Family Life: Dear Doc; Health and fitness.
Q DEAR Doctor, my husband is a heavy drinker, and although wellmeaning his attempts to cut back have never been sustained. I feel that it is having a damaging affect on our relationship, family life and probably his health. The support I have been able to give him does not seem to have been effective, and I wonder if Alcoholics Anonymous might be useful, but know little of what is involved.
A ALCOHOLISM is an unpleasant illness with an impact on much more than the health of the drinker. It is an addictive substance, with mood altering properties. Most of us who drink find that beyond a certain point more alcohol does not continue to make us feel happier, the alcoholic's metabolism probably works differently so that there is only one thing more pleasurable than the sixth drink, yes the seventh.
Alcoholics Anonymous tries to support the drinker who wishes to stop by acknowledging the problem, reflecting on its impact and giving active support from peers when the going is tough for the "recovering" alcoholic.
There is some logic in getting help from those with personal experience of the problem, though this approach is not for everyone it has had very positive benefits for many. AA generally takes the view that there is no safe amount for an alcoholic to drink, without risking addiction and abuse, which can be difficult to accept for some, though in my opinion and experience this is probably true. There is also acceptance that many alcoholics will not achieve sobriety on their first attempt, and will continue to support people in their struggle over many years if required. I think it is an avenue worth exploring. Good luck.