Reformed alcoholics?

I’m sure we have all known a few.

My questions:

  1. Does the reformed alcoholic find it hard to stay off the bottle?
  2. Do they request or in some other way avoid gatherings where alcohol is being served like parties?

I am not an alcoholic so my answers are based on observing alcoholics I know and not personal first hand experience:

  1. Since some relapse presumably some do in fact have a hard time staying off the bottle. Others stay dry for decades. I expect this will vary from person to person.

  2. Again, varies - some avoid any location/event with alcohol. If that’s what it takes for them to stay sober so be it. Others don’t seem so bothered by others drinking, but do get pissed off at hosts who keep urging them to have a drink, just one toast/sip/whatever. Hey, no means no, right? Don’t understand why so many people don’t get that.

One of my best friends is a former alcoholic. He stopped when his doctor diagnosed incipient liver disease. After a few years, he started drinking wine with dinner, or an occasional beer. When we shared a rental house with him and his wife he made a batch of frozen diaquiris for the four of us, drinking a couple himself. Warning: YMMV.

I also think it’s a very bad choice of a gift for all occasions to send people alcohol.

This is very, very much a YMMV thing.

Some people hit that bottom and stop drinking for good. They’ve experienced the consequences of their drinking and don’t want to go through that again. So they stop and don’t look back. They may be OK with going to places where alcohol is served, and they may keep it at home. They just know that they can’t drink, but they’re not going to make that choice for other people. I have known people who will cut off relationships with friends or family members who can’t or won’t respect the decision not to drink.

Some have a drinking problem for a short time because it’s a coping mechanism for them. The situation causing them to drink ends, and they go back to whatever it was they were doing with their lives. This may involve going back to moderate drinking.

Some are forced to stop drinking because of legal or medical consequences, but they’re really not willing to give it up. They may not understand the link between their current predicament and their drinking, but they know they’ve been told they can’t do it or they’ll go back to prison/die/whatever. They white-knuckle, they find support at meetings, or they dance around it by going to bars/parties/wherever, even if they’re not drinking themselves. Or they swing the opposite way and turn into Carry Nation – if they can’t do it, no one else is going to do it, either!

Cite: 19 years off and on in Alcoholics Anonymous as a misdiagnosed alcoholic, i.e., not an alcoholic but fit into category #2. I still don’t drink.

My experience has been a wide range. My brother has had to avoid being around booze of any sort while a friend of mine (who was a total ruined life and on the streets drunk) can get together with us every week at the bar for bad movie night and not even be tempted. FWIW the second was a 12-stepper who seriously handled each step and the former just a drunk who forced himself to quit drinking.

It is almost entirely the AA/disease model that proclaims “once a boozer, always a boozer, even after 25 years without a drop, because that drop will send you spiraling back to the bottom of the bottle.”

Because so much of the “cure” is conditioning including these tenets, it becomes difficult to separate cause from effect. Maybe some people really do fall all the way at the slightest stumble. That’s so unlike almost every other human behavior that it has to be considered that the rules become the cause as much as any preventative.

There are any number of more - pardon the term - sober approaches to alcohol abuse that are far more forgiving of occasional backsliding and do not forbid the slightest return to light or social drinking. But between Hollywood and AA, the truth everybody knows is pretty well set in stone.

Yes, YMMV. But most people are convinced anyone who’s even had the slightest drinking problem - e.g., a period of social binge-drinking in college - is guaranteed to have poor mileage, which is manifestly not true.

There is no such thing as a reformed or former alcoholic. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, “recovering” is the word used.

My experience was that when I first quit drinking I dreamed about having a drink sitting in front of me. In the dream I would turn away to speak to someone and when I turned back the drink was gone, or I would be about the sip and accidentally drop it. No matter how often I dreamed it I never was allowed to take the sip. Does it bother me to have people drinking around me? Not at all, there is booze in the house right now and has been for years. Does it bother me when someone says “Oh you can have this it is just a little wine”? Yes, They seem to think wine is not alcoholic. Fortunately I never met a wine I could stand so saying no is so easy. Its been probably 25 years or so since I quit drinking and I don’t miss it at all, don’t dream about it either. I do once in a great while enjoy a non-alcoholic beer although I waited a couple of years so that the near beer would taste pretty much like the real thing to me. Having a near beer allows me to even have a second if I choose, having the real thing would make me want to have another and then another. In fact the reason I quit drinking was because of a conversation I heard in a bar one night. “If you can come into the bar every night for a month and have just one drink you are no alcoholic”. I knew I couldn’t do that. I sought out AA that night. I haven’t been to a meeting in years since we moved away but neither do I intend to ever have another drink. Turns out I like sober better than drunk, who knew. LOL

They say if one relapses that they pick up where they left off and the problem is worse than it was originally.

…in the tenets of AA and the AA-think set.

…by AA and the AA-think set.

Which is not the whole of the substance-abuse world.

However AA is probably the most successful in helping people . While I am an atheist and avoided the higher power stuff I still think AA has the best approach, drunks helping drunks works better than some “normie” with no clue what it is like trying to help a drunk.

No such thing as a reformed alcoholic.

AA is not a religion. Many people do not understand this. Even some people in AA.

AA has no laws, rules or anything else, just suggestions.

If millions of people are not going to jail, the morgue, destroying their families, etc., why this big push to tell them they can quit doing what they are doing and to just do it your way? You know your way will work for them?

The AMA says it is a disease.

Their is a difference between a very heavy drinker and an alcoholic. It is very hard for most people to know for sure that someone else is really an alcoholic unless they know what the difference is and know what the other person is thinking and feeling.

AA does not claim to be the only way. They cheer for anyone who cleans up their life, no matter how they do it.

There is a lot more to being in recovery about a particular addiction than just cutting back.

Some people need to not even be around alcohol & some can sit right beside it. They both can be in recovery or not in recovery at all. It is not just about not using, it is about your quality of life and much more. :wink:

The minute the word ‘recovered’ is used :rolleyes: indicates that they do not know very much about addiction.

OK, off the soap box… :smiley:

AA works for those whom AA works for. Which is not only less than 100%, but is basically an unknown number because the AA model actively resists and prevents any kind of formal study.

It’s a pseudo-religion created by amateurs with a phenomenal self-promotion system, only a jackleg scientific/medical basis, no mechanism for correction or improvement, and can only be used to prove things it already believes. Poke the button, and out comes the gospel as written by Bill W.™ - like above. But make the slightest attempt to point out its evident flaws, and you might as well try to take on Scientology with a Nolo Press self-help law book.

There are no tenets in AA. No one person speaks for AA.

Have you read the AA big book as it is called??

Do you have the only & correct definition of of an alcoholic?

Are you a recovered alcoholic? How many and how many meetings in different places ( towns, states, countries ) have you attended?

Not really trying to bust your chops but you are putting out some bad information IMO.

Peace. :smiley:

You just proved my points.

You opinions are not facts.

We will never cross the gap between us so I won’t post with you about it anymore.

Have a great day. :wink:

My sister is a recovering alcoholic who hosts an absolutely wonderful cocktail party every year. She sticks to tonic water and non-alcoholic wine. But she does drink non-alcoholic wine.

There is booze in the house and I won’t say she’s never tempted (Vodka and wine were her thing, and the appearance of craft vodka has been tempting - and non-alcoholic wines aren’t great), but she isn’t tempted enough that she avoids locations with booze or having booze in her own home.

She MIGHT be one of those who could become a social drinker, but since this is the fourth - and most lasting - trip through sobriety, she isn’t willing to take the chance. And that’s where the “once an alcoholic” model holds up, you might be able to be a social drinker - but getting sober is tough and most people didn’t decide to get sober because their lives were just ducky - risking screwing up your life and your health - and then having to go through getting sober again - for a lot of people, a margarita or a beer isn’t worth the experiment - and that’s what my sister believes - maybe I could - but if I can’t, it just isn’t worth it.

I’m “reformed” for near 8 years now.

  1. At first, yes. Now, not so much.

  2. I tend to pick and choose social gatherings depending on the situation. It’s hard for me to explain in detail. It often comes down to the purpose of the event. Regular coworker happy hour where there’s little point except just have a couple and bitch about work - avoid. Holiday gathering/dinner at a friends (with or without kids), I usually will attend.

It’s sort of like if the focus seems to be around alcohol - get together to drink for the sake of drinking vs. another purpose where alcohol happens to be present.

I’ve never understood this one myself. Alcohol seems to be the “go to” gift in coporate America. It seems odd, since about 35% of Americans identify as alcohol abstainers. Aside from the whole “one doesn’t know who may be a recovering alcoholic” angle, it seems odd that a gift that would not be used by 1/3 of those receiving it (and could actually offend some segment of them) would be so popular to give.

Corporate gifting has really slowed down - in part because there aren’t easy go to gifts. From my vendors I’ve gotten wine (issues with which we’ve discussed), candy (not great for diabetics or those on a diet), baked goods (I don’t eat much gluten), Christmas ornaments (I’m not Christian - but I do put up a tree - however, I’m really picky about my ornaments), and charitable contributions (I think this is fine - although some people have issues with certain charities). Don’t even start on coffee mugs (could start my own coffee shop) or bags (give them away by the boxful).

I do gift alcohol - only after making sure the person I’m giving alcohol to wants alcohol. My husband’s business associates call me fairly often to figure out if, what, and which brand, so I’m not alone.

I’m alcoholic, and dry since 1986. My sobriety is easy to maintain now, and the thought or smell of booze is disgusting. I’m pretty sure I’d spiral downward if I tried drinking responsibly (in fact this quickly happened a few months before I finally did stop).

Part of what makes social drinking fun is that everybody is doing it together. It’s sometimes pretty obnoxious if for some reason you can’t do it but everybody else does. Perhaps pregnant women are a population with lots of experience on this who aren’t alcoholic or struggling with sobriety, who might comment – but then possibly the parties pregnant women go to are statistically milder than most.

I don’t have a hard time staying sober at a party where there’s drinking. In my first few years of sobriety, I’d have nightmares about them, like realizing I’d been drinking all night long and forgotten I can’t do that. Not these days, though.

What I was taught in High School health class is that alcoholism is a progressive disease: If you fall off the wagon, even after being sober for decades, you don’t just pick up where you left off…you pick up where you would be if you had been drinking all that time!
BTW, I assume after a period of detox, the physical craving for the addictive ethanol subsides a bit.