How About Just One?

It’s the Holidays. How About Just One? by Jim Atkinson

I had my last drink nearly 16 years ago, so you’d think I would have assimilated pretty much every bit of unpleasantness associated with clean and sober life in a society that remains thoroughly sodden with alcohol. But I still can’t quite handle the holidays.

It’s not that I’m driven to drink; just to a certain uncomfortable distraction that doesn’t leave until the holiday season thankfully does.

If I decided to take a drink at a party, I might be able to tough it out for that night, but I know that the next day, another drink would be someplace in my mind. That someplace might be a manageable place, but would it be worth the considerable hassle of having to think twice every time I took a sip?

Besides, my newly wired brain doesn’t really have the interest to try. I’ve worked too hard at this, learned too much, have too much pride in accomplishing something that a lot of folks with this problem don’t – a solid sobriety that has lasted at least as long as my addiction did – to risk a relapse.

Related: Alcohol Rehab LinksBetty Ford CenterEva Mendes on Rehab

The Discovering Alcoholic

photo of the discovering alcoholic

The Discovering Alcoholic is the blog of a “recovering alcoholic clean and sober without relapse since the fall of 94”

I am a member of a substance abuse task force, hold a recovery class every week at a local methadone clinic, always have at least one or two alcoholics/addicts to which I act as a sponsor, and of course there is TDA. I have found through my efforts of attempting to help others that my own spirituality, confidence, and appreciation of life greatly increases.

The key is to know oneself better, understand what pulls the trigger, and to adapt one’s lifestyle and actions into a preventative maintenance program. And it’s not only about staying sober; When you apply these same lessons and the confidence gained in recovery to other aspects in life (business, relationships, parenting), you cannot but help to feel empowered.

The author does a good job of sharing his journey in daily posts. Here is an example:

These meetings have also been a blessing to my own recovery, but never so much as today. Today was very special, I did not have a great topic, no announcements, in fact I didn’t even speak. This was because today the meeting was not “mine”, it was theirs. A patient (and good friend) led the meeting today and he looks like only one of many that are ready to take up the mantle. So here’s a TDA Salute to a new recovery community and especially to those that have begun to act as beacons in their own right, illuminating the path of recovery for those at sea.

Related: National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery MonthQuitters: USA Alcohol Consumption DecliningPiano Man Rehab

National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Voices of recovery, Sissy Napalapalai, Donald Kurth, M.D., Patti Oest:

The Feds sent me to Rehab and I learned of Drug Court and wondered why didn’t the Feds have a program similar to this one??!! My prayers were answered and was offered a chance to be the very first participant in a pilot program called PADI (pronounced just as my name sounds!) Court. This program saved my life and allowed me to be with my children. I started dating my husband, got married, and had another daughter. When my daughter was born, I began thinking about what I wanted to pursue for a career. I did some soul searching, and thought about how the Feds saw something in me worth saving and how I may be able to help others the way I was helped (saved). Whenever I thought about possibly being a substance abuse counselor I felt a passion burn within. I knew that is what I needed to do. I went through an accredited program for drug and alcohol counseling training (DACT).

Related: Center for Substance Abuse TreatmentCalifornia Drug Rehab CentersStudy: Drug Treatment Success Rates in England

Quick Stats on Binge Drinking

From the Center for Disease Control (Aug, 2008):

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours. Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent.

* Approximately 92% of US adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days
* Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults over age 25
* The rate of binge drinking among men is 2 times the rate of women
* Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers
* About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks
* About 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks
* The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18 to 20 year old groups (51%)

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including but not limited to

* Unintentional injuries (e.g. car crash, falls, burns, drowning).
* Intentional injuries (e.g. firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence).
* Alcohol poisoning.
* Sexually transmitted diseases.
* Unintended pregnancy.
* Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
* High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
* Liver disease.
* Neurological damage.
* Sexual dysfunction.
* Poor control of diabetes.

Evidence-based interventions to prevent binge drinking and related harms include

* Increasing alcoholic beverage costs and excise taxes.
* Restricting the number of locations that sell alcoholic beverages in a given area.
* Consistent enforcement of laws against underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving.
* Campus-based strategies to reduce high risk drinking among college students.
* Physician screening, counseling and/or referral for alcohol problems.

Related: Robin Williams Reflects on RehabUSA Alcohol Consumption Declining

Piano Man Rehab

photo of Billy Joel

Singer Billy Joel spent time at the Betty Ford clinic for alcoholism treatment in 2005.

Billy Joel leaves US rehab clinic

Singer Billy Joel has left a Californian rehabilitation clinic where he was being treated for alcohol abuse. His publicist confirmed that the 55-year-old had now checked out of the Betty Ford clinic, in Rancho Mirage, where he had spent 30 days.

Photo taken on November 14, 2007.

Piano Man Finds Inner Harmony

“I’m just not drinking,” says the Piano Man – who had struggled with a love of bottles of red and bottles of white. “I don’t know if I will never have a glass of wine again for the rest of my life, but right now I am not taking any chances. “There was a time in my life when I was drinking too much, and so I have stopped,”

Related: Piano Man: The Very Best of Billy Joel52nd StreetAging of the Population in RehabThe Stranger

Meg Mathews’s Life After Rehab

photo of Meg Mathews

Meg Mathews’s life after rehab

a radical lifestyle change in the wake of a bout of depression and a spell in rehab, about which 42-year-old Mathews is talking for the first time now. “I was drinking too much and it wasn’t having a good effect on me,” she says haltingly. “I was screwing up the whole time over things that I clearly needed to sort out. So I booked myself into rehab and suddenly all this stuff I hadn’t dealt with came tumbling out.”

Like what? She fidgets, pulls a face and, without answering, gets up to fetch herself some water, clearly unhappy. Later, returning to the subject, she says: “I hadn’t dealt with my divorce… I mean I was heart-broken about me and Noel but I never… I couldn’t let anyone see how badly it hurt me — not the press, God! — so for five years I pretended that it didn’t matter. I had to learn to let all that go, all the anger and bitterness and emotion.”

“I did two months of rehab to let all that go. If I hadn’t done that, I might still be sitting here going, that w****r Noel Gallagher, but I’ve let it go. When I see him, I feel no emotion, no feelings, which is amazing because before I’d be full of it. Now, I can sit and chat with him like a normal adult. But we don’t have anything in common any more — except our precious beautiful daughter. I’ll always be grateful to him for her.”

photo: Meg Mathews supports Mind week 2007