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#1 John Dolva

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 06:37 PM

Wow , thats a tough one.

...What is it???

'Mothers little helper'. Porn? Codependency? Love? Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result? Physical? Mental? Dealing with pain, or the hole inside, with something other than inner?

I don't know, but I know what it's like to be an alcoholic. (And my story is not much different from millions of others).

_________


So, here I'd rather tackle this, rather difficult and sometimes controversial, subject with a view to providing resources to those directly or indirectly now or in the past or for the future affected by any kind of addiction, (but particularly in my case, alcohol).

Any questions and comments are welcome.

I'll give some thought to how to approach this and just open the topic for now..

#2 John Dolva

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 05:55 AM

Some intro thoughts:

All youth should sometime in their curriculum be taught something about addiction so that should they find themselves wondering whether they are addicted to something they are aware that there are things one can do to deal with it.

A big problem is denial. This denial is reinforced by the stigma that may be attached and perpetuated by society.

Addicts tend to hide their addiction and this is the worst way to deal with it.

I think all addicts of whatever sort tend to try to present a public persona that belies this underlying problem and often are aided and abetted by well meaning friends and family in this. This in a sense is a bigger problem than the addiction itself.

An addict is driven to do something that essentially is a form of suicide. A self loathing is a part of this and this is a very real sickness. Presented with an addicts behaviour many tend to react in a way that reinforces this and a downward spiral is inevitable.

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 08:04 AM

It is said that some people have addictive personality and are therefore prone to things like alcoholism. Do you agree?

One of the friends of my wife is an alcoholic. Over the last few years Judith had many conversations with her about her drinking problem. She claimed that the reason she needed to be drunk was that she did not enjoy being sober. I could see the logic of that. Her life was pretty bad. She had endured two unhappy marriages and had serious problems with her children. It was a vicious circle. The drinking caused problems with her relationships and this in turn caused her to get drunk.

When I was young I used to enjoy gambling on horses and greyhounds. It never got out of control but I feared it would happen and eventually decided to give up the hobby. The main reason for this was that I was in the company of people who were compulsive gamblers. Some of these men were highly intelligent and it was frightening to watch them lose control. Two of these men ended up in prison and several lost their homes and families.

Although I do not have an addictive personality I used to get obsessional about things. In fact, it is a major strength and is connected to the successes that I have had in life. For example, Judith claimed, probably rightly, that I am a workaholic. My fear in the past is that this obsession would become an addiction. I no longer fear this as I feel too old to develop an addictive personality. I feel that the strength of the drive is important and as we get older these drives become weaker.

#4 John Dolva

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 04:31 PM

John, much of my life has been spent in trying to find an answer that distils the problem to its essence. There are a number of points of view, amongst persons, natonal paradigms derived from various attitudes. They vary a lot and there are within the global community points of view that span many persons through the heierarchy of the world, all struggling in their own way with the problem.

One thing I can say is that I believe that there are solutions.

Much of your post is thought provoking and needs to be dealt with seriously in detail so I'll address the various issues in a timely manner. It needs serious thought.

#5 Andy Walker

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:21 PM

There is a very good support page here
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/

#6 John Dolva

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 07:07 AM

There is a very good support page here
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/


Andy.

Thank you.

__________


At the moment I can't think of much more to say except that within the link posted lies a wealth of experience and community.

This sure looks like like just the site to answer so many questions.

Sufferers of the World, Join.

SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
(home page for the link Alan provided)

____________
add: One thing that stands out immediately is the respect for the person, the incusiveness, and particularly welcome : the Affirmative Action regarding giving all a voice, including those who so often, because of the potential evils of patriarchy, feel they have no voice.

Edited by John Dolva, 07 June 2009 - 07:18 AM.


#7 Evan Burton

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 08:23 AM

I haven't looked it up, but is there a commonly-held definition of an addiction? If you can stop and start at your choosing, could you still be an addict?

I think about the practice of "binge drinking"; youth in our country will go out on a Friday night and get hammered. They often do not drink during the week - but on that Friday they have to get hammered. Are they addicts?

I get the impression that there are a lot more "addicts" out there than most of us choose to acknowledge.

#8 Greg Parker

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 10:05 AM

Some intro thoughts:

All youth should sometime in their curriculum be taught something about addiction so that should they find themselves wondering whether they are addicted to something they are aware that there are things one can do to deal with it.

A big problem is denial. This denial is reinforced by the stigma that may be attached and perpetuated by society.

Addicts tend to hide their addiction and this is the worst way to deal with it.

I think all addicts of whatever sort tend to try to present a public persona that belies this underlying problem and often are aided and abetted by well meaning friends and family in this. This in a sense is a bigger problem than the addiction itself.

An addict is driven to do something that essentially is a form of suicide. A self loathing is a part of this and this is a very real sickness. Presented with an addicts behaviour many tend to react in a way that reinforces this and a downward spiral is inevitable.


John,

you nailed it, mate.

There are a variety of programs out there - some better than others.

Peer pressure
Advertising
Lifestyle
Slack or dysfunctional parenting

The PALS formula for addiction.

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:40 PM

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr

#10 Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 07:54 PM

Personally I find I am most succeptable to the stasis-that-induces addictions when I have not done any aerobic exercise for long periods. There is a dirrect connection that I have observed umpteen times. Its like my blood gets boored because theres not enough endorphins and then I feel depressed etc. ....

#11 John Dolva

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:50 AM

- addiction is to the addict, and to those affected, close and society, seen as a flaw, or a weakness, This reinforces the drive to hide it.

What this means to the addict is that the first step towards clean living involves a kind of surrender and often it comes at a point called ''rock bottom''. There there are only two ways to go, madness and death, or sanity and life.

This surrender is ultimately to something one chooses to believe is more than self.

Most people trust their selves first. So, active addiction is a rational choice and easily justified. In active addiction moral restraints begin to crumble, and all along seem justifiable, and are reinforced by lifes experience and the spiral continues.

One has in fact handed, unwittingly, the power over ones life to something other than self, and that other is not the friend it might have once seemed.


-So: why not hand it over to something life giving???

The first step into a group of aware addicts is a scary one, and many a story is told about the child that died, the tree that fell over, the wife that left, the job lost, and so on. Fundamentally it's someone/thing elses/others fault.

The old timers, smile encouragingly, thinking ''been there, done that'', waiting patiently, and guiding gently, sometimes with success, often with failure, for the addict to begin to believe that they are important but that there is something much more important. Generally this implied other in ''Grant me the...'' is taken as God, and that is a huge stumbling block to many.

There are other valid powers to hand over to and ask for a granting.

Good, for example. The Power of Love. The group that understands and listens without judgement. ...

But it must be, just as handing over to something destructive, a handing over to something lifegiving. And there, ultimately, it must be to something one can have total faith in. And that can seldom be another person. ( I've been to a meeting where everyone buzzes anticipatingly for a 16 year sober elder to share, only to find that he's actually drunk again. This can lead to despair and hopelessness and a bust.)

_________________


I find it difficult, even with my experience of more than half a life time of struggling with this, to be comprehensive in one go. I dont think it's possible for me. So I'll deal with it in measured steps over time, according to my understanding.

Meanwhile, a perusal of the link Alan provided, is for the parents, friends, law enforcement, society, and the addict a very valuable resource wherein parts of the puzzle can be found.

All the contributions, (even the eugeneticist one as a point of discussion), are valuable and should be addressed. Some say it simply and the advice given is not to be taken lightly.

__________________

some other of my favourite sayings from AA are ''one day at a time'', ''keep it simple, stupid'', and ''keep coming back''. ...

Edited by John Dolva, 08 June 2009 - 04:56 AM.


#12 Stephen Turner

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 12:06 PM

John, I too have an addiction, Tobacco, I currently smoke between 12-15 a day. my Father,a fifty a day man, died ten years ago from lung cancer, and still I smoke, the irrationallity of addiction. ( I make the excuse that I work in a highly stressful job)

You have a unique voice and intellect, there is something of the poet about you, and you were realy missed when you ceased posting a while back. Draw strength from your loved ones, and friends, and also your faith. seek help, it exists you know.

Steve.

#13 John Dolva

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:31 PM

John, I too have an addiction, Tobacco, I currently smoke between 12-15 a day. my Father,a fifty a day man, died ten years ago from lung cancer, and still I smoke, the irrationallity of addiction. ( I make the excuse that I work in a highly stressful job)

You have a unique voice and intellect, there is something of the poet about you, and you were realy missed when you ceased posting a while back. Draw strength from your loved ones, and friends, and also your faith. seek help, it exists you know.

Steve.


Steve, it's been said that tobacco ranks (or rather nicotine perhaps) as one of, if not the, most addictive substances ever. I think it is a subtopic of importance all of itself, but perhaps the smoker can choose to not smokw for, say, two weeks? then report back. It would be interesting to know the various experiences.
Thank you for your kind words ( sheesh ... I thought I was the only one who knew that )
I missed not posting but it was a good experience that gave me a new perspective, so, (as we say here) its all good.
Ultimately the strength needs to flow from inside.

To get to such a space seeking help, take a leap, and as this thread is about, yes, the help exists, seeek it.You might find it.
Better than the alternative.

#14 John Dolva

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 05:02 AM

I think the tobacco issue can help many to understand.

Nicotine addiction is perhaps the most prevalent drug addiction in the world, and coffee perhaps ( remember the headaches? ). Therefore every smoker has an opportunity, or maybe has already tried, to see what addiction means by trying to giving up for a set period of time, I think two weeks should give most an idea.

A lot of the questions are given an opportunity to be answered as well.

I cannot, nor any other addict should, say that such and such has an addiction. It immediately disempowers the addict. The point is to have the addict admit it theirselves through their OWN knowing. This empowernment is going to be an essential tool in the batttle ahead.

Denial is perhaps enemy number one.

Thus a welcomed non judgemental admission by the individual, after sitting quietly in the corner listening to others admit gives confidence, and its when the personal, unforced admission occurs that the move towards clean living, and correct thinking really starts.

As far as speculation goes, personally, I think that : Evan: 'more "addicts" out there than most of us choose to acknowledge' is correct.

"If you can stop and start at your choosing, could you still be an addict?" yes and no. My first heavy dinking was a once off end of school blowout. When at uni, some semblance of duty kept me an occasional drinker for a while. After, once a week seemed quite sufficient. I lived in an atmosphere of activity and responsibility.

Later, in the eighties, the time came when you could have found me sitting nursing whisky bottle after bottle with no food in filthy clothing by the railway, until, when I was taken to a drytank for three months, my blood alcohol level was about 0.4. I had already, years previously stood up in AA meetings and ''admitted'' I was an alcoholic.

The REAL admission came late in life, about 6 years ago. And yet I had one major bust to come which was six months non stop of falling unconscious, waking up, having a shower, vomiting, and by then the bottleo was open, and my day repeated again, over and over. Then I gave up, and I thought that was it, an I was dry for 5 years, then something knocks me off balance, Im blue, I'm in a car late at night, alone, and there is a bottleo. : perfect combo. Two days of drinking, then all the messages given over the years gel, and a public, global admission follows. Thats how it has worked for me. Now, through Adans link, I'm a member of a global community and no longer feel alone.

_____________

Drawing on Gregs post : H.A.L.T. : Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Thirst.

If youre hungy you can eat food
If youre angry you can be so and talk to someone
If youre lonely call any one, pref your best dry addict friend
If you are thirsty have a drink

you dont HAVE to drink booze to solve these problems, you may if you wish of course, but sooner or later, hopefully you will come to know where that leads.

______________

And John, you ask questions that are so hard to answer.

Basically its about empowering the addict.

Many avoid destructive addictions and channel the same drive into productive things. I suspect that upbringing has a lot to do with this. I don't know, but i wouldn't be surprised if someone in your childhood genuinely cared for you and taught you some important things, planted some seeds, and that has stood the test of time.

_____________

Some might not come to discover an addiction until their wife has left, the house fallen down, the dog run over, and whatever.

Alone, the bottle may seem to hold a solution. But it can turn into a curse worse than anything else. Any time, any where.

____________

So ultimately, again, the provision of resources for youth and otherwise who might find themselves wondering is paramount.

Suggestions like Nathaniels, and others, are part of the things to do. Howver one must also consider worst case scenarios and wonder whether in some circumstances some things will be impossible and its then that the 'crunch' comes.

Edited by John Dolva, 09 June 2009 - 05:09 AM.


#15 Antti Hynonen

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:33 PM

http://alcoholism.ab...a/blwhatis1.htm
http://alcoholism.ab...a/blwhatis1.htm

I don't think I'm an alcoholic, however, I do consume alcohol on a regular basis (too often, according to guidelines). I often wonder where do you draw the line, when it comes to defining an alcoholic?

Is one an alcoholic when one can not cope with work and family due to drinking? Probably.
Is one an alcoholic if one drinks over 20-30 portions of alcohol a week, but does it in a social manner and copes well with work and social life? Probably not.

To me those are important questions, I fear it is an illness that can creep up on you, if you are not alert. I am at risk.

I have family and friends who are alcoholics, so I've seen what the disease can do. I hope there'll be some better ways to deal with this disease in the future, the current methods are not adequate imo.

We have our fair share of this problem here in Finland:


http://www.lfhk.cuni.....n Finland.ppt

Edited by Antti Hynonen, 09 June 2009 - 12:35 PM.





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