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How I Stopped Drowning in Drink
Wall Street Journal ^ | March 16, 2012 | Paul Carr

Posted on 03/18/2012 3:47:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway

What's the secret to getting sober and repairing the other broken parts of an alcoholic's life? It starts with setting your own terms, writes Paul Carr.

For years I'd told myself I wasn't an alcoholic. I never drank alone. I didn't wake up with fierce cravings, and sometimes I went for one or two days without drinking. A need to drink all day, every day, was never my problem.

My problem was that once I had a drink—whether it was at 7 p.m. or 9 a.m.—I couldn't stop until my body shut down and I passed out in a pile on the floor. I still had plenty of friends and still managed to hold down a job, but my relationship with alcohol was very obviously different from most people's. I was an alcoholic.

As of Saturday, the counter on my website says "878 days." Eight hundred seventy-eight days since I had my last alcoholic drink. Eight hundred seventy-eight days since I declared—very publicly—that my drinking had passed the point where it was funny, crazy or even merely dangerous. In fact, my addiction to alcohol had reached a stage where it was highly likely to kill me.

Enough was enough. So I decided to quit. But I didn't do it in the typical way.

For one thing, I didn't go to Alcoholics Anonymous. Not a single meeting. I have several friends who attend AA and have found it to be a highly effective way to quit. I have plenty of other friends who attend AA meetings every morning and are blind drunk every night. I almost attended a meeting at the suggestion of a friend, but first I decided to read the organization's Twelve Steps, the program that members must follow. The first step was enough to confirm that this form of

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Health/Medicine; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: addiction; alcohol; alcoholism; whiteknuckle
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1 posted on 03/18/2012 3:47:36 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

“once I had a drink—whether it was at 7 p.m. or 9 a.m.—I couldn’t stop until my body shut down and I passed out in a pile on the floor”

Why do some assume that _everyone_ responds to alcohol this way?


2 posted on 03/18/2012 3:51:52 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: nickcarraway

Yeah, it’s tough. I cut myself off and only drink beer on weekends.

Once you take that first drink, it usually leads to you passing out somewhere till morning.


3 posted on 03/18/2012 3:52:00 PM PDT by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
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To: struggle

Nothing wrong with a nice glass of wine with dinner so long as you can recognize when you’ve had enough. If you can’t, you’re in trouble.


4 posted on 03/18/2012 3:58:31 PM PDT by rickmichaels (A proud Canadian who loves the USA)
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To: ctdonath2

I don’t understand your question.


5 posted on 03/18/2012 4:00:23 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: nickcarraway

Interesting read. I don’t think it would work for everyone, but AA doesn’t work for everyone either.


6 posted on 03/18/2012 4:01:53 PM PDT by Volunteer (Though I know that the hypnotized never lie, do ya? - The Who)
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To: nickcarraway

I have a different kind of a “problem with alcohol”. It gives me a headache. I don’t mean a headache the next morning like a hangover. I mean almost immediately after taking even a sip. It used to take a glass of wine, then a half a glass and now even a small sip gives me an immediate headache. I finally stopped trying, when every one else is having a blast, I am sitting there with a Diet Coke.


7 posted on 03/18/2012 4:03:39 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Ditter

You should try popping pills. (j/k)


8 posted on 03/18/2012 4:04:51 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: nickcarraway

When I was about 19 I woke up saturday morning turned on bugs bunny and popped open a cold bud...

I was sitting their watching cartoons drinking a beer at 8 am in the morning and realized I had a problem

What scared me was it was so naturally didn’t think twice about it

I stopped drinking for 5 years...

Still can buy a case (not Bud) and it will long me a month


9 posted on 03/18/2012 4:06:27 PM PDT by Popman (America is squandering its wealth on riotous living, war, and welfare.)
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To: nickcarraway; Lazamataz

Although I am happy this guy has stopped drinking. 2 1/2 years is not that long of a time in the scheme of life.

Why people like him need to tear down AA is astounding to me. AA is the most successful program for alcoholics. Tried and true. I laughed when he scoffed at the idea of powerlessness.

If I were a betting man, I’d say without a support system this man will probably drink again. I truly hope he doesn’t. Declaring you are an alcoholic publicly... Even writing a book will mean nothing when you
become powerless (there’s that word again!) over the first drink. But judging by his story, he is pretty full of himself. A dangerous state of mind for an alcoholic.


10 posted on 03/18/2012 4:07:28 PM PDT by Hildy ("When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - SocratesHill not text while dri)
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To: EEGator

I have a lot of allergies to medications, I am sure that is what is going on with alcohol, so I would never “pop a pill”.


11 posted on 03/18/2012 4:07:39 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: ctdonath2

Who said everyone responds that way? Nobody did.


12 posted on 03/18/2012 4:08:27 PM PDT by Hildy ("When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - SocratesHill not text while dri)
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To: ctdonath2
Nicely put....I enjoy my evening Bourbon and Coke...far more Coke than Jack , mind you, but this has been a part of my lifestyle for a very long time. I believe in the words of the good Book, "Everything in moderation."

However, I frequently have to ask redemption for my additive visits to FR. Please, no interventions...It won't go well!

13 posted on 03/18/2012 4:08:44 PM PDT by IrishPennant (Are you behind a "Blade of Grass?")
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To: Ditter
I am sitting there with a Diet Coke

I didn't know candy cane came in diet form.

14 posted on 03/18/2012 4:10:20 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: ctdonath2
Why do some assume that _everyone_ responds to alcohol this way?

Who assumes that?

Most people don't respond to alcohol that way and I don't think the majority of people assume they do.

Saying that, there really are some out there don't know how to drink in moderation. Many of these folks may not even have a noticeable problem because they don't indulge very often, but when they do they get hammered drunk instead of just consuming enough to take the edge off.

I don't have that problem, but I think I at least understand the feeling. I don't drink much, am not the kind of person who wants a couple of beers after work or whatever. For me, if I am going to drink I generally intend to make sure to get a serious buzz out of it. 1 or 2 drinks just makes me tired, several makes the effort worthwhile. Thankfully I don't like being too drunk so I never took it to extremes like the author of this article did. I could never have a drinking problem because I am too lazy to deal with hangovers anyway.

15 posted on 03/18/2012 4:10:30 PM PDT by Longbow1969
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To: nickcarraway

For adults with addictions, the most effective program is Teen Challenge. Despite its name it’s for adults. Faith based, it’s a 12 month residential program.
http://teenchallengeusa.com/


16 posted on 03/18/2012 4:11:11 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: Hildy

Oh BS, I can stop drinking anytime I want, I’ve done it a hundred times!


17 posted on 03/18/2012 4:12:47 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Revolting cat!

They cut it with more laxative than usual. You use Euros huh?


18 posted on 03/18/2012 4:14:03 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: Ditter

I was making a joke, thus the j/k. (just kidding)


19 posted on 03/18/2012 4:14:59 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: Ditter

Are you sure it’s the alcohol? Wine has stuff in it besides alcohol that does (to some people) what you describe.
What if you have a vodka/soda?


20 posted on 03/18/2012 4:15:41 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: eastforker

Lol.


21 posted on 03/18/2012 4:16:05 PM PDT by Hildy ("When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - SocratesHill not text while dri)
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To: nickcarraway
This guy hasn't had a drink for 2-1/2 years - good for him, but hardly makes him an expert, which is what he seems to think he is now.
He may very well make long-term sobriety - but I wouldn't look to someone with two years of sobriety for serious help with a drinking or drug problem.
22 posted on 03/18/2012 4:16:29 PM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: nickcarraway

I’m allergic to people and situations that drive me to drink.


23 posted on 03/18/2012 4:17:23 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Hildy

All joking aside, some people are functional alcoholics, whithout it they can not function. I know several like that.


24 posted on 03/18/2012 4:19:23 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Hildy

Actually he didn’t tear down AA. And actually AA’s stats aren’t any better than anybody’s elses. No program out there works for more than about 1/10 of the people. Everybody is different, AA style would drive me nuts, too much spending time with other people, too much “sharing” (I hate discussing my own problems, gives me a rash). For some people that’s perfect, I’d rather be addicted to the entire drug store than 12 step.


25 posted on 03/18/2012 4:20:17 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: Hildy

I wouldn’t tear down AA for any reason but a program with a well documented success rate of 5%-10% at best shouldn’t be bragging. I’ve never been to an AA meeting but also haven’t had a drink, or wanted one, in 35 years. I know an AA member, 6 years sober, who assures me I’ll fall off the wagon without AA but 35 years is a long time just to be lucky. I think I know what I’m doing and sobriety is way better than insanity.

Best of luck.


26 posted on 03/18/2012 4:20:33 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (No wonder this administration favors abortion; everything they have done is an abortion)
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To: loungitude

Anything does it, wine, or liquor and beer makes my throat close up AND gives me an immediate headache. In fact the headache thing started out with beer so I figure that wine and liquor will close my throat up too if I keep on giving it a chance. So I don’t ! I have just as much fun as everyone else and I am sought after because I am the designated driver.


27 posted on 03/18/2012 4:23:08 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Ditter

Are you of Asian ancestry? A lot of north Asians have that response to alcohol.


28 posted on 03/18/2012 4:23:52 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (No wonder this administration favors abortion; everything they have done is an abortion)
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To: nickcarraway

The author did well, and got himself some income from it in the end. If he begins drinking moderately, he’ll do OK, as one is not a powerless alcoholic for life as AA (protecting its own interests) insists.


29 posted on 03/18/2012 4:24:19 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Revolting cat!

Heaven only knows what that kind of Coke would do to me, so no thanks.


30 posted on 03/18/2012 4:25:21 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Hildy

I don’t particularly care if he does tear down AA. Those that read this, try it his way, and fail, will go to AA. Those that read this, try it his way, and succeed, won’t. It’s okay either way, I figure.

Of course, by NOT going to AA and working the Steps, this guy will still have all of the character defects that seperate him from God. He’ll still be the Director of HIS movie, not a bit-player in God’s. He may never know the true joy of being entirely of service to others. He will remain self-centered and self-seeking.

And THAT is a fate worse than drinking.


31 posted on 03/18/2012 4:25:29 PM PDT by Lazamataz (Shut up and drill.)
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To: Ditter

Best to you. You’ll be healthier and richer, too. Alcohol is hard on the system.


32 posted on 03/18/2012 4:26:44 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: discostu
I'd rather be addicted to the entire drug store than to AA

Only a person who has never felt the ravage of drug addiction would say such a thing. I pray you never do.

33 posted on 03/18/2012 4:28:10 PM PDT by Hildy ("When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - SocratesHill not text while dri)
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To: muir_redwoods

No, pure English as far as I can tell. I had never heard that about Asians before.


34 posted on 03/18/2012 4:29:10 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Revolting cat!

I will say this just once as you apparently know nothing of alcoholism... An alcoholic can NEVER drink moderately. if he can, then he isn’t an alcoholic. It’s as simple as that.


35 posted on 03/18/2012 4:31:01 PM PDT by Hildy ("When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - SocratesHill not text while dri)
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To: nickcarraway

Anyone who is able to get and stay sober, no matter what their method, deserves congratulations. That said, I’m not sure his methods will work for most people. I don’t think AA is necessarily the solution either (particularly if you don’t believe in any “higher power” to call upon).

Personally, the only method I know is surrendering to Jesus Christ and letting Him change you (which is similar to some of AA’s steps but not completely). And there are some people who have developed such a physical addiction that they may need some form of hospitalization or other temporary restriction on their freedom to “dry out” before they can seriously move forward on the rest of their treatment.


36 posted on 03/18/2012 4:31:27 PM PDT by OrangeHoof (Obama: The Dr. Kevorkian of the American economy.)
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To: discostu

Now that is FUNNY.


37 posted on 03/18/2012 4:32:02 PM PDT by patton (DateDiff)
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To: Lazamataz

I don’t care that the state requires AA fo alcoholic offenders. MADD has gotten a toe hold, no, a foot hold in deciding what the courts mandate.They should not have a say what the courts should administer as punishment for an offender in an alcohol involved case.


38 posted on 03/18/2012 4:33:11 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Hildy

I worked bars for years and knew alcoholics, dead alcoholics, and recovered alcoholics who drank moderately.
Your cliched AA mantra isn’t very persuasive.


39 posted on 03/18/2012 4:33:56 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: eastforker

True that. But most of the court system has lost it’s sanity a long time back.


40 posted on 03/18/2012 4:35:02 PM PDT by Lazamataz (Shut up and drill.)
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To: Revolting cat!

I am not trying to pursuade anyone. Knowing alcoholics and being an alcoholic are different things. like I said, I hope you never experience the ravages firsthand.


41 posted on 03/18/2012 4:37:45 PM PDT by Hildy ("When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - SocratesHill not text while dri)
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To: Hildy

Hildy you are so wrong on that comment. There are many functional alcoholics in this world. I know, I would probably be considered one. Doesn’t a day go by I don’t have drink, some days more, some days less, I doubt I could function with out it.


42 posted on 03/18/2012 4:38:02 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Revolting cat!

The problem with your theory is that a real alcoholic/addict cannot partake moderately. Returning to his/her drinking/drugs/whatever addiction may begin with moderation, but it won’t last long.


43 posted on 03/18/2012 4:38:30 PM PDT by EDINVA
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To: discostu
Everybody is different, AA style would drive me nuts, too much spending time with other people, too much “sharing” (I hate discussing my own problems, gives me a rash). For some people that’s perfect, I’d rather be addicted to the entire drug store than 12 step.

AA helped me a lot. I also went to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) which was helpful. I think the problem some people get into is that AA/NA becomes a religion for them. To them, anyone who doesn't go to a meeting every day isn't sober/clean.

But I would never discourage anyone from going who wants to get clean. All rehab does (unless it is inpatient) is drain your wallet while they tell you to go to 12 step meetings.

Inpatient rehab is a different story, but most people can't afford that today, and most insurance will balk at covering it.

44 posted on 03/18/2012 4:39:42 PM PDT by Hacksaw (It's too bad Rick had to kill Shane (Walking Dead))
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To: EDINVA

You guys are so full of crap it’s pathetic, many alcoholics maintain daily!


45 posted on 03/18/2012 4:41:07 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Hildy

Only a person who’s never been in a situation where they are supposed to share and found themselves incapable of even opening their mouth would say that. We ain’t all wired the same, some folks can control their drinking, some folks can discuss their problems. My first panic attack happened in a shrink’s office, and I was there voluntarily, think about that.


46 posted on 03/18/2012 4:41:33 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: Lazamataz
"He will remain self-centered and self-seeking."

Laz, sometimes you make so much sense, it scares me.

47 posted on 03/18/2012 4:44:00 PM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: Revolting cat!; Hildy
The author did well, and got himself some income from it in the end. If he begins drinking moderately, he’ll do OK, as one is not a powerless alcoholic for life as AA (protecting its own interests) insists.

Not quite: If one is not powerless over alcohol, then the statement "we are powerless over alcohol" is, of course, not true.

However, for those of us that are powerless over alcohol, that statement is true.

And the Big Book actually invites you to find out for yourself which group you are in:

"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."

So, if a person wishes, AA invites them to discover if they are, or are not, powerless over alcohol.

48 posted on 03/18/2012 4:44:43 PM PDT by Lazamataz (Shut up and drill.)
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To: eastforker
Hildy you are so wrong on that comment. There are many functional alcoholics in this world. I know, I would probably be considered one. Doesn’t a day go by I don’t have drink, some days more, some days less, I doubt I could function with out it.

My ex told me that shortly before she wrecked her car and later lost her job (which somehow was my fault). From what I have heard, she's found a way to function without it since.

49 posted on 03/18/2012 4:44:43 PM PDT by Hacksaw (It's too bad Rick had to kill Shane (Walking Dead))
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To: Hacksaw

I think the point of the article, especially if you get to the end, is to encourage people who’ve found AA doesn’t work for them. Because there’s this big crowd of people who insist the only way is the AA way, and the success rate is no better than any other program, it could become very discouraging to the folks who can’t work the program. The tragedy would be the ones for whom AA doesn’t work (which by most stats would be 90% of the people or more) thinking that means they’re doomed. There’s a path for everybody, they just gotta find it.


50 posted on 03/18/2012 4:46:07 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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