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#64193 - 01/28/03 09:44 PM Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Louise2323 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
Hi Everyone....I was hoping I wouldn't be back so soon....boy was I wrong.
My friend is sinking fast, pushing away his friends, family, thinking of just picking up and moving away by himself to just escape his messes. While I know I can't force him to get help, I have begged him to go to therapy again, even took the advice from my previous posts and asked him to go with me, for me. He doesn't want to, and asked me not to make him. Can I make him? I dont think so, and I told him I would not force him, that I was asking him to go for me, and if he wasn't ready right now I understand. You see, since his run in with the law, he is now ordered to continue therapy in regards to alcohol, and now he insists he will not be made to go, and when the state pays the fees, he will consider otherwise - which I know is just a cop out, but nonetheless, he doesn't feel he needs help right now.
I can't believe I am looking at the same guy who was doing so awesome back in September....the death of his mom really sparked lots of anger and rage, and the drinking is so out of control.
Can I separate the issues of the drinking and SA? His family and I want to address his drinking, becuase he refuses to see it as a problem, but I don't want to confuse the issues for him...I know he drinks to forget the pain, all of the pain in his life, especially the pain he is now causing himself by drinking and doesn't realize it, but he doesn't share his SA issues with his family, and I know he doesn't want to. They know of what happened, and that he is/was in therapy, but he is not comfortable with them knowing what is going on.
Is there anyway to confront the drinking without waiting for him to kill himself or someone innocent in the process? He goes to work, and functions in society, he just can't control his drinking...he will drink everywhere except work, and even that sometimes I wonder.
His drinking is causing fights with his friends...the latest episode this weekend being with my hubby, and now I am between a rock and a hard place with and ultimatum by hubby...."Him or me". I resent having to choose, but I don't want to loose my family either. I am hoping they will be able to talk things out, but they are both so thick headed...I am afraid. I made my friend a promise, that I intend to keep no matter what, that I would be there for him. I don't feel I can disapoint him like everyone else in his life has...when things get to be to much trouble, they move on, and he finds new friends. I am different...and don't want to move on...I told him this today, and about the utlimatum...begging him to talk things out with hubby, and even though at first he was not budging, the end result was to give him a little time. Hubby does at times feel bad, but is so mad at his actions right now, and since he has no patience with alcholism, and driving that way especially, he feels he needs an ass kickin'...as he puts it. "Tough Love" he says....what his family never did for him.
I don't think they will stay mad at each other forever but after this I know he will back away from me, not wanting to cause problems, but do you think he really knows and/or believes that I would be there for him no matter what? I want him to REALLY believe that...he says he does, but I know how he just shuts down and suffers alone.
How can I get that point across to him, without chasing him? I don't want to chase him anymore; I feel like I am pusing myself on him if he never seeks me out anymore. This is becuase of his drinking...I know he sees me as getting in the way of his drinking....
How can his family help him with the alcohol? He is so self destructive with his drinking, that it really is just a matter of time before he kills himself in one way or another. I don't think we can just sit by and watch, and there is no reasoning with him.
Any advice you can give would be so greatly appreciated!! Once again...I am entirely grateful to have such a wonderful group of people to turn to...Thanks from the bottom of my heart!!
Louise \:\)


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#64194 - 01/29/03 12:48 AM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Louise,

This is a tough one. I've been where your friend is now. It took a family intervention with a couple of county crisis intervention folks and the threat of having me committed against my will before I accepted hospitalization.

I'm a recovering alcoholic and believe that nothing else can be accomplished until he stops his drinking, even if he's not an alcoholic.

I'd recommend contacting your local AA Chapter hotline, they should be listed in the blue pages. They'll be more than happy to answer your questions and may be able to provide some support and answers for you.

It often takes hitting a hard, rock hard bottom before one is willing to admit there is a problem and be ready to ask for help.

I hope you find an answer,
jer


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#64195 - 01/29/03 12:43 PM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi Louise 2323 - I can totally relate to your story - my BF is a SA survivor and my dad is an abuse survivor of some kind (I dont know any details). I hope I can be of some help. I apologize for this terribly long response but your post brought up many intertwined issues, and I really wanted to write back. I really empathize with your concern and pain about your friend. I have lived this pain in regards to my father (who is an alcoholic/addict/abuse survivor) for over 30 years now.

Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:

I know I can't force him to get help, I have begged him to go to therapy again, even took the advice from my previous posts and asked him to go with me, for me. He doesn't want to, and asked me not to make him. Can I make him? I dont think so, and I told him I would not force him, that I was asking him to go for me, and if he wasn't ready right now I understand.

The last poster before me who mentioned that it sometimes takes someone to hit rock bottom before they can admit to a problem and get help is right on the money. Nobody can force anyone to do anything, to take treatment, etc. unless they are a danger to society. (and in some cases I believe a danger to themselves, but I"m not sure that is applicable in all areas). In any case, unless your friend is a real threat as far as violence/crime, etc. there is nothing that anyone can do.

Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:


You see, since his run in with the law, he is now ordered to continue therapy in regards to alcohol, and now he insists he will not be made to go, and when the state pays the fees, he will consider otherwise - which I know is just a cop out, but nonetheless, he doesn't feel he needs help right now.

Perhaps another run in with the law and the threat of some serious jail time for not showing up to therapy might be his rock bottom? He may actually need to go to jail to "wake up"... the scary thing when dealing with people who have addictions is that they DO need to hit a bottom.. i.e. my dad kept at his drinking until he almost killed himself and wound up in the hospital cardiac ward in a town 100km away because of an OD on pills and booze which literally messed up his heart.. my boyfriend kicked his drinking habit a bit more peacefully.. he was at a friend's house and saw his friend and his happy family and started crying and was suddenly hit by the fact that deep down he really wanted a wife and kids and all that goes with it and he knew that he could never have kids and a family as long as he was drinking.. having some kind of "wake-up" experience is absolutely critical. I can't stress that enough. The motivation to change has to come from within. You will have to let your friend take a few knocks, hard as it is to watch it happen. It is very tempting to try and help him.. my mom has the best line of advice on this when I ask her what we can do about my father she says "do what you can to make yourself feel better that you tried, but ultimately, you can't save someone from themself".


Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:


I can't believe I am looking at the same guy who was doing so awesome back in September....the death of his mom really sparked lots of anger and rage, and the drinking is so out of control.
Sometimes all it takes is for one traumatic experience to push someone over the edge - especially if they are already carrying a load of stress around on a daily basis (my dad calls his stress his "ten pound bag of shit that always has no less than seven pounds of shit already in it"). My dad is very incapable of dealing with death, change, loss of a job, or other difficult experience. He literally falls apart and practically has to be fed and changed like an infant.

Its important to note, however, that dealing with death of a loved one is not easy for even those who are very well adjusted. Grief is a very bizarre emotion. There is a HUGE amount of anger ("why did you go away and die on me and leave me alone?") questioning, bargaining ("please God, I'll never do this or that again if you only bring that person back") etc. Perhaps your friend's grandmother was a comforting or protective person, made him feel very safe, and perhaps now he feels very vulnerable without her there? I wouldnt be at all suprised if gramma's death has opened up some things that he had managed to stay tucked away with whatever strategy he had developed until the time of her death. Now he probably feels a lot more pain and doesn't know what to do and is trying to numb that pain the only way he knows how - through alcohol. I know you want to help him by talking, etc, however I have learned from my BF's SA recovery journey that someone who's dealt with negative emotions through alcohol or drugs often has a hard time using talking, therapy, or other less self-destructive coping techniques because, simply, they just haven't had much experience at it. I have seen it in my own father - although my dad is 60 years old he is very much a teenager in his approach to handling anger, disappointment, frustration and everyday life challenges.


Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:


Can I separate the issues of the drinking and SA?
As far as getting treatment, one will hopefully follow the other - once someone agrees that they actually DO have a problem, the therapy delves into the root problem of the addiction, thereby exposing the problem (with the SA the abuse leads to negative self perception, depression, shame, Post traumatic stress disorder in some, feelings of lack of control or lack of empowerment (because when they were abused they had NO control), buried anger, etc). The alcoholism is just a "crutch" (again my father's word) to help someone get through the day, the hour, the minute. I find that it is just too personal for me to tell my BF or anyone for that matter that they need to get help for their abuse issues, but that it is easier to talk about the things that acutally affect me - drinking, drugs, anger, abuse, etc. I find that a healthy boundary to respect.

Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:

His family and I want to address his drinking, becuase he refuses to see it as a problem, but I don't want to confuse the issues for him...

Perhaps then you could focus only on the drinking... Tell him that you are worried about him and his safety and you really do think he should get help. Get him the number for AA, or a good addictions counsellor. Even get him some scary information on the dangers that alcohol can do to one's body, and then leave it at that. One issue at a time is really helpful for those under severe stress. However until he sees he has a problem with very dire consequences for NOT dealing with it, he may not do anything about it.


Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:

I know he drinks to forget the pain, all of the pain in his life, especially the pain he is now causing himself by drinking and doesn't realize it, but he doesn't share his SA issues with his family, and I know he doesn't want to. They know of what happened, and that he is/was in therapy, but he is not comfortable with them knowing what is going on.
I can understand that - there is a MAJOR amount of shame involved. My BF was molested 16 years ago, nearly half his life ago, but he has never told his parents. I can't say I'd want to tell my parents either, nor am I totally wild about my BF's family finding out about his abuse. But in any case, who knows and who doesn't should always be at the discretion of the survivor.


Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:

Is there anyway to confront the drinking without waiting for him to kill himself or someone innocent in the process? He goes to work, and functions in society, he just can't control his drinking...he will drink everywhere except work, and even that sometimes I wonder.
You can always check in on him more often to see how he's doing, but you have to understand that if he does something dangerous or stupid that a) you did try and you can't blame yourself and b) recall my mom's words of wisdom "you ultimately can't save anyone from themself".


Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:

His drinking is causing fights with his friends...
*stuff snipped*
ultimatum by hubby...."Him or me". I resent having to choose
*more stuff snipped*
I made my friend a promise, that I intend to keep no matter what, that I would be there for him. I don't feel I can disapoint him like everyone else in his life has...
*more snipped*
Hubby does at times feel bad, but is so mad at his actions right now, and since he has no patience with alcholism, and driving that way especially, he feels he needs an ass kickin'...as he puts it. "Tough Love" he says....what his family never did for him.

You sound like someone who genuinely cares and wants to help, and that is definitely a noble trait. Be careful not to get overwhelmed with your friends' problems. I realize they are of major concern for you and naturally, they should be, however you can't dive in and totally let the rest of your life be taken over by this one person and his problems. You still have your own life and your family's life to think of. With my experiences with alcoholics, you have to be firm and set boundaries. Despite your promise to him you cannot let your promise to him be at "all costs". Don't forget that although you have a promise to your friend, you also have a very big promise to your husband and family.


Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:

after this I know he will back away from me, not wanting to cause problems, but do you think he really knows and/or believes that I would be there for him no matter what?


For some people being alone is the safest way for them at this time to deal with stuff... keep in mind that your friend has had his trust broken in a very personal way, likely from someone (I cant recall if you said who the perpetrator was) close to him (most abusers are close to the survivor) - he has learned in a horrible horrible way to NOT trust anyone, and that if he lets someone in than that person could abuse him too".. not saying that is the truth but that is what happens to someone when their trust is broken.

As far as suffering alone, I find that "do it alone on my own" attitude more often in men than women - they like to go off and deal with stuff alone - the "solitary hunter" type thing. (mind you, there are exceptions, my mom is the "solitary hunter" type and my dad is very much the pursuer/talker). However, I very much prefer the stereotypical "female talking it out" approach - and the "go it alone" approach is very very baffling to me as well.

Case in point - I know that even though my BF KNOWS that I love him, that I'd marry him in a second and spend the rest of my life with him (I have told him this a zillion times), he still goes through phases where he totally freaks out (last night was a doozy) and he is firmly convinced that NOBODY loves him, he's totally alone, etc. Its not logical, its not rational, it's bizarre, frustrating, and will make you want to tear your hair out and jump out a window, but you can't forget that it is the result of trauma and abuse that has not been resolved.

It is possible that for your friend, in his saner moments he may know you care, but I can tell you from experience, my father truly and honestly believes even to this day, that his family really doesnt care about him, that he's totally unloveable, etc (after all how else could he justify three suicide attempts?). Its just hard for someone to belive that someone cares when they are so wrapped up in their own pain and issues that they can't see anyone else.



Quote:
Originally posted by Louise2323:


How can I get that point across to him, without chasing him? I don't want to chase him anymore; I feel like I am pusing myself on him if he never seeks me out anymore. This is becuase of his drinking...I know he sees me as getting in the way of his drinking....
How can his family help him with the alcohol? He is so self destructive with his drinking, that it really is just a matter of time before he kills himself in one way or another. I don't think we can just sit by and watch, and there is no reasoning with him.
The only think I can think of is perhaps you all could change your approach with him - if you keep doing the same thing and geting the same result, change your approach. If you and his family are always after him to get therapy, what would happen if you stopped pursuing him? What if you just STOPPED talking about the alcohol for a week and just talked about other stuff? It is possible he *might* try to seek you out more? Remember that any human relationship is a system - one person pushes, the other pulls, when the pusher pulls the puller pushes, sometimes reversing one usual pattern can reverse the whole thing. Don't just keep doing the same old thing and getting the same old results. Again, another tidbit of advice from my mom "If you keep banging your head against a wall and the only blood on it is yours, you have a problem" OK anyhow.. it makes sense to me \:\)

HOpefully I've not really pushed any buttons, or frustrated you in any way. I realize by saying that your friend does need to take a few knocks, that he has to hit his bottom, that he can't be saved from himself could create serious anxiety, grief, and fear within yourself. I have been there... and I'm not saying just leave him alone and let him destroy himself either.. its just that there is only so much anyone can do if that is the path that someone is on. On more than one occasion I have had to accept the very real possibility that my dad just might die at his own hand (even though he has quit drinking it is still a very real possibility as he is not totally "over" everything (he never will be)) and that I would have to learn to be OK with myself, what I did, didn't or could have done for him if that happpened. Definitely a tough road to follow, but it is possible to go down it. I am living proof.


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#64196 - 01/29/03 05:09 PM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Louise2323 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
PAS,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a long reply. I think I knew already some of those answers, I just didn't want to believe them. I also didn't know how much pain this all would bring me. I don't think anyone can truly just imagine the pain with living it.
The only thing in this whole situation about letting him hit rock bottom, if he hasn't already, is the fact of him actually spending time in jail. God forbid he is raped in jail, I think he will really crumble and his spirit will die forever. Although he acts tough at times, usually with his "beer muscles" on, I know just how fragile he is, and I don't think a stay in jail will make him realize anything good, I KNOW it will destroy whatever is left of him. He knows he has the threat of going to jail if he keeps drinking and driving, and still doesn't care. But I saw him when I picked him up from jail last time....and he wasn't even held in a cell, and he was just about ready to be committed. The restraints of the handcuffs freaked him out, and I don't think he had a dry eye for 2 days...wouldn't you think that would be enough??? It was to get him to recognize he needed help, but I guess he forget very quickly, and the mere threat of it now seems to mean nothing to him right now. He also doesn't care that he will be paying for his mistakes for the next 10 years in ways of insurance, if he were still able to get any. He still doesn't care.
I know I can't protect him from himself, and I know I can't blame myself for what he does, but this is so unfair.
Thanks for shedding some light on how they feel about themselves, self worth. When you said that your BF knows you would marry him in a second, but other times doesn't actually believe you could care about him, well I understand the words but I just can't understand how that can be. I too tell my friend how much I care, andhis friends and family care too, and he happens to have more friends than anyone I know, yet he refuses to believe it. Fustrating is to say the least!! I guess there is now way for me to prove I care to him....and nothing I can do about it. Hopefully one day with a clear head, he will realize how much the people around him love him. I think because I see how easy it is to like him, and see what a great person he is, that he should too. I just have to accept that it isn't that way. And I know I have a hard time accepting things that don't make sense!
I spoke to his therapist today, and she is going to call him to see how he is and try to set up an appointment, so we will see how that goes. In the meantime, his family is planning a day to all get together and speak to him about the drinking, and let him know they are all there to support him. But since he doesn't see a problem, I wonder how this will play out. I am going to call AA in a few minutes, and try to get whatever info & advice they have to offer.
PAS, I am so amazed at your strength, and admire it as well, having seen first hand how hard it is to live and deal with you father being abused, and then stick by your BF in his situation. I would probably do the same, but you are truly a special person, to give so much of yourself. Good luck to you as well, and thanks again for your advice!
Louise \:\)


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#64197 - 01/29/03 07:54 PM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Louise
There's nothing to add after PAS' post, it's ONLY when we see the world from the very bottom of the shit pile we begin to take notice.

Quote:
Thanks for shedding some light on how they feel about themselves, self worth. When you said that your BF knows you would marry him in a second, but other times doesn't actually believe you could care about him, well I understand the words but I just can't understand how that can be. I too tell my friend how much I care, and his friends and family care too, and he happens to have more friends than anyone I know, yet he refuses to believe it. Fustrating is to say the least!! I guess there is now way for me to prove I care to him....and nothing I can do about it.
We think we are the lowest of the low, worthless crap that nobody could possibly want to be near - let alone love.
My wife told me she loved me, my family and friends acted as though they did.
I thought they were liars, just like the bastards that abused me. Only I knew the truth.....

I have no idea how - or even if - another person can break through that shell, nobody broke through mine.
I had to do it myself.

A cautionary tale about helping alcoholics, you will never be as important as the next drink.
After sitting with my friend all night, crying, pleading, reasoning with him. Pledging my help and support and going away fairly confident that he might have listened, he spent the next day calling me every "useless, interfering f****g bastard" under the sun to another mutual friend who he was begging money from for drink.

I'm sorry we all seem to be talking you out of helping your friend, but if you go down with him then that's no good to anyone.

Let him know you care , but look after number one.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#64198 - 01/29/03 10:59 PM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Louise2323 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
Lloydy,
I need to hear the truth, even if it isn't what I want to hear. That is what I came here for, to learn as much as I can from people who know and understand, for I can hardly imagine what it feels like to be you.
I wouldn't say you were talking me out of helping him, I don't think anyone can do that (I am very thick-headed and have a hard time taking no for an answer) but I will have to change my way of thinking, what I consider helping him to be, and force myself to back off.
I really thought I was prepared to help him with the SA and really show him I was sincere, but the Alcohol drinking has thrown me for a loop. I see I am no match with his drink...I had a very similar experience with him as you speak of with your friend...I thought I got through, and nothing. But what I still don't realize is why that is? Is it becuase his self worth is so low he doesn't believe me? or care? Or does it have nothing to do with how he feels about himself, it is just him being an alcoholic - addicted to booze? I know he drinks to forget and to numb out, but he insists he fine right now...I was hoping if I could get to the reason of his drinking that I could get through. When I first met him, he did drink, and everyone knew he drank alot. Not like this, but not like a social drinker either. The more time he spent here, the less he drank, he really had no reason to. He didn't even go out on the weekends. I just thought he needed company. Being young and single was like a catch 22 - he shouldn't be drinking, I knew that, but what else do you do to meet girls at 25 besides going to bars and clubs? That's basically what all his friends do..but none of them have drinking problems and can drink socially. (of course now he has a new crowd of friends, who are heavy drinkers...and when they start talking about how much Tom drinks, you KNOW that is bad!!)
I was hoping once he got himself another girlfriend, that he would find the companionship he was looking for and not have the need to drink. I still believe that, as he has yet to find a girl becuase he acts so stupid when he drinks, but I am no longer sure that what he really wants. He is saying he wants a girlfriend but the way he acts with girls who do want him is another story. Hubby thinks he is gay, but not admitting it, since he doesn't try to sleep with every (or any) girl he meets, like the "stud" hubby says he was before me - Tom has been with women, and I really can't tell for sure, but either way it doesn't matter to me.
I do know he is aching for companionship - do you think that will change his behavior? I know sometimes people will do things for other people, but not just for themselves. I happen to be like that, so I know all too well that feeling.
Can I ask, what made you marry your wife, if you didn't truly belive she loved you? What was it you felt - please try to help me understand. I can relate to having a low self esteem, because for the most part I do as well, mostly feeling that I am overweight and unattractive, but even as low as I can feel, I believe that my hubby loves me....I don't know if I always feel it, but I believe it because I believe him telling me so. Does that make sense?
SOrry to pick your brain...but you really are helping me!!!
Thanks again!
Louise \:\)


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#64199 - 01/30/03 04:53 PM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Les_Angry Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 195
Hi Louise,

I have an idea. When I had a nervous breakdown and my wife and parents took me to the local psych hospital, there were a bunch of guys in there under a code called 5150. I think there is a Van Halen album with that name, but anyway, when the cops pick somebody up who is so drunk they are a danger to society, they force them to cool off in the local psych ward or psych hospital for 48 or 72 hours or something.

Its a real wake up call to be placed in a ward where everyone there has been found to be an immediate danger to themselves or someone else. They dont even let you have a sharpened pencil or shoelaces. And the whole gamut of psych disorders can be found within the ward, schitsophrenics, manic depressives even homeless people they picked up. Those 5150 guys were pretty shocked when they forced to spend time in that situation. It must be very sobering for them. You should have seen this 19 year old college student's face when the woman next to him at the table told him half the books in the world were written about her .

In your friend's case he would be forced to sit in on like 8 hours a day of group therapy. He would also be assigned to a psychiatrist that he would have to talk to. Once he has some maybe he would realize how much he needed it. I think if you call the cops on your friend when he is so out of control and ask them to place him in the drunk tank for his own safety, they will give him the 5150 treatment. Maybe if you call your local police and explain the situation they can help to set this up. Sounds like your husband would be happy with this plan. This way you are still not breaking your promise to your friend or your vows to your husband.

Mo Healing


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#64200 - 01/30/03 06:37 PM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Louise2323 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
Les_Angry,
That is a great idea!!! Hubby already told 2 cops his de>

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#64201 - 01/31/03 02:35 AM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
Les_Angry Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 195
Hi Louise,

I hope you have that 5150 arrangement in New York. I am from there originally, and I don't remember hearing anything about that. But then again, I never heard anything about that here in California before I watched people being put away for it. The police can help anyway though I'm sure.

Good luck
Mo Healing


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#64202 - 01/31/03 11:21 AM Re: Sinking Fast....Is there help?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
The 5150 treatment is an amazing idea - in fact when my dad was mixing his booze and pills, the psych ward was EXACTLY where I brought him (the first day I found him passed out and bleeding in his bed, I brought him to emergency where he walked out. The second day I had him committed in a mental hospital). It REALLY is a scary place and it definitely was an eye-opener.

He wound up in the cardiac unit the third day on account of valium withdrawal (you'd think that a psych hospital wouldnt have let him go cold turkey, but unfortunately they did) but he was stuck in the hospital for over a week, which really was a shocker. Yes, the hospital vs. jail is definitely a better option. HOpefully you could go see the police and suggest this option to them should he be picked up for DWI or not going to therapy, etc.

- soccer (aka PAS)


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