When a problem drinker begins to realize they may be depending on alcohol as more of a crutch than refreshment, they tend to begin questioning whether they actually need alcohol – can they take it or leave it? Most will deny they have a problem and continue drinking but exercise more control over it. This will go on until the next alcohol induced guilt trip grips the problem drinker and they begin the mind games all over again. When you only have yourself to discuss these issues with, continued drinking will almost always have the upper hand. Problem drinkers will play this game with themselves, and it is a game with a clear winner and loser, unless something influences a change. One example of such an influential change could occur if a police spot check stopped you after a night of drinking and you were asked to give a breath sample. If when administered, it resulted in a ‘green’ light on the breathalyzer and you know you dodged a bullet, this might indeed scare you enough to attempt a shot at abstinence.
The first day of your new found dryness finds you hung over which isn’t that unusual after a night of drinking – good thing you ate something from the midnight buffet and stayed to help clean up afterwards! You are short tempered with those around you, and your hands tremble ever so slightly but you make it through the fist 24 hours of sobriety and you are well on your way to achieving your goal of not drinking alcohol. Proving you don’t have a problem was easier than you thought it would be.
Your job as a real estate agent means you have free time on your hands at certain times of the day and you play on the Board hockey team. It’s enjoyable since you love hockey, and after the game you have two or three beers with the boys in the locker room. Today you make an excuse and leave early and resent the loss of a thirst-quenching beer or two. At home after dinner your wife makes a drink and relaxes into conversation about her day, and all you can do is think about having a drink with her.
This goes on for another two weeks when you finally allow yourself a drink to celebrate the sale of a client’s house with them. They insist you have a glass of their favorite Brandy. You agree even though you dislike brandy and tell yourself you’ve made your point – you can take alcohol or leave it. Tonight you just decided to take it. After leaving your client’s home you could kick yourself because you normally make it a point never to drink with a client, yet tonight you did. Did you miss drinking that much that you broke a major rule of professionalism?
It’s now been 2 years since you celebrated that sale with the clients and this morning your boss called you into his office and closed the door. He tells you he already knows why you are missing mandatory breakfast meetings and that he received a call from prospective customers who said they could smell alcohol on your breath when you toured their home to give them a price evaluation. He tells you he suspects you may have a drinking problem since you come into work looking hung over, and he tells you to clean up your act or find another real estate office to work at. You get defensive and deny there is a problem and that you’ve occasionally drank too much but that you can quit at anytime. He sarcastically suggests that now would be a good time and sends you on your way.
You’ve quit alcohol several times before cold turkey and you’ll do it again, but you are worried this time. Every time you quit it becomes increasingly harder to tolerate your withdrawal. Each time you start drinking again you seem to hit the bottle harder than before. When you stopped last time 6 months ago, you literally thought you were dying. The shakes were so bad you simply sweated it out in bed for nearly a week – sleeping an hour, then waking for two or three treacherous hours, and finally merciful sleep again. You were physically ill often and simply leaned over the side of the bed dry heaving into a pail.
Reality hits you straight between the eyes and you know you are sick and need help. You rightly fear that this time going it on your own may be disastrous or even life threatening. The job you have means you can take time off work, so you pass any clients off to another agent and focus on quitting alcohol once again. Your very patient wife supports you even though you don’t deserve it.
You buy your last bottle and decide to wean yourself into some appearance of sobriety; drinking just enough to ward off the demons while you search the Internet for some sort of assistance. You find that there are many options from rehabilitation facilities to A.A., home remedies and private treatment. Given your high profile profession, you opt for private treatment and make a phone call.
You will be helped in your long term recovery by a medical professional who will counsel you by phone and the Internet. After your initial phone evaluation he will advise you to seek an immediate medical evaluation from your own physician who should, if warranted, place you on a prescribed treatment for detoxification and an anti craving drug protocol. This will help you tolerate your withdrawal symptoms and improve your cognitive abilities so you can get the most out of your forthcoming consultative coaching sessions that he will be providing to you.
For the first time in a very long while you feel like you have gained the upper hand in your battle for Freedom From Alcohol. More importantly, you didn’t attempt to fight this battle on your own. When you read that unsupervised withdrawal from alcohol can be more dangerous than withdrawing from heroin, your suspicions of danger was justified. Learning that abruptly stopping alcohol consumption can cause a potentially fatal chemical imbalance was all you needed to know to make the call for professional alcohol recovery treatment.
To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D., Call 1 (866) 285-3400 toll-free or (617) 620-2230,