Recently, a young man named Arthur came to the Coleman Network for help dealing with his alcohol use disorder.
Arthur appears to have it all. He has a successful career, a loving family, and supportive friends. Overall, Arthur is a healthy person. But every morning, he starts his day with a drink to stop the shakes. By the end of every day, he has consumed a fifth of liquor. He has been drinking regularly since he was 15 years old.
Signs of a Drinking Problem
The daily shaking that began the moment he woke was the first sign that made Arthur stop and think about his drinking habits. The weird sensations of numbness in his limbs that start about six hours after his last drink that finally convinced Art he might have a drinking problem.
Drinking is a part of Arthur’s identity, so the idea of not drinking was terrifying for him. Mark Nepo, a poet and spiritual adviser, says, “When facing what’s ours to face, we’re surprised to learn, time and again, that under what seems unbearable is the rest of life waiting to be lived.” For Arthur, he needed to learn that beyond the ‘unbearable idea of not drinking’ is a full and healthy life waiting for him.
You Must Make the Decision to Stop Drinking
I wanted to tell Arthur about all of the successful Alcohol Detoxes we have completed at the Coleman Network over the years; all of the happiness that comes from relieving themselves of the burden of their dependence on alcohol; he freedom of finding emotional sobriety, peace of mind, and physical wellness is profound.
But giving up alcohol is a process, and Dr. Coleman taught me years ago that I can’t work harder than my patient on their sobriety. First the decision must be made, the drinking must stop, and then slowly the new reality unfolds.
When to Seek Medication-Assisted Treatment
Not everyone needs a medical detox off alcohol, and it is important that you check with your doctor before attempting to stop on your own. Arthur needs to be in a safe environment.
When asked if he had ever had a seizure when he stopped drinking, he replied that he didn’t know. He had never gone more than a few hours — especially in the last several years — without a drink. But the fact that he now needs a drink to stop the shakes in the morning is indicative of needing medical assistance.
Outpatient Detox Programs to Fit Your Life
At the Coleman Network, Arthur will spend the first day of his outpatient alcohol detox in a private room with the support person of his choice. We will check his lab reports and do an EKG. Throughout the day he will receive medication through an IV to prevent seizures and other complications of abrupt alcohol cessation.
Medications used for the remainder of the program will be given to Arthur’s support person with explicit instructions on how to administer them.
Our office specializes in using long acting naltrexone for people who want to stop drinking alcohol. Naltrexone cuts down on the cravings, pleasure, and impulse to drink for most people. We also prescribe disulfiram as a deterrent to drinking alcohol.
Custom Alcohol Detox
We will work with Arthur to create a plan for sobriety beyond his detox. This plan will take into account his lifestyle and the level of support he needs now, plus continued reassessment.
As Arthur’s body begins to heal from the alcohol onslaught, his needs will turn more and more towards finding what life holds for him, unaccompanied by alcohol. Arthur will find himself in a place of acceptance to the myriad of resources available to him. I believe Arthur is well positioned to begin to explore these resources.
If you or a loved one is concerned about stopping drinking on your own, please schedule a callback today.
Joan R. Shepherd, FNP