Addiction to Alcohol/denial, OCD, etc

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Question
Dear Druideck,

What a fascinating name! Gaelic?

Anyway...

I have a friend who is an alcoholic (and knows it) who just landed in jail for the fourth time for breaking a restraining order against him by his ex (he walked by the house). I am not sure what details to give but these the some issues.

*He is sure he won't drink again and then does (duh)
*He is sure if he gets out he won't go by her house again and then he does
*He ia perpetually sure he will pay me back for everything  but it has never happened,
*He is a pathological liar-- I have researched it carefully.
*He has sociopathic tendencies in that he actually does not understand what he does to others.
*He wil sneak around to get what he wants.
*He is oblivious that it is wrong to break promises.
*He gets angry when any of this is brought up


And he has OCD. That's where the stalking comes in (going by the house and emails)


By the way, hospitals don't treat minds anymore; they treat moods. We have gotten him into the hospital twice and they gave him no therapy; the first one put him on antidepressants and I'm not sure what else; and the health insurance forced the doctors to say he was well in less than a week each time. Then of course when he lost his job due to mental illness he lost his insurance and lost his meds. Yay USA with no single payer. He needs real treatment including intent psychotherapy and DBT therapy. That's not gonna happen till Bernie and a decent Democratic win.

Does it help to know why? He was raised by being abandoned by his mom repeatedly (thus the psychotic breakdown when the gf broke up with him). I think she may have prostituted herself. His father, who left pretty early, was an alcoholic. He was sort of half raised by some mafia guys who used a pizza place as a front-- e waitered there from age 11.

Basically he learned that the way to make each moment the least awful was to always say what got him the best results. Thus the damn lying. Yes being his partner was sheer hell that way tho he did not drink with me. It is absolutely impossible to tell when he is lying and I guarantee he would pass a lie detecter no matter what he was lying about. When he lies he throws things agains the wall and sees what sticks.-- somehow after I have shot down two explanations he still expects me to believe the third. His lies can be ridiculous sometimes. "How do you explain her name on the reservation and your credit card?" "I have no idea." It is denial that make him think that is a lie I will believe (that was the moment where I realized he was mentally ill and began to research).

He sounds like a real asshole, right? Yeah there's that. He is charming and can be pleasant to be with. I don't mind him being here when he does not drink.

Hey, I love him, I do. He was once my own partner and he has a good heart-- sometimes pretty damn far within him. I and his best friend are the only ones left. I let him in when he went psychotic after the ex broke up with him and lived in hell with him till we ran out of money so he could not drink. Yeah I know about codependency but thats\'s not what I am asking for.


SO what I want is a couple of BOOKS which are pretty easy to read-- self help is the category I guess-- where he can recognize his denial and other issues. He is in jail and he might be stuck there for a while so if I send the books he will be bored enough to have to read them (yes I am being manipulative).

These are the sorts of books I am looking for :


** Denial in general -- not specifically alcoholism -- because he does not deny being an alcoholic.

** The alcoholic personality. Or addictive personality

**A book which makes him realize the damage he does to the people who love him

** A biography of someone like him -- the guy has to be all around a 'real man' and working class for him to relate. A motorcyclist or something!!!!


I want him to have some books where if he reads them he will recognize himself. He would not be interested in learning psychology as a topic. Just stuff he can relate to.

Please help me out with the books even if you disagree with what I am doing. Hey I am leaving him in jail *this time* and he will lose everything he values


Thank you soo much.

Natasha

Answer
Hi Natasha,

I understand your desire to help this guy but also be careful as you can burn yourself out
by believing you can change him or this illness he has. When alcoholics admit they are
beat and hit bottom it is a personal thing that cannot always be influenced by books
or someone else's advice. The reason for this is that alcohol affects the thinking centers
of the brain. When he is sober for awhile he may start to think and say things that make
sense. After the first drink his brain and thinking become clouded and denial takes over.

The only time that books make a difference is when he is abstinent from his drug of choice,
alcohol in this case.

Alcoholic thinking can take years of retraining the thought processes. This is why they have
groups like AA, the group gives people a place to go when there thoughts are getting messed
up and support in staying sober for the first very difficult year or two.

Getting sober and staying sober requires much commitment and working through denial and excuses.
Very few people are willing to do this work until things hit bottom very hard and they see
they cannot live their own life that way. In fact it almost has to be life or death to choose
recovery. That is how strong and serious addiction to alcohol is.

Often this "bottom" only comes after people have backed off enough for one to know he has
to stand on his own feet or fall. Helpers often sooth things enough that they continue there
spiral downward. Helping is only good when it has the consequence of making the alcoholic face
his dilemma. This means he goes to treatment, AA or whatever helps in recovery.

I started by reading brochures from local alcohol counseling agencies where I saw an alcohol
counselor. From there someone gave me the AA big book which I could relate to once the fog
lifted. I went to a treatment center for a few weeks after being referred by the counselor.

By real recovery began after hitting bottom. Drunk, no license, lost my car and wife and family.
I had to live or die so I walked into AA. I sat there for a year looking at the carpet.
I was at the end of my rope so to speak. This was my last resort. It was hard but death or jail
did not appeal to me. I had to make this choice alone.

I have been sober since 1985 and have no desire to go back to my old life.
My advice would be to start him reading the AA Big book until he identifies.
The brain would be more clear if he could get into some state sponsored counseling or
treatment program. AA is free and will work if you want it to.

Therapy will be little help until he gets off the alcohol. Therapy may even make it harder to get sober as it digs deeper inside your mind and causes shame.

The roots of alcoholism in my mind lies in self hatred or criticism. Of course it is easier
to love oneself after stopping all the problem behavior while drunk.

This book has some good ideas which I wish I had knew earlier on:
http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Your-Inner-Critic-Self-Criticism/dp/0062507575

You are welcome to edit or print my answer and give it to him or have him write
a note to me and I can respond through you to him.

Take care,
Druideck
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Addiction to Alcohol

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Druideck

Expertise

All questions are important, I have over 30 years of personal experience with alcoholism and recovery issues. Advanced Counsellor Training / Experience with treatment and AA.

Experience

Over 30 years of recovery from alcoholism. Counsellor in an alcohol outpatient office. Experience as client and as counsellor in treatment center.

Education/Credentials
Advanced counsellor certificate, Melbourne ORYGEN Research Centre volunteer consultant

Awards and Honors
AADAC volunteer award

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