Overcoming Addiction

Healing through harm reduction

New Years and Alcohol

Will power is not the factor that determines whether or not a resolution succeeds or fails. The determining factors are planning, setting doable goals, getting support, and utilizing evidence-based change strategies. Read More

Alcohol Addiction

I am a recovered alcoholic. I picked one year clean and sober Aug. 8th of 2013. I needed treatment, and I go to my daily AA meetings. There was absolutely no way I could quit on my own. I drank from the moment I woke up until the time I passed out at night. I would go through a box of wine in a day and a half. I have suffered from brain damaged that left with my Epilepsy and amnesia. Depression from seizures took over my life. So I drank to numb that. I hid my drinking for many years, and got away with it because all the meds. I have been taking make me drowsy. So everyone just thought I was sleepy from meds. My body physically became addicted to it. I had to drink to get rid of the shakes so I could write my name. So I did need rehab, and I need my AA meetings to keep me sober one day at a time. This is what works for me though. If anyone is able to stop on their own well more power to them. This alcoholic needs a daily reprieve to be reminded of where I never want to go again, If I even have one sip of alcohol I will be off to the races, and I will pick up right where I left off. I left off being so drunk I ran into a piece of furniture and it landed on my head. I will be dead if I ever drink again. That would be getting off easy too. God forbid I kill one of my two small children at home or driving drunk. This is what works for me though.

I am happy to hear you are

I am happy to hear you are doing well--I have no argument with people who like AA. I also attempted going to AA, I was abstaining from alcohol when I first started going but was drinking a liter of whiskey a day by the time that I left. After I left and was no longer being told that I was powerless I started getting better. So it is also clear that AA can do a great deal of damage to many people.

The damage done by people abstaining?

I suppose that people staying sober in AA does do some damage.

Moreso would be the damage caused by those who can't control their drinking believing that they will have the hope of moderating if they follow directions to drink less and not engage in risky behaviors.

Telling them they should plan to stay out of trouble is worthless when the alcoholic has begun to drink and needs to finish out the drunk. Few are able to catch themselves and stop abruptly.

When you were putting away large amounts (long ago, you say), how did you react when someone tried to cut you off before you were done?

Did you courteously thank them?

Your encouragement to controlled drinking is directed to people with often many decades spent failing at that very thing. I place the responsibility for those they harm on you and those that support this idiocy.

HR is wonderful for needle exchange and switching around from heroin use. That's all about control and addicts are well grounded in that experience. Alcoholism is about a lack of control and the fantasy that there is a way that will allow drinking to continue.

Harm is what you are doing to alcoholics and those they negatively impact. Reduce that.

It would be really great if

It would be really great if AA were effective at helping people to stop drinking; however, the scientific research shows that AA is not more effective than no treatment at all. That is why harm reduction exists--to save the lives of all who are failed by the AA program.

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Kenneth Anderson, MA, is the founder of Harm Reduction for Alcohol and the author of How to Change Your Drinking: A Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol.

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