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LCSW-Therapy44529 karma

First off, congratulations on surviving and getting to be an adult! Well done! Under battlefield conditions I'm guessing.

This is a tough question because yes, there are tough days and there are good days but I'd have to say the real "this is what keeps me going" moments come years (and now decades!) after folks leave my office. It's when I hear from them that they are sober and now have 3 kids or when a new client tells me they ran into someone with tons of sobriety and gee, they think I'm the counselor that helped them.

It's also when I hear, "I relapsed but knew I could come back and we'd figure it out..."

Growing up in a family where alcohol controls the scene or being the one living with the problem is not easy so again, I really hope you're giving yourself a high-five for getting to the other side of your childhood.

And thank you for the question ~ it made me smile to remember some of the amazing humans who have crossed my path.

LCSW-Therapy44522 karma

First off let me start by saying that I'm sorry you've lost so many to alcohol abuse; that makes it especially hard to see it in yet another family member.

But, to answer your question ~ there is no one size fits all way to help someone get through the denial and see what you're seeing. A few suggestions to get you started however:
~ You can let them know, when they are sober, that you'll not be interacting with them when you suspect they are drunk or intoxicated. That's a hard boundary to hold but I am sure you can do it. An example of what to say might be, "I realize you don't believe your drinking is an issue but it is really hard to know when or if you're in a blackout. Actually, it's impossible to know. So, if I suspect you're using please know I'll be stopping our conversation until you're sober."

~ The driving is harder. And, as much as this might sound awful when you're outside of the situation, calling the police is the best thing you can do for them if they insist on driving. Be sure to have the make, model and plate number of their car if you go that route and know that it is NOT something some families can easily live with. So....

~ Another option is to let them know you'll drive them home or call them an Uber or cab.

~ My final suggestion for you is to seek out your own therapist or Al-Anon meeting for support. There are also lots of support groups online now that will be able to give you more suggestions.

I wish you the best for this situation and am impressed that you're seeking some support.

LCSW-Therapy44515 karma

Great question. Tough question.

To answer your question quickly here's the short answer ~ no. Once someone has crossed a line between, 'not a problem' and 'problem' there is no going back.

Longer answer:

There is no way to map out what course someone needs to take to get to a place where they are ready to stop and stay stopped. The natural progression of change is that we try to make the change, figure out what works for us (we think), we try the change and that lasts for some period of time. We "relapse", try again, hopefully learning from our previous attempts.

Dieting is an excellent example of this. We try to not eat sweets but then realize that's not really working so we switch to a low carb diet and, over time, we figure out what works best for us.

What I hear when someone says, "I refuse to totally stop" is that they don't have the evidence they need yet to make that leap to, "nope, that's not working for me anymore!" Even when they get that evidence they may still continue to try to do it differently this time. That's normal too.

There is something called the natural history of an addiction: it follows a pretty predictable path. And, to add to the stress, drinking problems have a way of fading into the background due to life circumstances, and then come roaring back to the front, when the circumstances allow for that.

Please don't be too harsh on yourself. What you need in a partner might not be something he can live with. And he may have some great qualities but the drinking is clearly occupying a lot of space in your relationship, and that's really too bad.

I would really encourage you to stick with the couple's counseling so you can decide, together, what the best course to take will be. Good luck!

LCSW-Therapy44514 karma

With the holidays coming up I know there is a lot of tension in some families and with individuals who want this year to be "different" but aren't entirely sure they can make that happen ~ years of past experience has shown them that the using sometimes takes a bigger stage than they want it to ~ so, ask me anything about how do this year differently or what it means to be in recovery...or how to get the help you might want.

LCSW-Therapy4459 karma

It's my pleasure! Al-Anon was started by one of the wives of the founders of AA so it's a good fit. Good luck!