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A friend of mine did 11 weeks inpatient rehab for alcoholism. He started drinking again because of the lack of support and a sponsor. What should he do and what should I do?

You should, if you can, go to AA meetings with him every single day. One in the morning and one in the evening. Do it for at least a year. That will be a good start.

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Get the DVD Pleasure Unwoven, which approaches the question of whether addiction is a choice or a disease. It provides a very clear explanation of the current science of addiction. It should help to have a clear understanding of the nature of the beast. AA used to recommend a 90 meetings for 90 days. It turns out it takes 90 days for the brain to start creating new neural pathways. That's the start of actual healing. The meetings, and the readings, the journaling, and the sponsor ship are important for healing as well. The sharing of stories at the meetings provides initimacy, cautionary stories, and hope from those who intimately understand the struggle and the way out of the cage, and demonstration of the benefits of getting free. I've got some friends who have done very well with AA.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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A friend of mine did 11 weeks inpatient rehab for alcoholism. He started drinking again because of the lack of support and a sponsor. What should he do and what should I do?

He is not going to quit until he wants too. I hate to say it but until he embarasses himself so bad, or gets arrested, or gets the mother of all hangovers or even something life threatening. It took my best friend getting her keys taken away at a bar and having to call a different friend for a ride home. What was so embarrassing about it was I was without a car during the episode so we had to call the same friend and get a ride back the next day to get the car. It's been 9 months now and it does take a lot of support. I am her sponsor, you could be his sponsor. Does he believe in God?

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From personal experience, if you follow ANY program you will not have a lack of support. Most people at AA, NA, and at other types of recovery groups, usually go out of their way to help new people feel welcome. They pass out call lists and invite you to get a sponsor right away. Relapse is not uncommon, especially in the first year. It's not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get back up that count. The main thing is that the person who has the addiction has to put in a tremendous amount of effort to stay sober and the first year is especially hard because alcohol tricks the body into thinking it has enough dopamine and therefore it stops producing it. When a person stops drinking, besides the fact that they have to deal with not being able to check out, they are physically depleted of an extremely important neurotransmitter that basically makes you happy and gives you a feeling of well being. Sometimes knowing this information and knowing that within the first year your brain will normalize will give the person some hope to hang on. Sometimes short term anti depressant therapy helps. Antabuse pretty much assures that you will have a very bad experience if you relapse and is a good deterrent if you think you can manage a drink. Unfortunately some people need to just hit that bottom before they will really succeed and equally unfortunate is that the process can be artificially prolonged by people with good intentions who want to help and end up enabling non-recovery behaviour (obviously this is a very general statement and doesn't apply to every person or situation.)

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alcohol tricks the body into thinking it has enough dopamine and therefore it stops producing it
Ah, this explains why alcohol is so bad for my movement disorder (taking Nyquil caused one of the worst nights of my life).
Sometimes short term anti depressant therapy helps.
Certain supplements can help in the production of dopamine as well, though I don't know if they are effective for alcohol related dopamine needs. I take L-tyrosine to cover times when I've forgotten my meds, for example. IIRC, alcohol use creates a greater need for certain vitamins and minerals, it is important to get as good as nutrition as possible in any case of addiction to lessen the symptoms, but specifics for supplementing for increased needs probably vary. Edited by calmoriah
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The only thing that was difficult to for to drop, was when I was smoking and chewing. That was a double whammy of nicotine! And I started it when I was very, very inactive over 10 years ago or so. I just decided I couldn't be an active member and do that at the same time. I tried the patch, and it only worked for a while then I started chewing again. So, I decided to bring up the intensity on scriptures and gospel study and I found extra strength when I needed it. I used the new study with the patch and it worked really well. 3 months and I was done! I had cravings for nicotine for about a year. Then eventually all that went a way.

After I've been through that I'll say this, just like other experiences we go through - they do help us to become stronger. Mind you, I don't think Heavenly Father wants us to do things beyond what would naturally happen to us. But, if we are silly enough to try that sort of thing, and get hooked, we should view it as an opportunity to learn. Just today I was praying about my Job Situation, and the message came to me .... "You've gone through tougher things than this". He was right. Its nice to have the experiences I have had to help me gain perspective and confidence when trials happen.

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A friend of mine did 11 weeks inpatient rehab for alcoholism. He started drinking again because of the lack of support and a sponsor. What should he do and what should I do?

Please clarify,are you saying that the reason your friend started drinking again was because he lacked support and a sponsor? What role did he play in the return to drink? What were the triggers ,other than the lack of help?

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Ah, this explains why alcohol is so bad for my movement disorder (taking Nyquil caused one of the worst nights of my life).

Certain supplements can help in the production of dopamine as well, though I don't know if they are effective for alcohol related dopamine needs. I take L-tyrosine to cover times when I've forgotten my meds, for example. IIRC, alcohol use creates a greater need for certain vitamins and minerals, it is important to get as good as nutrition as possible in any case of addiction to lessen the symptoms, but specifics for supplementing for increased needs probably vary.

Yes, you are very right about this. Proper nutrition is vital for your body to have the best chance at making the neurotransmitters that are needed to get your brain back to "normal."

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