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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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I'm concerned about my drinking and would like stop. Have

Resolved Question:

I'm concerned about my drinking and would like stop. Have read a few reports saying it's dangerous to quit completelly straight away. how do I go about doing it?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 7 years ago.

Good morning!

First of all, it would be impossible (and inappropriate) to diagnose you with having alcoholism over the internet. That can only be done by a licensed mental health professional after having seen and worked with you and completing some assessments. Within the parlance of the program of AA, however, "only you can know if you're an alcoholic."

With regard to medical treatment for alcoholism, most general physicians don't have sufficient training to address the problem medically. Even general Psychiatrists (medical) and Psychologists (non-medical) are often woefully undertrained in chemical dependency. You may wish to consider consulting with a Psychiatrist who has training or is identified as an Addictions specialist. Some medications currently in use for alcoholism or alcohol abuse include:

- Naltrexone (to reduce alcohol's positive effects);

- Antabuse (to reduce cravings for alcohol and to produce adverse effects if drinking occurs);

- Campral (to reduce cravings for alcohol if you've already stopped).

Even addictions specialists will tell you that, to be frank, a good alcoholic will always find away to "work around" medications and will resume drinking behavior.

With regard to treatment for alcoholism, scientific, peer-reviewed research indicates that the most frequent solution for alcoholism is "spontaneous recovery" - meaning that the individual stops or reduces consumption himself, without intervention... never to return to alcohol abuse or alcoholism. (Some question if these individuals are truly alcoholic.)

Despite the scientific literature, most experts will agree that AA is the best choice for treating alcoholism. Traditional psychotherapy has not been found to be particularly effective, nor has cognitive behavioral therapy or behavioral therapy to teach problem drinkers how to "control their drinking" (e.g., Sobel & Sobel).

As you probably know, AA is largely a spiritual program - and many individuals initially find the "God concept" difficult to grapple with. You've probably also heard that you can define God as you understand him. This isn't easy for most alcoholics.

I would encourage you to start attending AA meetings. You should watch for the people you see there... and look for the similarities, not the differences. You may find yourself wondering about someone there who seems to say things that make sense. She may be older or younger, an alcoholic or an addict, but she looks happy and talks about recovery. It's your job to approach this person and ask her to be your sponsor. AA works, but it is a "we" program, not an "I" program. If you're willing to accept the hands that are being offered to you, you may well find yourself on a journey that will not only help with your alcohol problem, but may help with your sober problems as well.

Finally, if you can do nothing else, remember the big four (taken from the story "JOIN THE TRIBE" in the 3rd edition of the Big Book):

- Don't pick up;

- Go to meetings;

- Get a BIG BOOK and read it;

- Find a sponsor and talk to her.

These are considered the keys (along with the 12 steps) of recovery within AA.

In case you haven't checked, there are AA meetings around the clock all over the world. Check out: to find one near you.

The AA website would also have literature such as "The Big Book" ( ) and Alanon literature for those in relationships with alcoholics.

I *do* wish you the best of luck in your struggles. Alcoholism is "cunning, baffling, and powerful." I hope you find the patience, strength, courage, and discipline to address these concerns. You deserve it!

* FEEDBACK ENCOURAGED. Please contact me prior to leaving negative feedback so that we can resolve the matter. I am eager to work with all JA clients to provide them with useful/helpful answers. Thanks again.

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