Sponsoring or Coaching in Recovery from Alcoholism

  • Alcohol Abuse Questionaire

    Individual drinking habits may be found on a continuum from responsible drinking through alcohol abuse to alcoholism, or physical dependence. There are many signs that may point to an alcohol problem. Drunkenness on its own or solitary drinking does not necessarily indicate alcoholism. The questionnaire will be meaningful to you only if you are honest with yourself when taking it.

    The important question is: Is your use of alcohol creating significant negative consequences in your life?

    • Do you sometimes drink heavily after a setback or an argument, or when you receive a poor grade?
    • When you experience trouble or are undergoing stress, do you always drink more heavily than usual?
    • Can you handle more liquor now than you could when you first began drinking?
    • Have you ever awakened the “morning after” and found that you could not remember part of the evening before, even though your friends said that you didn’t pass out?
    • When drinking with others, do you try to have just a few additional drinks when they won’t know of it?
    • Are there times when you feel uncomfortable if alcohol isn’t available?
    • Have you noticed lately that when you start drinking you’re in more of a hurry to get to the first drink than you used to be?
    • Do you sometimes have negative thoughts or feelings about your drinking?
    • Are you secretly irritated when your friends or family discuss your drinking?
    • Do you often want to keep drinking after your friends have said that they’ve had enough?
    • When you’re sober, do you often regret things you have done or said while drinking?
    • Have you tried switching brands or following different plans for controlling your drinking?
    • Have you often failed to keep promises you have made to yourself about controlling or cutting down on your drinking?
    • Do you try to avoid your girlfriend/boyfriend when you are drinking?
    • Are you having an increasing number of school, work, or financial problems?
    • Do more people seem to be treating you unfairly without good reason?
    • Do you eat very little or irregularly when you’re drinking?
    • Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a drink?
    • Have you noticed lately that you cannot drink as much as you once did?

    If you can answer “yes” to several of these questions, your drinking is causing problems for you and professional consultation can help prevent problems from getting more intense or numerous. Additionally you may find help at Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Some people resolve to curb their drinking and can do so for a time only to have their alcohol problems persist or reoccur. The drinking habits of alcohol abuse or alcoholism can become very entrenched.

    Related Reading:

    Alcoholics Anonymous: Reproduction of the First Printing of the First Edition
    Stop Drinking Start Living!
    Alcohol: A Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine, How and Why What Medical Writers Say
    If You Loved Me, You'd Stop! What You Really Need to Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much
    The Big Book   of Alcoholics Anonymous

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    Fleeing from Pain to Pleasure

    Looking out for over-elation in Sobriety

    A great many drinkers (whether alcoholics or not) change an internal state of discomfort [restlessness, irritability and discontentment] to one of enjoyment by the single act of taking a drink. This method of fleeing from pain to pleasure has been described as “escape drinking.”

    But thousands and thousands of us know that often we were already in a happy frame of mind when we took a drink. In fact, when we review our drinking records carefully, large numbers of us can see that we often drank in order to intensify an already jubilant mood.

    This experience gives rise to our next suggestion, which is: Be especially cautious during moments of celebration or times of just feeling extraordinarily good.

    When things are going great, so well you feel almost on a non-alcoholic high – look out! At such times (even after several years of sobriety), the thought of a drink may seem quite natural, and the misery of our old drinking days temporarily dims. Just one drink begins to seem less threatening, and we start thinking that it wouldn’t be fatal, or even harmful.

    Sure enough, one would not for the average person. But our experience with a drinking problem shows us what that one supposedly harmless, fateful drink would do to us un-average people. Sooner or later, it would persuade us that one more could do no damage, either. Then how about a couple more? .

    Ceremonial, celebratory drinking seems particularly tempting to some of us when we have valid cause for exhilaration among jovial drinking relatives or friends who can drink safely. Their imbibing seems to exert social pressure on us to try to do likewise.

    Perhaps this is because taking a shot of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) has so long been closely associated in our culture with fun and good times (as well as some mournful events). The connections in our mind can persist even long after we have learned we do not have to drink any more.

    We know now that there are many ways we can fend off this social pressure to drink. Briefly, let us just be reminded that no situation gives us a “dispensation” from our alcoholism, the illness that is activated as soon as we start ingesting alcohol at any time, for any reason, or for no reason.

    For some of us, the impulse to take a joyful drink when we are feeling particularly good is even more insidious when there is no particular event to celebrate, and no particular social pressure to drink. It can occur at the most unexpected times, and we may never understand the reasons for it.

    We have learned now not to panic when the thought of a drink comes into the mind. After all, it is a natural thought for anyone to have in modern times, and especially understandable for those of us who have had extensive practice in the art.

    But the thought of a drink is not necessarily the same thing as the desire for one, and neither need plunge us into gloom or fear. Both can be viewed simply as warning bells to remind us of the perils of alcoholism. The perils are forever, even when we feel so fine that we wonder whether it’s really all right for anyone to feel as good as we do, now.

    Related Reading:

    Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
    Soulshift: Manifesting Abundance
    Alcohol lied to me (the intelligent escape from alcohol addiction)
    If You Loved Me, You'd Stop! What You Really Need to Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much
    Alcohol Lied to Me : The Intelligent Way to Escape Alcohol Addiction

    Posted in Alcohol, Alcoholism, Recovery, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    What is alcoholism?

    Let’s Ask Bill W., What is alcoholism?

    Alcoholism is a malady; that something is dead wrong with us physically; that our reaction to alcohol has changed; that something has been very wrong with us emotionally; that our alcoholic habit has become an obsession, an obsession which can no longer reckon even with death itself. Once firmly set, one is not able to turn it aside. In other words, a sort of allergy of the body which guarantees that we shall die if we drink, an obsession of the mind which guarantees that we shall go on drinking. Such has been the alcoholic dilemma time out of mind, and it is altogether probable that even those alcoholics who did not wish to go on drinking, not more than five out of one hundred have ever been able to stop before A.A.

    (Bill Wilson, a cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Yale Summer School of Alcohol Studies, June 1945).

    Related Reading:

    Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism/Third Edition
    The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (Including Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions)
    The Big Book   of Alcoholics Anonymous
    Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition
    Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor

    Posted in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism and tagged , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    -The results of the present study support the effficacy of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous to promote abstinence  

    -In 1992 Americans with alcohol use disorders who continued to attend AA were more likely to achieve abstinence (64%) than those who dropped out of AA (37%) or those who never attended AA (16%)

    -Abstinence recovery status varies as a function of increasing age and level of severity of alcohol

    -The findings suggest that a substantial portion of the “AA drop outs” attain sobriety or abstinence after a period of AA membership and maintain their abstinence without AA

    - The unmet need for AA referral is concentrated in the younger age groups, 35% in the 18-29 years group and 30% in the 30-39 years age group.


    Alcoholics Anonynous (AA) attendance is an important predictor of improved outcomes, such as abstinence, among persons with alcohol use disorders .  Severity of alcohol use disorders and age are characteristics associated with AA attendance and dropout rates . Dropout rates, in turn, are associated with relapse and return to high risk drinking.

    Related Reading:

    The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery
    Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder
    Alcoholics Anonymous: Reproduction of the First Printing of the First Edition
    Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

    Posted in 12 Step, Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Recovery, Treatment and tagged , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Alcoholics Anonymous Graphic

    AA Facts and History Information Graphic

    Courtesy of Rehab Programs. Designed by Dawn Shepard

    Related Reading:

    Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book Trade Edition
    I Need To Stop Drinking!
    Alcoholics Anonymous - How To Be An Effective Sponsor In Recovery with AA
    Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book Workbook: Working the Program
    Alcoholics Anonymous

    Posted in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism. Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Alcohol Brain Damage

    Brain - parts vulnerable to damage by alcoholAlcohol Related Brain Impairment (ARBI) is a term used to describe the physical injury to the brain sustained as a result of alcohol consumption. Having ARBI is not the same as having an intellectual disability, nor is it the same as having dementia.

    How does Alcohol use Result in Brain Impairment?

    • Alcohol has a toxic effect on the central nervous system
    • It causes changes to metabolism, heart functioning and blood flow
    • It interferes with the body’s use of thiamine (vitamin B1, an important brain food)
    • It is often associated with a poor diet
    • It can cause dehydration which may lead to cell death
    • It can lead to falls that injure the brain.

    Cerebellar Atrophy (Brain shrinkage)

    Impairment to the part of the brain called the cerebellum causes balance and coordination difficulties which typically affect the lower limbs and results in a wide-based gait (walking with the legs wide apart) called ataxia.

    Peripheral Neuropathy

    Peripheral neuropathy is a sensory disturbance affecting the hands, feet and legs. It usually begins in the feet with numbness, pins and needles, burning sensations and pain, and may progress to loss of knee and ankle reflexes and muscle wasting.

    Disorders associated with ARBI

    The degree of brain impairment resulting from excessive alcohol consumption depends on many factors, including the amount and pattern of consumption, age, sex, nutrition and individual differences. ARBI may be mild, moderate, severe or very severe. ARBI is associated with changes in cognition (memory and thinking abilities), difficulties with balance and coordination and a range of medical and neurological disorders. The following are common disorders related to ARBI.

    Hepatic Encephalopathy

    Hepatic encephalopathy is the neuropsychiatric syndrome seen in patients with liver disease. The syndrome features changes in sleep, mood and personality. Impairment and fluctuation of consciousness is accompanied by confusion, delirium and hallucinations and in the latter stages will progress to coma.

    Executive Dysfunction

    Impairment to the frontal lobes of the brain results in changes in thinking patterns, behaviour and personality. Executive dysfunction makes it difficult for people to plan and organise, to monitor and control behaviour, to think flexibly, and to adapt to change or unfamiliar situations. Frontal lobe dysfunction is often an early sign of ARBI, while memory function is intact.

    Wernicke’s Encephalopathy

    Wernicke’s encephalopathy is the acute neurological reaction to severe thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency and is characterised by disturbances of vision, ataxia, and global confusion. It may be reversed by large doses of thiamine, but left untreated may progress to coma and death.

    Korsakoff’s Amnesic Syndrome

    Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome is a profound impairment of short term memory that results in an almost complete inability to acquire any new information. An associated feature is confabulation, or tendency to fabricate missing memories.

    Common Deficits Associated With ARBI

    The range of difficulties associated with Acquired Brain Injury is diverse and as individual as the people suffering them. ABI is sometimes referred to as a ‘hidden disability’ and is often undiagnosed especially among people who have a mild disability or where onset has been very gradual. In other cases it is anything but hidden as the person, their family, friends, and support workers struggle to cope with the challenges involved. All ABI’s can, however, result in significant restrictions on an individual’s ability to participate fully in education, employment, relationships and other aspects of life.

    People may experience one, or a combination of the following:


    • Visual impairments
    • Hearing loss
    • Loss of Smell
    • Loss of Taste
    • Body Temperature disturbance
    • Chronic Pain


    • Paralysis –total or partial
    • Fatigue
    • Limb weakness
    • Visual-motor dis-coordination
    • Tremor
    • Headaches
    • Seizures
    • Balance disturbance


    • Slurred speech
    • Reading/writing difficulties
    • Expressive disorder
    • Word finding difficulties
    • Difficulty understanding


    • Mental Fatigue
    • Poor Concentration
    • Memory Loss
    • Planning difficulties
    • Problem solving difficulties
    • Reasoning difficulties
    • Difficulties with learning
    • Initiation difficulties


    • Disinhibition
    • Verbal Abusiveness
    • Physically aggressive
    • Increased Impulsivity
    • Sexually inappropriate
    • Agitation
    • Depression
    • Emotional instability
    • Irritability
    • Inappropriate behaviour
    • Paranoia
    • Loss of self-awareness


    Related Reading:

    Mental Health Nursing (6th Edition)
    Seven Days Sober: A Guide to Discovering What You Really Think About Your Drinking
    Beyond the Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism
    Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
    Varcarolis' Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: A Clinical Approach, 7e

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    How Co-dependency is Often Experienced

    • My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you.
    • My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.
    • Your struggles affect MY serenity.
    • MY mental attention focuses on solving YOUR problems or relieving YOUR pain.
    • My mental attention is focused on PLEASING YOU.
    • My mental attention is focused on PROTECTING YOU.
    • My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to “to do it my way”.
    • My self-esteem is bolstered by solving YOUR problem.
    • My self-esteem is bolstered by relieving YOUR pain.
    • My own hobbies and interests are put aside. My time is spent sharing YOUR interests and hobbies.
    • YOUR clothing and personal appearance is dictated by my desires as I feel that YOU ARE A REFLECTION OF ME.
    • YOUR behavior is dictated by my desires as I feel that YOU ARE A REFLECTION OF ME.
    • I AM NOT AWARE OF HOW I FEEL. I am aware of how YOU feel. I am not aware of what I want. I ask what YOU want. IF I AM NOT AWARE I ASSUME.
    • The dreams that I have for MY future are linked to YOU.
    • My fear of rejection determines what I say or do.
    • My fear of YOUR anger determines what I say or do.
    • I use GIVING as a way of feeling safe in our relationship.
    • My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with YOU.
    • I put MY values aside in order to connect with YOU.
    • I value YOUR opinion and way of doing things MORE THAN MY OWN.
    • The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours.

    Related Reading:

    The Flight from Intimacy: Healing Your Relationship of Counter-dependence - The Other Side of Co-dependency
    Narcissism: Denial of the True Self
    Detachment and Enabling
    The Enabler: When Helping Hurts the Ones You Love
    Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul (Kindle Single)

    Posted in Al-anon / Alateen, Co-dependency, Denial, Enabling and tagged , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    What is 12 Step Recovery?

    Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Recovery

    I was told early, in my alcoholism recovery, that recovery was a gift from my higher power, an unwarranted unconditional gift of love and that all I had to do to keep it was embrace it and give it away. I soon learned that the more I gave it away the more I had.

    I also learned, after much pain, that recovery was not only about not drinking or drugging, but rather, a process by which I learned to change those things in my life and in me that could lead me back to active use of substances.

    The process is an ongoing journey that brings with it joy and happiness as well as allowing me to experience the pain of growth. It is a two edged sword that in time we learn to embrace with caution over time.

    Recovery is 3 fold: Physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical recovery begins when we stop using substances and begin to allow our body to heal. That healing may include hospitalization for detox and stabilization. In other cases, we may sweat it out cold turkey at home or with another friend in recovery. But, physical recovery doesn’t stop after our system is substance free. We need to continue to take care of it by proper nutrition and plenty of rest. For those folks familiar with the saying HALT (don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired), this is about the Hungry and Tired part of that equation.

    The emotional part of recovery is ongoing and is more intense at different stages. This is when we learn to deal with life on life’s terms, and begin to experience feelings that we buried for a long time or thought we would never experience. Some of these include fear, self-doubt, insecurity, guilt, remorse, shame, love, compassion, overwhelmed, happy, sad, angry, loss, lonely, belonging, etc. and the list goes on. Feelings are not facts; they are based on our perceptions, old beliefs and life experiences. Therefore, in the recovery process we learn to embrace these feelings and put them in proper perspective in our lives. We no longer have to fear the feelings but rather face them and move on. This part of the recovery process deals with the Angry and Lonely part of HALT.

    The third part of the recovery process deals with the spiritual. Spiritual is not just about embracing a God of our understanding, or for some folks a return to or a new beginning in a structured religion. It is about who we are, our sense of values and self-respect. It’s about balance in our lives and love in our hearts. It’s about being a good person who is sick working on getting well. It’s about self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others. It’s about peace of mind and calmness inside that is felt by others. You may be able to tell when someone is in recovery because you can see it, hear it and feel it. There is a life and joy that cannot be missed.

    That is the gift of recovery in one person’s view. Enjoy it, Embrace it and most of all Share it. The more you share it the more it grows

    Related Reading:

    If You Loved Me, You'd Stop! What You Really Need to Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much
    Soulshift: Manifesting Abundance
    Alcoholics Anonymous - How To Be An Effective Sponsor In Recovery with AA
    The Heart of Abundance: A Simple Guide to Appreciating and Enjoying Life
    Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book, 4th Edition

    Posted in Alcohol, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Recovery, Spirituality and tagged , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Alcoholism and Bipolar

    For years I used exercise as a denial mechanism. There is no way I could have a drinking “problem” if I got up in the morning and swim-bike-run like this. The worse my drinking, the more I swam, biked and ran. Harder. Faster. Harder. Faster.

    Exercise also provided an outlet for my mania. On those days when my mania flared, I felt like a racehorse in the gate – eyes wide, hooves pounding at the dirt. Open that gate baby and I will kick your ass. I once ran the last six miles of a marathon without my shoes because my shoes were killing me and I was not about to stop.

    My alcoholism and bipolar just love each other. They are evil little twins. When I put one to bed the other one sneaks in and wakes up the other. I have been sober almost 13 years and the mania is still banging on the door. My medications have been an incredible help in taming the beast and lifting the depression.


    Full story at;   Alcoholism and Bipolar: My Evil Little Twins | Depression on My Mind.

    Related Reading:

    Breaking Addiction: A 7-Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction
    Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: Concepts of Care in Evidence-Based Practice
    Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
    How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol (2nd edition)
    Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism

    Posted in Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholism, Mental Health, Recovery, Treatment and tagged , , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    In Addiction Progression, Men and Women Are Very Different

    In Addiction Progression, Men and Women Are Very Different

    Addiction is addiction and recovery is recovery. That said, addiction takes twists in people’s lives and manifests itself differently based on many factors. Some of those factors are gender, age, drug used, other mental health issues, environment, socio-economic status, age of first use—and the list goes on.

    Let’s start with gender. With addiction, women and men are created equal but different. While equal and different, men and women start using for different reasons, become addicted differently, progress differently, recover differently and relapse for some different reasons.

    More at; In Addiction Progression, Men and Women Are Very Different « The Hazelden Blog.

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    Related Reading:

    Mental Health Nursing, 2nd (Prentice-Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales)
    Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
    Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism
    Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions (Plus)
    Mental Health Through Will Training: A System of Self-Help in Psychotherapy As Practiced by Recovery, Incorporated

    Posted in Addiction, Alcoholism, Mental Health, Recovery, Women and tagged , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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