The Alcohol Problem
Jack is a 33 year old man who has a wife, Jill, and two children. He was promoted to district manager of a computer company and was sending more time socializing with clients. His wife became concerned that he was increasingly absent in the evenings, stopped wanting sex, and was increasingly irritable with her and the children. She smelled of alcohol when he came home and he had started drinking every weekend - first beer and wine; within 6 months he was serving himself martinis, scotch on the rocks and brandy "nightcaps". For a while he insisted that she join him for a drink, but she refused all but occasional glasses of white wine because many alcoholic beverages gave her headaches or she flushed and felt ill. In the past few months, he didn't ask her and just poured himself a drink. Whenever company visited he always offered drinks, often insisting that the guest join him. His boss called him in to express some concern that his reports were incomplete and that he and missed several deadlines in the past three months.
Jill eventually summoned the courage to confront him with her concerns - he was now drinking everyday - excessive amounts in her opinion; his personality was changing; and he was neglecting the family and his work. She thought he had become an alcoholic and should stop drinking. She suggested a visit to AA and an alcohol counselor. Jack was relieved that Jill had confronted him and agreed with her assessment. His drinking was escalating and he no longer felt in control. His job required that he be intellectually sharp and consistent and he knew he was no longer keeping up. He stopped drinking, improved his diet, attended weekly AA meetings, and spent more time with his family often in outdoor recreational and sports activities. They lived happily ever after.
What's Wrong with Our Story?
The first part of the story is credible - indeed, it is a common story of a young family headed for disaster because Jack is drinking too much. The second part of our story should be credible, but it is not. Seldom, if ever, does Jack respond in a responsible, insightful manner. Instead, he blows up at Jill, blames her for having no faith in him, storms out the house and disappears for two days. He continues to drink, to deny that he has a drinking problem and threatens Jill with dire consequences if she insists that he has a problem. Because of the young children, Jill sticks it out for several years, even when Jack lost his job, but eventually leaves him after he beats her up in a drunken rage. Sometimes the problem drinker is Jill; this is not a male problem exclusively.
The important question about alcohol addiction is why do alcoholics deny the problem and continue drinking until great damage is done to themselves, their family and their community? Why don't alcoholics recognize the problem at an early stage and stop drinking?
The Solution Part 1 Self-Responsibility
The successful resolution of alcoholism depends on abstaining from ingesting alcoholic beverages. In a drinking society, this is not an easy task and many recovering alcoholics do best by attending AA meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous is a voluntary program that arose from the experiences of recovering alcoholics and does not involve any professional direction or input. AA is based on an unconditional acceptance of the label "alcoholic", a belief in the concept of alcoholism as a disease, and a commitment to support others in the AA program. The recovery of an alcoholic involves an initial stage of denial which is gradually replaced by a more realistic assessment of alcohol addiction and its consequences.
Complete abstinence is considered the only feasible goal and an AA fellow will describe his or her success in terms of the days, months or years of sobriety. Sobriety is strongly linked to merit and virtue. Alcoholics in recovery experience a slow, unstable and painful identity change and need the support and tolerance that AA groups tend to provide. Many alcoholics have remorse for the harm they have done to themselves and others and their guilt must be fully expressed and acknowledged before the new identity can emerge and flourish.
The Solution Part 2 - Fix Disordered Biology
The compulsive behavior patterns of most alcoholics in recovery involve the unregulated consumption of alcoholic beverages and other foods such as coffee, high-sugar foods, and junk foods. We think that part of the original problem in alcoholism is dietary; AB's are foods among other foods that trigger addiction and disturb thinking and behavior. We see other foods playing a role in creating an alcoholic and we believe that recovery should be based on complete abstinence from AB's, increased nutrient intake through supplementation and complete diet revision.
The "dry drunk" that people in AA refer to is a state of dysfunction and ill health from a poor diet, nutrient deficiencies and unhealed damage to the body. The common abstinent alcoholic profile often includes poor food choices, compulsive eating and excessively high intake of coffee with heaping teaspoons of sugar and generous amounts of cream. The "abstinent" diet remains poor, with strong selection preference for the originally addictive foods such as bread, donuts, cookies, chocolate, cheese, pasta, and snack foods. The symptoms of the "dry drunk" suggest the need for complete diet revision. As long as the root food addictions remain operative, the recovering alcoholic remains basically unwell, unstable and vulnerable to further drinking.
The elemental nutrient formula, Alpha ENF, can be a helpful tool in recovery as a meal replacement and complete nutrient supplement. Supplementation of vitamins and minerals is a good idea for the recovering alcoholic.