once, 30 years ago. An old friend/bandmate who was out of control, falling down drunk, waking up in a pool of blood. We drifted apart then had some more contact in the last 10 years. A different woman in his life but same script. He died a month ago or so right while doing a mandatory urine test after a domestic "incident". Never heard the autopsy results but I'm guessing his liver or heart split in two.

As someone here said to me, you can't save someone from themselves.

Contributing Member


"toxic masculinity personified"
Sep 24th, 2017 02:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I know that any change has to come from him"

I would rephrase that just slightly to read "he has to be willing/ready to change". Til that time, he'll be like habitual users of most drugs in that the altered state will be his primary focus and he will deceive himself and everyone around him in order to reach that state.

20 or 30 years ago, I had a good friend who was extremely smart and capable, but he was a total alcoholic. He was in his 70s when I met him and had been married and sober for years. But then he started drinking again. I drank with him till I realized what a problem he had, and then stopped drinking with him altogether. We would hang out sometimes when he was drinking and I wouldn't lecture him about it or anything: I just refused to drink with him anymore.

He would go on 3-5 day benders and then stay pretty sober for a week or so. Then he'd go into a pattern where he would annoy his wife until she'd leave to go visit friends for a couple of weeks. He'd mope around about how "she's left me" and use that as an excuse to go on another bender. This pattern repeated itself until she finally gave him an ultimatum, saying that he had to stop drinking or she was leaving for good. He kept drinking, so she divorced him. It was very sad because they really cared for one another and had been happy when he was sober.

I agree that you shouldn't be judgmental. Not because squandering ones time and health by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol isn't a waste, but because he'll probably just blow off your criticism: preaching to him is probably pointless.

I would just not drink with him. It may or may not help, but at least you won't be enabling his habit.

You could look into staging an "intervention" if his drinking continues to escalate enough to merit detox and he has enough friends and family who are concerned about his problem to make that feasible. I suppose it depends on how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the situation.

Contributing Member

Hemet, SoCal

I detect the El Supremo
Sep 24th, 2017 02:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

I was a heavy hard liquor (well, anything, really) for decades. Friends and family tried to help but no one's advice could sway me no matter how well intentioned.

My belly started to swell because I was withholding fluid. A trip to the ER, and what I had to go through to get that fluid withdrawn, got me to thinking about making some serious changes to my life.

I checked myself into a 6 week rehab program. For a few years afterwards I fell off and on the wagon. I have been sober for more than 8 years. I don't have any problem being around now alcohol or drinkers.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the desire to change must come from within whether it's due a trauma or some soul searching.

Contributing Member


Clawhammer Rules!
Sep 24th, 2017 03:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

My father, uncle, both grandfathers, and my nephew all are/were alcoholics. I've got much more experience than I want.

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Sep 24th, 2017 03:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

He is on a bad path. He is the only one who can change himself.

We are having the same problem with my BIL. Smart guy, businessman but a (vodka) drunk.


What It Was!

Fairly Unbalanced
Sep 24th, 2017 03:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

"When the pain was great enough, we changed." - NA basic text

Contributing Member


Sep 24th, 2017 08:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think I get it - probably hands off with any mention of alcoholism, but let him know I'm here if he needs me.

Contributing Member

Silver Spring Md

Sep 25th, 2017 07:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

Maybe he needs one of these:

Pill to stop drinking

Contributing Member

West Chester PA

Wait, what?
Sep 25th, 2017 07:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes he needs to want to change. There is a family member with mental illness, similar situation, there is quite a bit of overlap as to factors in play. Said family member not an active member of the family anymore. We did try.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Sep 25th, 2017 08:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

Surfinboy, Rok pretty much nailed it.

Rok, very succinct, I copied it for future reference.

I've been sober since Jan. 7th 1995, when I finnaly realized I had a problem. I'm one of the lucky ones.

When the suffering becomes intolerable, I was 42 and consider myself one of the lucky ones. I've always been aware of The Great Spirit, the Creator whatever you want to call the source of life, and the desire to self medicate was gone, that night, without struggle. If I could do that for others, it would be all I would do, it doesn't work that way.

The only effect I've ever had on one who suffers is as an example. Very few ever start that conversation, but if they do they know it's all spinning out of control and just maybe ready to accept the truth, that knowledge alone is often not enough, but that is the time offering help becomes effective.

Contributing Member


Invisible 7-11
Sep 25th, 2017 08:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

Rok nailed it in the third post; others have added some good insight and info. As the disease progresses the denial increases. Frustrating - to say the least - for those who want to *do something* for those they care about.

Let them know you care, then take care of yourself by not going under with them.

If you are interested in hearing some first hand experiences from sober alcoholics you could check out an AA meeting. Google AA meetings in your town. Look for "open meetings" ... they welcome anyone, alcoholic or not. At the beginning, they'll ask if there are any visitors or newcomers; if you want, you can identify yourself as a visitor with concerns for a friend who might be alcoholic. A few minutes in the parking lot, before and after the meeting, will give a chance for some direct conversation.

If your friend is alcoholic, and his situation becomes grim enough that he wants to get and stay sober, there is a seat for him at the next AA meeting.

Contributing Member

Austin TX

Sep 25th, 2017 08:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've know a few (including my now ex-wife) who have had problems with addictions. As already stated the desire to recover does have to come from them, but others can help by showing a path forwards and that they care. The catch is you cannot let their issues drag you down. And do NOT become an enabler - no financial support.

Personally, while I recognize they help many, I am not a fan of the AA approach, and have suggested the linked organization to some as an alternative.

I do think the "higher power" stuff puts off a lot of folks. Not being critical if it works for you, just an alternative.

Secular sobriety

(This message was last edited by neilp at 10:41 AM, Sep 25th, 2017)

Contributing Member

Las Vegas NV

Can't complain but sometimes I still do
Sep 25th, 2017 09:00 AM   Edit   Profile  

Surfinboy, Sample story ... (my story)

I had been drinking daily for the better part of 30 years. It and everything that went with it was my normal.

One night I was puking up blood. Frightened the crap out of me. I stopped the alcohol and also coffee, carbonated drinks ... pretty much anything that I thought could possibly be bad for me. I even ate better.

After about three days I was hit over the head with a realization. That realization was...

"I Felt Good".

I had been down the road with alcohol for so very long that I had completely accepted feeling like crap every single day of my life. I had literally forgotten what it was like to feel good ... enduring the ravages of alcohol was simply NORMAL for me. I never gave it a second thought.

The fact that I had never had a DUI or lost a job or a Wife on account of it probably just served to bolstered my thinking that everything was just fine.

People told me things that should had had me thinking. Things like my best buddy saying, "Larry, if you die don't donate your liver". That actually happened and sadly more than once. It was his way of trying to break into my problem without destroying our friendship.

Anyway, it still took me a couple of years (after the puke night) to completely come to grips with myself and end it ... but I finally did.

I tell you this story as an example of what it is you have in front of you there with your friend. To him life is completely normal and he does not know there is a thing wrong in his World.

Nothing you can do from the outside is going to move him. At best you might plant a tiny seed (like my buddy did for me) or at worst you could become the enemy.

I was fortunate that I found my clarity through something as simple as inadvertently being *frightened* into remembering what it was to actually feel good again. Well, that and a couple of other close family observations I finally made.

I do wish the best for both you and your friend.

That's all I got ... ;)

(This message was last edited by BlondeStrat at 11:07 AM, Sep 25th, 2017)

Contributing Member


Sep 25th, 2017 09:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I for one do not miss hangovers. I remember some days, usually a Sunday after a great Penn State game, that I spent the next day in bed, praying for sleep to get through the headaches and nausea. Tossing and turning just trying to find that one position that would ease it.

The one thing I learned is that if someone tells you there is a problem, there probably is. No one is trying to take away your Birthday present, they are trying to help and you should at least consider what they say to be true.

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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Advice on friend who may be alcoholic

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