Can you ever really conquer alcoholism?

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  • Can you ever really conquer alcoholism?
  • brooess
    Member

    Although I’ve had a few friends who over the years either drank to unhealthy levels or bounced from one drug to the other, I’ve no experience of dealing with a full-on alcoholic…

    Was on a date last night with a lady who, after quitting smoking 6 years ago, became an ultra-runner – as in multiple marathons in one go. Clearly this takes a level of determination… but as the conversation went on, I got the feeling she’s not got the most settled psyche. Not in a nasty way, just clearly got some stuff she’s trying to deal with.

    I was curious that she doesn’t drink, at all. I don’t drink much these days myself tbh – I’m training hard and drinking gets in the way, so it made sense.

    And then towards the end of the night she tells me she used to be a ‘functioning alcoholic’ – as in vodka for breakfast-type stuff. Apparently her brother was too (also now dry) and one of her grandfathers. I gather alcoholism can often run through the generations.

    Now I definitely respect her toughness in fighting it and apparently winning, and her courage in telling me, but frankly there’s a lot of unresolved stuff going on with her IMO – and I’m not really sure I want to get tangled up in it. Unfair in some ways – I suspect she needs someone to support her. But in my experience you need to stay away from unhealthy people if you want to be healthy yourself…

    I’m likely to see her again anyway, we’re members of the same running club.

    Sensible, intelligent thoughts from STW?

    jekkyl
    Member

    you can’t really expect people to make a judgement about someone with so little information, her previous alcoholism need not be her defining characteristic. What exactly are you asking? she sounds okay, just she’ll never be able to drink, bit shit that if you ask me, but hey ho.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I think people who have ‘addictive personalities’ (whatever that is) will find things to be addicted to.

    Smoking, drinking, running, cycling, gambling, work, whatever.

    It may be she’s substituted one thing for another? No reason not to see her again, though?

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    In answer to the question in the title, no, it’s just some people manage to come fine with remission.

    As for the relationship stuff, I’m certainly not the best person to ask, but I’m not seeing any red lights in what you’ve posted. Nothing wrong with having failings and getting over them – she sounds pretty tough to me.

    My aunt was an alcoholic (drank herself to death), I have an addictive personality and know it would be so easy, hence I speak with a bit of experience.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    It really is a tough one and IMHO a more difficult thing to crack than smoking… I can only applaude your running frirnd for controlling / containing the drinking and substituting sport instead…

    The three career drinkers I have known for many years never really managed to get it sorted and it was a constant niggle in their lives. Two had catastrophic health and life events to snap them off the drink, the other is dead from it…

    Maybe there is a health professional that will be along in a moment, but my perspective is no, it doesnt seem to be curable, just containable… in that stopping drinking doesn’t = cured.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    If you could conquer it then ex-alcoholics wouldn’t have a problem with having one or two drinks.

    growinglad
    Member

    ….Met a bloke a few years ago who said that he didn’t drink as he really enjoyed partying a bit too much…soon as he was on the sauce….he was off on a massive session, so he decided it was best just no to do it.

    Fair enough I said, could see where he was coming from.

    This lady has obviously got a bit of an addictive personality….she’s decided to knock it on the head, hope she keeps going….but perhaps, something could knock her off the wagon in the future….

    Thing is, after one date you’re already wondering whether you’ll be supporting her in the future….so perhaps you could be looking a bit too deep into this.

    How old is she?

    With women over the age of thirty apply the following rule:

    Attractive – sane – single – choose any 2 of the 3.

    Not very PC I know but it is quite often true.

    Gary_M
    Member

    ex-alcoholics

    There’s no such thing, I know a few and even if they stop drinking alcohol they will always be alcoholics.

    One of the guys attends AA meetings constantly, he’s single and its become a huge part of his life. The other guy is also single, both spend a lot of their time helping people who are still drinking. So they have both replaced alcohol with something else.

    Its up to you if you want to become involved with someone who will always be ‘addicted’ to something.

    cybicle
    Member

    One addiction replaces another.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    It could also be argued that people who’ve been through the mill a bit, and have far more experience of life’s darker sides, are both considerably more interesting people, and are ultimately better adjusted having come out the other side

    roper
    Member

    Let me get this right.
    So she holds an interesting conversation, has a determination to overcome obstacles, knows herself well and is confident and open with who she is, and she is fit.

    Best get rid. Find someone who doesn’t have or never will have any problems.

    Good luck with that 😀

    shermer75
    Member

    Well said binners. Def worth a second date least. I would say if drinking isn’t a big part of your life, and it sounds like it isn’t, then the fact that she doesn’t drink may not be that much of a problem. Go on a few more dates, work out if you like her or not, and don’t over think it. Life is definitely too short!

    Premier Icon lowey
    Subscriber

    It could also be argued that people who’ve been through the mill a bit, and have far more experience of life’s darker sides, are both considerably more interesting people, and are ultimately better adjusted having come out the other side

    this.

    saxabar
    Member

    I fall into the category of having lived full-on in my teens and twenties, and knocked drink on the head some years ago. I don’t miss it at all and once you get used to not drinking, it isn’t a big deal. Dunno about the unresolved stuff but I doubt it is connected with not drinking.

    shermer75
    Member

    I suspect she needs someone to support her.

    I understand what you mean here but here’s a truth: Everybody needs someone to to support them. It’s just a question of when and by how much. Carry on seeing her, she may need less and you might surprise yourself by needing a bit more than you previously thought…

    Premier Icon schnor
    Subscriber

    ex-alcoholics

    There’s no such thing, I know a few and even if they stop drinking alcohol they will always be alcoholics.

    ^ Spot on. I’m an alcoholic, it’s just haven’t had a drink in 2 years and 10 months. Its not necessarily ‘every day’s a battle’ but now and again my mind wanders back to the bad old days. Good for her though, she must be content within herself enough to tell you about it (although I don’t really talk about it even to my closest friends TBH).

    She won’t need someone to ‘support her’ as she’s doing just fine by herself, but yes be aware if you’re going to be in a relationship with her that she might have the occasional bad day and just need to talk about it, you certainly don’t need to worry about her drinking again and it being your responsibility.

    And yes, a lot of the time you just replace one addiction to the other. I have (though after all this time why I’m still a **** biker is a mystery 😛 )

    p.s. Go for the second date BTW!

    mrmoofo
    Member

    Well,
    You are maybe thinking too deeply about it …

    But the sex will be amazing … 😆

    ElShalimo
    Member

    Ultra runners aren’t all recovering addicts but they are usually very focused and driven. The mindset is to be admired, as long as it’s not combined with a vacant thousand yard stare.

    Go on the 2nd date, it could be the best thing yyou’ve ever done

    TuckerUK
    Member

    Can you ever really conquer alcoholism?

    Let’s discuss it over a pint.

    andcarson
    Member

    My view is that Alcoholism is not a ‘thing’ which you can ‘conquer’. I side with the perspective that problem drinking is a behavioural phenomenon: like any behaviour, it can be changed. Although you can become physically dependent on alcohol, if you are abstinent for ages then resume drinking, there is not some dormant alcoholic disease which sends you immediately bonkers. Check out the idea of Abstinence Violation Effect for an alternative perspective on falling off the wagon. The whole idea of alcoholism as a disease, however, is crucial to the AA approach and is clearly a useful conceptual tool for lots of people and provides a clear framework for recovery.
    People can and do change, in lots of different ways and for diverse reasons. she sounds like an interesting person.

    I fall into the category of having lived full-on in my teens and twenties, and knocked drink on the head some years ago. I don’t miss it at all and once you get used to not drinking, it isn’t a big deal. Dunno about the unresolved stuff but I doubt it is connected with not drinking.

    I’m the same. Rarely drink now. Hate the feeling of being drunk, it just makes me feel sick. Not to mention that my former stepfather died of alcoholic liver disease, and that’s not a nice way for someone to go. Somewhat puts you off, seeing that.

    Giving up drinking opens up possibilities, when I was a heavy drinker, I’d never have bothered training for any sort of sports event because it would have interfered with my partying. So yeah, you find new interests when you quit, you do different things.

    I say hats off to this lady, if she’s seen drink for what it is and stopped – we’re not half sold a lot of bull about alcohol, we believe we can’t have a good time without it, etc, and that it’s not normal not to drink it – this is a lie sold to us by the drinks companies and the advertisers!

    Alcohol is an addictive drug, the fact that it happens to be legal doesn’t make it any better. Tobacco is legal….but smokers are virtual social pariahs now.

    Ever been sober in a British city centre on a Friday night? No better place to be than that to realise that the alcohol myth is bull****. People are not relaxed or happy, they are not super-trendy party animals in cool bars. They are often aggressive, they might be puking in the street, sprawled out on the pavement in an undignified manner, or shouting abuse at their mates or loved ones in a way they’d never dream of when sober.

    So I reckon this lady is probably not the one with the problem, or at least, not any more.

    trevron73
    Member

    There is a book that guides you through Alcohol problems its called “tomorrow i’ll be different ” its worth reading together with your significant other ,it has practical section you can do and suggest ways to council without going to meetings ,i read it with a colleague and we did the workshop bits together. The bottom line is you need to want to stop drinking – me and my mate don’t but we cut down a lot ?

    yunki
    Member

    I’ve suffered from alcohol dependancy in the past and I have some minor confidence issues now as a result..

    You may be confusing the disease with the person,she sounds like she’s together and dealing with her problems.I’d like to meet her,she sounds very interesting.

    Addictive personality? What does that actually mean?

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Alcoholism is an awful illness I deal with it a lot at work it effects people from many walks of life.

    Yes people can recover from it and do well, others struggle and find it difficult to cope. It’s fairly common for people to distract themselves with a compulsion such as exercising as much as possible. She may well have a history that lead her to alcoholism speaking to those that are some have had awful backgrounds, if you don’t think you can have a relationship with someone who has had a problematic life then don’t as it will do them and you no good.

    cybicle
    Member

    Addictive personality? What does that actually mean?

    I’m not sure if such a thing is defined in such a general way in psychology, but some individuals seem to be more predisposed towards addiction than others. Why they are like this, is far more complex than a catch all term can even begin to explain. Addiction is an immensely complex and problematic subject. I suppose we’re all potential addicts, and it’s likely that our individual personalities, circumstances and situations are contributory factors in our individual focuses. At the root of it all may be a need for control, or something to act as a compensation for insecurities/inadequacies. I’ve often found addicts (of all forms) to be ultimately immensely frustrated individuals, deep down. And whilst certain (milder forms of) addictions can have a positive effect, such as sports/physical activity, the intensity of the addiction can mean the individual is affected in myriad ways. And some can become addicts quite suddenly, due to trauma/sudden big changes in life patterns.

    No simple answer really, sorry.

    but frankly there’s a lot of unresolved stuff going on with her IMO

    Well she’s apparently resolved the alcohol dependency issue, and she’s knocked smoking on the head, what do you think she still needs to resolve ?

    If you feel the way you say you do, then do her a favour and don’t waste her time by going on a second date with her.

    skids
    Member

    If you could conquer it then ex-alcoholics wouldn’t have a problem with having one or two drinks.

    Plenty of them don’t have a problem with one or two drinks, you just dont hear about those ones because they don’t make a song and dance about it

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    As for that woman, i guess she needs support and if you leave her now after she told you her secret, she might return to vodka ..IMHO..

    They’re not together and most recovered alcoholics openly share there problem.

    My uncle was an alcoholic, and it virtually destroyed him. Then one day he just stopped smoking and drinking. No idea how he did it, but he was a tenacious man to say the least. Dedicated the last few years of his life working with fellow alcoholics, one of whom incredibly went onto become a police superintendent.
    Awful disease though.

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