Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

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Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby ZepTepi » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:34 pm

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question and if it's not if someone could direct me to where I should go I would greatly appreciate it.

I have a female friend, and acts from many years ago, who recently came back into my life and who is exhibiting signs of possible alcoholism and mental health issues. I know she had an accident when she was a kid that affects her memory and that's part of this but I also know she's been drinking a lot in the last app 6 months that we've been back in contact. The other night she got a DUI and blew a .33 which I know is close to a potentially fatal limit. I have another friend who is a recovering alcoholic with almost 20 years sober who told me that he didn't believe someone could blow .33 and have gotten in a car and driven if they weren't an alcoholic because most people would have been incapacitated at that blood alcohol level. I also know that in the time we've been back in touch we communicate a lot via Facebook IM and texting and there are times when her texts start having a lot of misspellings and are almost to bridge and although I haven't been able to have phone calls with her during those times to tell if she was intoxicated that's the only thing I can come up with to explain the misspellings. I've asked her about it and she's admitted that on some of those occasions he's been drinking but says she hasn't been drunk. She also said that she's been drinking heavily over the last month or two but that it's only been like that for that period of time and the she is it normally a heavy drinker. Messaged her this morning and told her that I believe she had a drinking problem and asked her to go to an AA meeting today and she didn't react well to me saying that. My whole reasoning for posting this today is because I'm trying to figure out if I can be sure she has a drinking problem or if I misjudged the situation and as she told me I am. How can I know for sure what this is and isn't and how can I know for sure if my trying to prod her into seeking help is the right thing to do?

The situation is convoluted more so by the fact that this is someone who wants to have a relationship with me again and who I love and would like that as well but I can't get into one with her if she has a drinking problem.

Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.

Mark in San Diego
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby Spirit Flower » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:31 pm

Go find someone else to have a relationship with.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby ZepTepi » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:47 pm

Spirit Flower wrote:Go find someone else to have a relationship with.


I'm not willing to have a relationship with her now anyway but we were friends before we were anything else and ass I want to understand if this is what it seems like to me and it is I want to support her rather than walk away from her. By support her I mean encourager her to seek help and discourage her from doing Behavior that just compounds a bad situation. Are you saying I shouldn't even do that but rather turn away from her as a friend?
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby tomsteve » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:17 pm

welcome,zep. its good to read of your concern for a friend.
one thing I used as an excuse to drink more? people tellin me I had a drinkin problem and tellin me what I should do about it. except for one occasion:
after my sons mom and I broke up for the last time( he was 4 years old) she came over my house one day to talk to me about how alcohol was getting in the way of my relationship with my son, which it was. it was the very 1st civil conversation we had. I agreed with her on everything. so, what did I say when she was done talking?
"im headin up to the store for a 12 pack. need anything?"
until I was ready for help, I wasn't ready for help. didn't matter what anyone said to me or what was happening to me- I wasn't ready until I was ready.
what im sayin is prodding doesn't really help. not sayin theres anything wrong with sharing a concern, but how its done can make a difference. not necessarily that that will help someone to make a decision to stop drinking,though.
even today, being a recovered alcoholic, I can only carry the message to another alcoholic. trying to carry the alcoholic only hurts me.
one thing alcoholics can be good at is denial. if someone were to ask me to go to an AA meeting while in active alcoholism, I would have gotten defensive,too- that's one of the traits of denial.

in all honesty, the best move ANYONE who was around me when I was drinking made was to walk away from me. I was only going to try and get em to join my pity party and drag em down with me.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby Brock » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:57 pm

Yes Zep, I agree entirely with what tomsteve has said regarding denial. For your own information here is a part from our main text book, this gives a description of three types of drinkers, followed by another section which suggests a sort of “test” to see if the person qualifies.
Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone. Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason—ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor—becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention. But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.

We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it
more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.

Below is a link to a standard AA document, which is often used for the person themselves to come to a conclusion. I personally see no harm in you sending her this, saying I care about you and not trying to push you into anything, words to that effect, you can just say it's something you found on line if you wish. If at any time she expresses that she might go to a meeting but wants your company, you can check online the AA meeting list for the area, once next to a particular meeting you see the word open, or sometimes just (o), it means non alcoholics can attend as support to the person who might have the problem.

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/is-aa-for ... can-answer

Best of luck to yourself and your friend.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby Layne » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:01 pm

Messaged her this morning and told her that I believe she had a drinking problem and asked her to go to an AA meeting today and she didn't react well to me saying that.

You reached out in an effort to help. If she needs help, she is not ready to accept it. There is a fine line between helping and enabling, so I would tread lightly on this very slippery slope with your friend. Al-Anon might be able to give you some good insight in this situation.

Kudos on your desire to help your friend, that is truly admirable. Also thanks for sharing with us, it made me reflect upon my own past when I was at the depths of my active alcoholism. My treatment of well intended friends who tried to help during this period was less than admirable to say the least. I don't live in the past, but I never want to forget it either. The past can be a powerful tool for growth when properly used.

Alcoholism is an ugly disease. Thankfully there is a solution to be found in AA.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby ZepTepi » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:20 pm

Thank you for your replies everyone. I've read them and taking them to heart.

This was her response to me when I told her I thought she had a drinking problem and encourage her to go to AA:

"I understand everything you are saying . But I really don't think you understand my situation. Yes t was drinking a lot the past month!!!! I admit that. I Don't need to drink ever . When I was staying with my mom for a month I didn't have one drop. When I was with you I had a glass of wine. Did I act like I needed more? NO! I made a huge mistake Mark. That doesn't mean I'm an alcoholic. You are taking this way too far. It's obvious you don't believe that I can go without a drink . I know there are many different types of alcoholics. I have been thru it with a few people myself. I also know a few people who have gotten Dui's and are not alcoholics. I am going to do what I need to do to take care of everything you don't have to worry about that . It makes me feel very good that you care so much about me to worry
Like this but you are overwhelming me right now. I Truly believe that you do not understand my situation at all."

"Obviously I scared you. I feel like you don't trust me enough to become mentally and physically healthy again. I meed support not lectures . You are right in many ways!!!!! But please give me a chance to make everything right ."

I need to think about the reasons I came to the conclusion she had a drinking problem before I say anything else to her at this point. I need to be sure I got that right.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby Layne » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:52 pm

I need to be sure I got that right.

Being right is way over rated. You had concerns. You expressed those concerns to her.

On a some what side note...a DUI and blowing a .33 would seem to indicate a problem of some sort. See above (You had concerns. You expressed those concerns to her).
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:55 pm

See if she can stay away from any mind altering substance for a year and mainly focus on how she handles life situations. Restlessness, irritability, discontedness, boredom, anxiety are some of the ways un-treated alcoholism could manifest.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby ZepTepi » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:18 pm

[quote="avaneesh912"]See if she can stay away from any mind altering substance for a year and mainly focus on how she handles life situations. Restlessness, irritability, discontedness, boredom, anxiety are some of the ways un-treated alcoholism could manifest.[/quote]

Ironically she has exhibited almost all of those things you listed in the short time her and I have been communicating again.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby ZepTepi » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:19 pm

I know a non-alcoholic trying to help a possible alcoholic can be problematic when it comes to things like not to be an enabler and I'm doing my best not to be that for her. Unfortunately going to an AA meeting with her isn't possible because I'm in Southern California and she's in Northern California otherwise I would definitely go with her and lend support if it was okay to do so. I spoke to a mutual friend a little while ago who confirmed to me that my friend has been drinking for many years and described her as an angry drunk when she drinks heavily. She also said that her husband who is also a mutual friend of the woman in question believes she may be suffering from early onset dementia so that complicates the situation even more. At this point, after also discussing this with my best friend who is a recovering alcoholic and the feedback you all have given me here I don't think I have any choice but to stop discussing the subject of her drinking with her and just be a friend without any of the romantic component and just hope for the best.
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:11 am

Ironically she has exhibited almost all of those things you listed in the short time her and I have been communicating again.


Unfortunately even in the meetings people don't talk about un-treated alcoholism/spiritual malady. Very few people do. For most people, its about losing control after they loose control. Many new-comers have the same idea, you see here? its from another board:

I know that I can't have just one or two glasses of wine, ever. Once I start I can't stop which is why I have to stay away.

All they can relate is the powerlessness after they take that 1st drink. Many don't realize that the mind would always trick them back into that first one and if you are alcoholic, you are going to be crazy as hell. If you are not, maybe person just has a drinking problem. Big difference.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:02 am

Also want to add, its probably the best to leave your friend with the idea that help is always available if she reaches up to people in the fellowship. I remember visiting India few years ago, there was this famous celebrity who runs a show on current affairs every week and that Sunday they aired about people in recovery and few interviewed shared their experience on how AA had helped them. Before-hand all the AA hot-line outlets were prepped and more volunteers were asked to support the anticipated surge in calls. Calls did come after the program aired. But it was mostly from friends and family of the drunks. Not a single alcoholic made a call. Thats the disease were are dealing with.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby Reborn » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:26 am

I will relate one of my many stories while I was out there drinking. After a night of heavy partying I woke the next morning and began to drink bloody marys. After 3 or so hours of this I drove to my cousins graduation party picking up a 12 pack on the way. I stayed at the party for a few hours and drank about 8 or so beers and drove back home. The next day I was at work feeling like S*** and I received an email from my brother. In a nutshell he said "I think you have a drinking problem"...because of how I acted at the party. This pissed me off to no end...I called him and gave a piece of my mind "how dare you say these things...you don't know what you're talking about!" We didn't speak for a few months because a)I didn't want to talk to him b)I said some pretty terrible things to someone who was just trying to help me. As others have said above no one could tell me anything about my drinking...I had to get there myself.

Avaneesh shared above about the restless, irratable and discontent feelings...that a person with an alcoholic mind will always find their way back to the drink...no matter how much they don't want to take that drink. Once I take any alcohol into my system I start to crave more(physical allergy)...but alcohol was my solution...the main problem centers in my mind...living sober was impossible. So as someone who has experienced people in my life who where just concerned trying to help me...I never once heard them out or thought about their concerns for very long. I have since talked to a few people (made Amends) who voiced their concerns while I was drinking and thanked them for loving me enough to tell me what I didn't want to hear. It takes what it takes for each of us to accept the solution that AA offers...but once we do fearlessly and thoroughly we find a life beyond what we could have imagined. If your friend is alcoholic I hope she gets there sooner than later...but you have to remember SHE has to get there.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Figuring out if someone's an alcoholic

Postby Noels » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:50 pm

At this point, after also discussing this with my best friend who is a recovering alcoholic and the feedback you all have given me here I don't think I have any choice but to stop discussing the subject of her drinking with her and just be a friend without any of the romantic component and just hope for the best.

Hi Zepi-Tepi, that's a good start. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to get the process rolling.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. :D

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