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Alcohol dependence experiences?

(8 Posts)
hollybananas Sun 07-Jun-15 11:10:07

I've just lost a dear and old friend to this in her late thirties and am trying to walk in her shoes for a bit. She cut off contact with everyone in the last year and refused to see her friends (of which she had many).

Can anyone who has successfully battled this illness give me an idea of what is going through someone's mind in the worst stages? I feel I need to understand how she could feel so bad as to do this to herself despite having a lot of love and support around her. She had some difficult times in her early 30s, the sort of thing that other people do pull through, but it seems to have left her with no fight. She was a lovely woman and I have never felt so helpless. TIA.

helpmekeepstrong Tue 09-Jun-15 22:14:34

I think it's sad that you posted this on Sunday and had no replies. I don't have any answers either.
I do know about living with someone who loved alcohol more than any child, sister, mother or wife.
In a good period, they manage to live and live a life that involves family and function. They can work or run a business, deal with everyday life.
In a bad one, nothing matters more - but really nothing matter more than the drink. Everything they built, in the good period, rots to nothing; so you help them build again.
I don't know why some people fall into the pit.
Others don't. Some pick up and never go back.
Imagine a compulsion to drink every waking hour, even the middle of the night - I've seen it and lived with it but I can't understand it. No water, no tea, only drink.
It seems that there are some people you just can't save, no matter how marvellous they are and how much you want to save them.
Sad.
I'm so sorry about your feeling of loss and helplessness.
You couldn't have saved your friend and I wish I had an answer for you.

Theoldcauliflower Tue 09-Jun-15 22:28:01

I have no advice op but I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss flowers

tsonlyme Tue 09-Jun-15 22:44:17

Hi Holly, I'm very sorry to hear about your friend, I didn't see this on Sunday otherwise I would had found time to post rather than leave you thinking no one cared.

I am a recovering alcoholic, I have a few (5ish?) years of largely sober time behind me but I have relapsed in that time so it's not entirely in the dim and distant past that I can't remember.

Alcohol twists the alcoholic's thinking, you don't say if she died because of alcoholic related health problems or that she took her own life either of which is entirely likey as suicide is common among drinkers who find themselves in the depths of despair, sadly.

I can't speak for your friend only for myself but there were a couple of times I was very very close to suicide, each time was when I had been in a relatively extended period of drinking, ie more than 24hrs non-stop (apart from when passed out). My thinking was so twisted that I couldn't see past the end of my nose figuratively speaking and couldn't see a way out. I couldn't recognise that there were people who loved me and who wanted me to be better. It made me entirely selfish and blind to outside of my bubble.

I'm very lucky that I managed to haul myself out again alive because sobriety has shown me that there is so much to live for which I simply couldn't see when drunk. It really isn't a nice place to be and I understand why some people don't find their way out.

I'm only guessing but I imagine your friend cut herself off from the world for two reasons, so that she could be left alone to drink in peace and because she felt ashamed.

I'm not sure that going into much detail about the grim details of how it feels to be in the grip of active alcoholism would be of much help to you, I fear it would make you feel worse about your friend instead of you remembering her as the friend you loved but please be assured that you couldn't have done anything to make her stop. I'm sure you were a lovely friend but any change would have to have come from her and it's very sad that she didn't get there. I hope you're ok.

helpmekeepstrong Tue 09-Jun-15 23:12:49

tsonlyme - so that she could be left alone to drink in peace

I understand and recognise that.

hollybanana those words are inexplicable and beyond comprehension to anyone except those going through or living alongside someone in the grip of that mentality but tsonlyme's words sum it up for me.

alwaysaskingquestionz Tue 09-Jun-15 23:49:17

I have a lovely friend going through the same, and I'm so scared that he's already pushed it past the point of physical recovery. I wish I could understand it but I just can't, the need to gulp more drink down even as you're throwing it up just as fast.. It's terrible to see. Seems to be a pain/shame cycle, drink to numb the pain of how shit it is to live for drink. And it is truly grim. All you can do is accept their choices and care as best you can. I'm sorry for your loss.

hollybananas Wed 10-Jun-15 16:12:03

Thanks everyone just seen the replies, they are very helpful. It was related health problems that caused her death rather than suicide - but it feels like a suicide to me if that makes sense.

tsonlyme thanks very much for sharing your insight and I am so pleased that you found a way out. I will always wonder if she might have got to that point had her health held up a bit longer.

I hadn't realised until going through this how alcohol dependency is an illness. Prior to that I'd always assumed that people could stop if they were given enough incentive but I've read so many sad stories this week that I see now it is far from that simple.

It seems as if all her natural survival instincts were completely over-ridden by her addiction and/or worsening mental health. It is a tragedy.

stinkingbishop Wed 10-Jun-15 16:21:38

You sound like a lovely friend holly. I hope you're not beating yourself up with thoughts that you could have done something. You can't. Just like you can't cure someone's diabetes.

Some wise words from people above. Maybe if you feel yourself still confused and sad, might be worth seeing if there's an Al-Anon group near you? It's the sister fellowship to AA and exists to help the friends and families of people with the illness.

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