Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby LauraWeare » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:34 am

To answer the dementia question ... my friend has been a rageaholic for at least 40 years. His anxiety level has gone up now that he is trying to let go of rage as a coping mechanism.

BTW, I have great hopes for him with ACOA, and since the description of an ACOA pretty much matches the description of an alcoholic without the booze, I have found an ACOA inventory to be a useful supplement to my work in AA. (It's not about blaming mommy and daddy, it's about acknowledging the buried childhood feelings and finally moving past them.)
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby michmjon » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:14 am

LauraWeare wrote:To answer the dementia question ... my friend has been a rageaholic for at least 40 years. His anxiety level has gone up now that he is trying to let go of rage as a coping mechanism.

BTW, I have great hopes for him with ACOA, and since the description of an ACOA pretty much matches the description of an alcoholic without the booze, I have found an ACOA inventory to be a useful supplement to my work in AA. (It's not about blaming mommy and daddy, it's about acknowledging the buried childhood feelings and finally moving past them.)


With my father, we found some things to limit his rage attacks (I know the reasons behind the rage are different, but these suggestions may help.) The biggest help was keeping him away from television- particularly news shows. Next, if he suddenly goes into a rage attack AGREE with him- say you understand why he is upset while remaining calm- don't get into his reasons for being upset - just a "I understand why you are angry" may be the trigger to calm him down (it may take saying this a couple times and adding "I understand your reason for being angry and you're right so you can just put it to rest for now"). Third, try get him out of the house. Just a walk around the block or a trip to a park to take his mind off the rage. Fourth, find activities he enjoys and keep his mind busy. With my father, it's playing cards- a game of Hearts or a couple of rounds of Euchre. We also give him chores that require his attention.
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:02 pm

clouds wrote:I would just ask, does he have a desire to stop drinking? If he does, he is welcome at AA closed meetings.


No he's not. People belong in Closed AA Meetings who think they have a problem with alcohol, but have not yet figured out whether they are alcoholic, or have no desire to stop drinking. People don't belong there if they have problems other than alcohol, but have no problem with alcohol itself.

So by declaring that "a desire to stop drinking" is required to attend a Closed Meeting, we effectively exclude still-drinking alcoholics who don't know they're alcoholic, whilst including teetotal non-alcoholics who know they're not. The precise opposite to what we should be doing, on both fronts.

Neither party could join the group (3rd Tradition, Long-Form). But group membership is very different from meeting attendance.

That's not to say that anyone should make some silly public scene of ejecting a non-member. But AAs should not encourage Closed Meeting attendance for non-alcoholics. They have plenty of other places they could go, but alcoholics don't.

Of course he can go to all open AA meetings.


Yep.
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:32 pm

LauraWeare wrote:COULD he be a latent alcoholic?


To be alcoholic requires 2 conditions to coexist:

1. Physical allergy to (craving for) alcohol.
2. Mental obsession for alcohol.

If either component is missing, the short answer is "No".

Within AA, we find a solution to our common problem that works, and brings us a peace of mind which many of us never experienced even before we drank. We want to offer this serenity to all who suffer in this world, particularly those closest to us, which is a worthy cause. Unfortunately, one of the primary tenets of recovery in AA is Identification. Without identification with the problem, without that first Step, the individual is poorly-placed to embrace and experience AA's solution (and very badly placed to offer it to others who do suffer from the condition ... which is a fundamental component of sustaining the relief). So rather than be helpful to our nonalcoholic friends by bringing them into AA with good intentions, we may actually cause untold harm.

The individual is an ACOA. While we recognise symptoms akin to "alcoholic rage", and therefore feel that AA can help, the primary components are absent. This is not unlike a patient with a chronic breathing difficulty being told by a lung-cancer survivor that they need chemotherapy, whereas they're actually needing treatment for asthma... we recognise similar symptoms, but the treatment could be very different.

Here's hoping the individual can connect with recovered ACOAs in his area and find some relief from his symptoms.

We perhaps even feel a sense of guilt or responsibility for their symptoms. That's for us to address with our inventory, not to feel better at the possible expense of others' potential longer-term well-being.
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby emeraldg » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:16 pm

Brock wrote:In certain smaller areas like the one in which I live, all meetings are 'open.' We are happy to have a non alcoholic come as support to someone who feels they might be one, but it's for the first meeting maybe two at most. In smaller communities we see each other often outside of meetings, we encourage new people on this forum and elsewhere, who are scared of attending due to fear about their anonymity, by saying every one will be there for the same reason you are, it makes them feel safer. Also, there is a noticeable toning down of the honesty and openness I have seen in shares when a non alcoholic is present, we really must stick to our primary purpose.


Yes, I know I'm being entirely self righteous here, and I don't voice this opinion openly, but I certainly agree here. A small percentage of folks in AA believe that ONLY alcoholics belong in AA. I am not one of them as I myself am a cross addict, and find with such a stance as "alcoholic ONLY", we'd have very few members.That being said, i most certainly identify as an alcoholic, it took me to far deeper places than anything else did, including drugs. I also stick to alcohol in discussions, and when speaking, aside from the very brief mention on occasion that I also had a drug addiction. I also agree with the poster that mentioned non alcoholics looking for ways to improve their own programs of recovery. Because more and more I do see us straying from our primary purpose, and having those coming to closed meetings who are non alcoholic addicts, or just outside issues at all and do not identify as alcoholics. I don't even know what help the fellowship would be to these folks, but help is out there, in 12 step form. I also have a friend who reads AA's big book and has gained so much good from it, but as a self proclaimed non alcoholic or problem drinker, does not belong to the fellowship or attend meetings
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby emeraldg » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:26 pm

Lali wrote:To the OP, good luck with your friend. You sound like a kind person. It sounds like Al-Anon and ACOA would be good fits for him.

As an aside: I have also heard many people being told "Don't fear going to an AA meeting as everyone is there for the same reason" and I have told people the same. I would hate for anyone to be mislead. Though I tell many non-alkies that I am an alcoholic, people who don't want to do so shouldn't have to and should have a "safe" place to go. It's called Alcoholics ANONYMOUS for a reason. I'll get off my soap box now. By the way, my motives for anything that I share that could appear controversial to some, are out of concern for the newcomer.

Thanks for letting me share.


Absolutely. When I was a newcomer not that many years ago, I'd have run for the door if I knew there were people in the fellowship attending meetings I was at just because they were human and had problems like everyone else. I did not want to join a social club, I needed fellow alcoholics and the solution for alcoholism
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Noels » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:56 am

Aaaaaah c'mon!!! When I was a newcomer I wanted to run for the door ANYWAYS!!! Apart from that I was so "INVOLVED WITH MYSELF" that I wouldn't have known the difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic if they wore A5 size posters with words "I'm an alcoholic" and "I'm a supporter" written in red on them!

My "give a damn" is pretty short today and my "BS thermometer" way into the red so I apologize in advise if I'm stepping on toes.

have an awesome Friday

mwah xxx
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Brock » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:15 am

Aaaaaah c'mon!!! When I was a newcomer I wanted to run for the door ANYWAYS!!!

Having people there who might not respect the stated AA principle – “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions...” and making a joke of our membership requirement - “The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking...” is in my opinion a very valid reason to run for the door.
I wouldn't have known the difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic...

Of course not, that's what people who do know are supposed to protect us against. Other programs have copied our twelve step format to cover every problem imaginable, from cancer to stub toe, but they will say they prefer AA since it's better organized, and some of us want to say that's OK come in and have a cup of tea. Yet the moment an honest to goodness alcoholic complains that AA meetings in their area suck, the same folks will turn around and say stop complaining and start another meeting.
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Noels » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:23 am

Thanks Brock, I'm not disagreeing with what you say. I'm simply voicing my own opinion :D

Well Laura (original OP) then I'm sorry to be the bearer of this news but since your dear friend already associate with the mental part of being an alcoholic but never drank a drop in his life, he's gonna have to hit the pubs or bottle stores, buy a shaitload of booze, drink for weeks on end non-stop and crawl through the doors of AA just before his liver conx in. That way he'll prove to everyone at the meeting that he is indeed an alcoholic since it seems we are now also required to prove our alcoholism.

Don't feel that you've opened a can of worms honey. Worms are not necessarily canned anymore :lol:

Have a great weekend,

mwah xxx
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Noels » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:20 am

:D :D :D Okay I cant hold this up anymore :D :D :D

I did this deliberately to prove a point. First point being sharing our opinions rather than our experience can be exceptionally dangerous; Second point being that if we deliberately look for a loophole or an "excuse" we will ALWAYS find it; Third point being - the traditions can be played/set off against each other depending on individual interpretation. Perhaps that is why unity is suggested so strongly and lastly ...

thanks Brock, love you to bits! You ALWAYS get caught :D :D :D

Have an amazingly fabulous rest of the day and weekend!

mwah xxx Noels
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Brock » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:46 am

People try to have a reasonable discussion since this is a discussion board, nobody even hinted at “required to prove our alcoholism.” All that nonsense about crawling through the door just as your liver is on it's last legs, no need to exaggerate in a discussion, unless you realize you are farting against the storm of AA's stated objective.

And if everybody who “already associate with the mental part of being an alcoholic” were allowed in, as certain folks feel they should, that would be the death of AA as we know it. Once again, we have but one purpose as described in tradition five -
“Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose—that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

It does not say anything about “already associate with the mental part of being an alcoholic.” And while there is nothing wrong with “simply voicing my own opinion,” that opinion should at least have some similarity to AA's stated objective.
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby Noels » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:13 am

I deleted this post as it was unnecessary.
Mwah xxx Noels
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby emeraldg » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:33 pm

Brock wrote:People try to have a reasonable discussion since this is a discussion board, nobody even hinted at “required to prove our alcoholism.” All that nonsense about crawling through the door just as your liver is on it's last legs, no need to exaggerate in a discussion, unless you realize you are farting against the storm of AA's stated objective.

And if everybody who “already associate with the mental part of being an alcoholic” were allowed in, as certain folks feel they should, that would be the death of AA as we know it. Once again, we have but one purpose as described in tradition five -
“Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose—that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

It does not say anything about “already associate with the mental part of being an alcoholic.” And while there is nothing wrong with “simply voicing my own opinion,” that opinion should at least have some similarity to AA's stated objective.


Agree, I don't interpret or see anything written here that would indicate "proving" one's alcoholism to anyone but themselves. I see here a discussion regarding people who self profess not to be alcoholics or even heavy drinkers, or drinkers whatsoever. There is absolutely nothing wrong with "stopping in time", and only the individual knows if they have alcoholism, possibly pointed out by others, but not at all necessary. 3rd tradition states this clearly. I recall when I was first brand spanking new to the program, in a rather big city at that time. I had been called into work early, but desperately needed a meeting, so I told work that I had an appointment. As soon as I walked in, I saw a girl from work (I only worked with a handful of employees) at an open meeting. I turned around and left, I was terrified. She did absolutely NOTHING wrong- it was me, but just the thought that she may not have been an alcoholic crossed my mind, and I fled. The first and last time I wanted to run for the door actually, my experience was clearly different from Noels. Thankfully, this gal approached me after work one day, and we had a lovely discussion- she told me that she was not an alcoholic at all, but in fact was just bringing her brother to his first few meetings, and that was it. She also stated that she understood the anonymity principle, and that she would never repeat that she saw me at a meeting. I was so grateful to have that discussion with her! I would not have felt comfortable at ALL, even now, to share my experiences...if she were in the rooms just because she wanted to hang around the fellowship,make friends, was going through a divorce, or had rage issues, after explicitly telling me that she was not an alcoholic by her own admission. When I was new, I wanted and needed very much to hear other alcoholics share their experiences, strength and hope with me. To know I was not alone, that we had a common disease, and that there was a solution. I didn't care if they also had outside issues, in fact, that would have also been helpful to me, but yes I certainly would have cared to find out they were not alcoholics by their own admission. I know my isolation and desperation would have felt magnified. Because I remember my first meeting, sharing and crying with other women who had been where I'd been, their comfort, their strength...it really did keep me coming back. My experience as a newcomer was simply very different from Noels.
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby emeraldg » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:46 pm

Noels wrote:Thanks Brock, I'm not disagreeing with what you say. I'm simply voicing my own opinion :D

Well Laura (original OP) then I'm sorry to be the bearer of this news but since your dear friend already associate with the mental part of being an alcoholic but never drank a drop in his life, he's gonna have to hit the pubs or bottle stores, buy a shaitload of booze, drink for weeks on end non-stop and crawl through the doors of AA just before his liver conx in. That way he'll prove to everyone at the meeting that he is indeed an alcoholic since it seems we are now also required to prove our alcoholism.

Don't feel that you've opened a can of worms honey. Worms are not necessarily canned anymore :lol:

Have a great weekend,

mwah xxx


Many alcoholics did not go to these extremes before seeking help, so I don't see why a nonalcoholic would have to with their issues either
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Re: Can a geriatric teetotaler be a latent alcoholic?

Postby emeraldg » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:03 pm

"Having people there who might not respect the stated AA principle – “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions...” and making a joke of our membership requirement - “The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking...” is in my opinion a very valid reason to run for the door."

I remember a friend in the fellowship telling me this unbelievable story. One of her male colleagues (who didn't know she was in the program) was laughing about how him and his friends sometimes attend an AA meeting for their Friday night "guys night", even though they are not alcoholics, simply because they didn't feel like paying for coffee at Starbucks and often find the AA speaker's drunk stories to be hilarious and entertaining.
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