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Old 09-24-2008, 06:00 PM
 
Location: The 719
13,643 posts, read 21,494,218 times
Reputation: 13289

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Yes, AA works. But you have to belong to a strong group.

A good group will let you know the truth up front and tell you what you'll be expected to do. And their ain't no waiting around. They didn't wait around back in 1935 and there ain't no need to mess around now. It's life and death. I'll never lie to an alcoholic.

Get the Big Book out and show me where it says Day at a time. That garbage is not in there anywhere.

If you look back and archive posts on the program, you'll find a lot of negative stuff about a 5% recovery rate. That's probably true. But AA has a lot of non-alkies in it too.

I'll stand on my claim two posts back. Hope this clears things up.
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:22 PM
 
Location: KY
4 posts, read 19,078 times
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My liver's almost-demise got a rolling start in the SE & K-town in the late 80's and early 90's. I had a great time; I worked hard, played hard, forged a great reputation as one of the best in my business, and [made enough money to buy Miami] but the habit followed me back south and only got worse over time. Luckily I got a handle on it before I lost anything really important. I sure came close. I've got nearly three years under my belt now. Don't get me wrong. I miss - being able to have a beer, the craziness in town on a Friday night, or being up at the lake with all my friends and a big fire - horribly. I don't regret doing anything criminal or any arrests or anything like that, I'm not that kind of person. I do regret maybe not living my time there as fully as I could have, maybe I didn't do as many things as I could have, because I wasted even a little bit of time as an AUI. (Alaskan Under the Influence)

I'd love to come back up and live today what I did then, sans the alcohol. I think it would be a very different, even more successful and fulfilling experience. I would have done a lot more. I spent some time on POW, and nearly every other island between there and Kodiak, but way too much at the Arctic Bar. And the Sourdough, and the Foc'sle, and Sally's 108, etc., ad nauseum.

Anyway, and to the point, losing the booze probably won't hurt nearly as much as you think, especially considering the long run. On hindsight for myself (and probably a lot of my friends of the time), I figure if I/we had spent less time in the bars, hanging out with other persons of the that persuasion, I/we might've found even more success in our vocations, and maybe even have found nice, responsible members of the opposite sex worth hanging on to. I/we might still be in AK, doing my thing.

Don't know how long you've been up there, but if you're not on your game, it can be a tough place. You need an edge, and the drinking can readilly take that away.

Sorry to sound like I'm preaching... I'm just trying to let you know, from experience, it's not a bad thing at all. If I could turn back time and have your diagnosis, it might have been the greatest thing that couldv'e ever happened. Who knows???

Quick post script. Not to muddy the waters for or against anyone else's opinion or experience, but the AA thing, and the other related ongoing support programs are not for me. I can't handle being there, or with the people that are there. They did serve for a couple of months to explicitly demonstrate what my life could be like if I didn't straighten up however...
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Chicago 'burbs'
1,022 posts, read 2,978,630 times
Reputation: 720
I spent a week in the hospital with pancreatitis. They weren't sure what caused it. The only treatment was NO FOOD OR DRINK (even ice chips) until my labs straightened out. I went 6 days without any food or drink. Just IV fluids.

The one doctor told me not to drink for a year. I think he thought my pancreatitis was caused by alcohol. I did drink, but not heavily or daily. Mostly weekends with my friends. He said it is usually HEAVY drinkers that get pancreatitis.

My other doctor told me I could drink (in moderation) after I was feeling better. She believes (as I do) that my illness was caused by some viral infection. I had been having some stomach problems for about a month prior. I had stomach aches, nausea, some diarrhea off and on. Then came the horrid pain with high fever and vomiting that took me to the ER. They did a biliary scan (gallbladder), MRI, CAT scan, and TONS of bloodwork that they repeated 2X a day.

I have an occasional drink about once a month or so. I don't have any side effects from it. I wonder if we had different types of pancreatitis? Take your doctors advice. Get help if you cannot stop drinking.

BTW: Are your labs back to normal? Mine went completely back to normal about 3 weeks after I got out of the hospital.
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:03 PM
 
Location: The 719
13,643 posts, read 21,494,218 times
Reputation: 13289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyerdahl View Post
Quick post script. Not to muddy the waters for or against anyone else's opinion or experience, but the AA thing, and the other related ongoing support programs are not for me. I can't handle being there, or with the people that are there. They did serve for a couple of months to explicitly demonstrate what my life could be like if I didn't straighten up however...
Wherever you can find recovery, all the power to ya! The Program is not the only show in town.

For recovery, there are two obvious necessities; First, you have to need it, second and most important, you have to want it.

Add my opinion: These intervention shows make me sick. They've made a reality show out of the drama of it all. Here's my take on reality tv; reality is what happens when they shut the cameras off.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: KY
4 posts, read 19,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGowdog View Post
Wherever you can find recovery, all the power to ya! The Program is not the only show in town.

For recovery, there are two obvious necessities; First, you have to need it, second and most important, you have to want it.

Add my opinion: These intervention shows make me sick. They've made a reality show out of the drama of it all. Here's my take on reality tv; reality is what happens when they shut the cameras off.

I agree McGowdog! I'd only add one part to the statement. "You have to "Realize and Admit" you need it.

My thing is on my own. I realized all the things I may have or did lose in the past (who will ever know and a wife), what I was heading toward losing today (daughter, job, friends, home, other material things and my health). I like all those things too much, and I was starting to feel really crappy all the time. You can say I REALLY wanted it. My toes were touching the bottom.

About all I've done with others is just to change who I hang out with. I'm really active with others that go to my church now. I lead on kayaking and whitewater rafting trips, rock climbing and other outdoor sportsman hunting/fishing stuff. They don't know all that much about the dark side of my past, they don't need to. It's enough that I'm the wild man of the group, and they don't tempt me much!!!

Everything is cool now, and I know I can do whatever I set my mind to. I've already done the hardest thing ever. Life is great, and if it was any better, I'd have to have two of me to hold it all.

We may be spinning off on a tangent that Alaskagrl wasn't expecting. If need be, sorry! Please don't think that we're accusing anyone of having a problem. These are just stories of how we might've screwed up on our way to where we are now. Don't hesitate to get a second opinion from another Doc either, especially if you find yourself in Seattle or or other big town again.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Chicago 'burbs'
1,022 posts, read 2,978,630 times
Reputation: 720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyerdahl View Post

Everything is cool now, and I know I can do whatever I set my mind to. I've already done the hardest thing ever. Life is great, and if it was any better, I'd have to have two of me to hold it all.
I love hearing stuff like this!
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:39 AM
 
Location: SE Alaska
959 posts, read 2,070,581 times
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Thanks very much Heyerdahl. You sound a lot like me, except for the past couple of years, when I've really been moderating --not going to bars at all and, for the most part, not getting totally blitzed.

But--I think, given my reaction to being told not to drink, that I definitely have at least some dependancy on alcohol; mentally, if nothing else. When my life turns to crap, alcohol is usually there like a friend to turn to, able to take my mind off my problems and ease my conscience. That isn't the kind of person I'd really like to be. I figured I was better than that--more caring, more attentive to others--being without booze for a month now has brought some rather harsh truths to light--perhaps my life is just a tad empty.

I've been here for about 5 years (SE) so I have been in a couple "sticky" situations in the woods/on the water; you are right about booze not mixing. I generally drink nothing or very little on fishing/hunting trips, but I've been out there royally hungover a few times and it is NOT good.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:54 AM
 
Location: SE Alaska
959 posts, read 2,070,581 times
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Here's a kicker for folks interested in this:

I was diagnosed with Giardia (that you typically get from water that hasn't been filtered and has fecal matter in it, whether from animal or human) at the same time as being diagnosed with pancreatitis--but the conclusion for pancreatitis came first, before they tested a stool sample.

The symptoms are exactly the same--stomach pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, etc. etc.

Doc still says my blood work tells the tale about pancreatitis--however, he said my pancreatitis was "mild" given my ultrasound results, so perhaps there's hope for me.

Although, given my recent feelings when I believed I might never be able to drink again--I think I should examine that before I do anything different in my life.

Regardless, I think people should be aware of this potentially serious medical condition that can affect drinkers. It is a harsh reality to be told you have a condition which can kill --especially at a younger age. Most of us think we're invincible until something like this comes along--fact is, we're all going to die someday. I'd like to think the greatest joy and pleasure in my life came from something other than a bottle when my time comes.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:04 AM
 
3,869 posts, read 7,421,604 times
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[quote=Alaskagrl;5404560]Thanks for the responses.


loose c--what the heck is milk thistle and how does it work? I'm not super optimistic about herbal stuff.


It contains some plant ingredient called sylmarin which has been known to benefit the liver. Many drs. acknowledge and encourage taking milk thistle. It can be found at all drug stores.
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:17 PM
 
Location: The 719
13,643 posts, read 21,494,218 times
Reputation: 13289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyerdahl View Post
I agree McGowdog! I'd only add one part to the statement. "You have to "Realize and Admit" you need it...
My realization was that I have a craving/allergy (don't want to use the dreaded d-i-s-e-a-s-e- word here) to alcohol that comes before any family member when it wants to, and it will convince me that I'm just fine and the World is jacked up. But um, fistfights with doctors, cops, jail cells, hospitals, blackouts, sore hands, feet, arms, legs, head, back, and unexplained bumps bruises, and oozing contusions convince me otherwise... It may have a little something to do with drinking alcohol like a sweathog the night before...


The thing you have is frothy emotional appeal. Hey, if that works for you, go with it. The AA "morality" is does it work when the rubber meets the road? If it works for you, do it. But don't think your method works for all, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyerdahl View Post
You can say I REALLY wanted it. My toes were touching the bottom.

For some, there really is no bottom. Many alcoholics die in the 1st or 2nd stage of alcoholism before they ever get to the "gutter low bottom jaundice face" drunk. They may die in a car crash, a heart attack, suicide, fall down and bump their head... only 14% of alcoholics that die of that disease have that on their death certificate.

About all I've done with others is just to change who I hang out with. I'm really active with others that go to my church now. I lead on kayaking and whitewater rafting trips, rock climbing and other outdoor sportsman hunting/fishing stuff. They don't know all that much about the dark side of my past, they don't need to. It's enough that I'm the wild man of the group, and they don't tempt me much!!!...
That's all wonderful stuff. That all shows me you have power over alcohol; thus a hard drinker and not an alcoholic. Give us a buzz if you find you can't stay stopped or control the amount once you start- no matter the external circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyerdahl View Post
Everything is cool now, and I know I can do whatever I set my mind to. I've already done the hardest thing ever. Life is great, and if it was any better, I'd have to have two of me to hold it all...
Well, if it's so cool... what do you do to give back and show others like you how to live successfully? And I'm talking about other problem drinkers? If you've truly come from near-death, you can be uniquely helpful to a dying drunk, right? That's what the program is kind of about and based on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyerdahl View Post
We may be spinning off on a tangent that Alaskagrl wasn't expecting. If need be, sorry! Please don't think that we're accusing anyone of having a problem. These are just stories of how we might've screwed up on our way to where we are now. Don't hesitate to get a second opinion from another Doc either, especially if you find yourself in Seattle or or other big town again.
No need to apologize. We've been corresponding a bunch in DMs. Either I'm gonna scare her away with the solution I've found or run her to an easier softer way. Or I might make her think a bit and at least give it a try. Hey, what's she got to lose? Oh yeah, those dollar meetings and free coffee are such a burden!

As far as the second opinion with the doc, I agree. But whether or not she's an alky, nobody can tell her that. True alkies are like Irishmen. You can always tell em', but you can't tell em' much.

Last edited by McGowdog; 09-26-2008 at 04:42 PM..
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