T Nation

Can John Keep Drinking?

I have a friend named John. John is starting to think that he has a drinking problem. He is in his young 20’s. John is worried because he regularly blacks out now when drinking and despite attempts to prevent himself from doing so, can’t. If John goes out with the intention of having 1 or 2 drinks he is almost always fine. It’s when John goes out with the intention of having say, 5 or 6 drinks, that he ends up drinking 12-20 drinks.

When this happens John’s memory will usually be missing significant chunks of his night. One of the big problems is that John’s blackouts “run backwards” - he never usually remembers being at the point of “having enough”. It’s like the choice almost doesn’t exist because he can never remember having the opportunity to make it. He is seemingly ok, having a good time, and next thing he knows he is waking up in bed. This scares John. John has been drinking for almost 5 years now and this has only started happening in the last year. John has probably blacked out now over a dozen times.

Does John having any hope of correcting his drinking habits?

Should he not drink for a while and then see how things go after a break ?

Any other advice?

I know there are some posters here who are/were big drinkers so I thought there might be some good advice.

Thanks.

If “John” cannot go one month without a drink, he might have a problem.

I think he should try that.

He can go a month without drinking and has done so in the past, more than once.

The problem is a little different than that. To borrow some terms - it’s the intensity, not the frequency.

p.s - never realized till now ( 8 years later…) that our join dates are within a month. Cool.

Well then he might not have a personality that is very likely to succumb to addiction but one that has problems with moderation.

Interestingly enough, I have a friend, lets call him “Morion”, who might have the same problem and who tries to keep his mind and his time occupied with things that benefit him in some for or another because this way his personality traits work for, instead of against him.

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and whatnot.

John was me many years ago, it will only get worse if he continues to drink. John needs AA / rehab what ever it take to quit drinking. I have now been 100% sober for 20+ years - no more blackouts

Addendum: I dont drink till I blackout, I just have problems with moderation.

Um…

Morion doesnt drink till he blacks out.

Want to know how to quit drinking till you blackout? Hell blacking out should be a red flag in itself.

Go to a gay bar. You’re straight so this will work.

Drink yourself into a blackout.

Wake up the next morning and wonder why your ass is sore. Rinse and repeat at the same bar/club until your brain makes the link.

[quote]harrypotter wrote:
Want to know how to quit drinking till you blackout? Hell blacking out should be a red flag in itself.

Go to a gay bar. You’re straight so this will work.

Drink yourself into a blackout.

Wake up the next morning and wonder why your ass is sore, loose, and sticky (probably want a HIV test). Rinse and repeat at the same bar/club until your brain makes the link.[/quote]
Fixed for you.

Its not very scientifical but I do believe that there is a difference between problematic drinking and dependency/alcoholism.

Problematic is when you have the intention of getting ripped and go over the line to a black out or those messy situations with police or offending and loosing a friend or two. This could be a sign of something wrong that maybe some counseling could help out with or tying up some lose ends of life and moving on could help out. A lot like one of my brothers used to be.

The dependency/alcoholism thing is a good bit different though. That is more destructive. Stuff like becoming habituated to the point of not making it through a day or experiencing detox symptoms, starting with the idea of having one and blacking out consistently, missing work, and being seriously out of control of yourself are more characteristic of dependency/alcoholism. That is where I was at with drinking. Not a good place to be.

John should try to figure out where in the spectrum between casual -> habitaul he falls and develop a course of action based on that. There are professional services and community health counselors that can help with that too.

One of the problems with going to a few meetings is that there is always some preachy newb who wants to save the world starting with You. So begins the conversation “I don’t know if I am.”. Followed by “But of course you are, thats just denial speaking”… and ends with somebody who could use a little help walking away saying “Fuck those Cool-ade drinkers”.

Anyways, Hope it works out for John.

A buddy of mine was celebrating graduating school. Lots of shots, blacked out in the street, huge gashes in his knees from falling down and woke up in jail.

As a pro-boozer my advice would be to stick to light beer. It’s hard to get so fucked up you black out drinking coor’s light.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Its not very scientifical but I do believe that there is a difference between problematic drinking and dependency/alcoholism.

Problematic is when you have the intention of getting ripped and go over the line to a black out or those messy situations with police or offending and loosing a friend or two. This could be a sign of something wrong that maybe some counseling could help out with or tying up some lose ends of life and moving on could help out. A lot like one of my brothers used to be.

The dependency/alcoholism thing is a good bit different though. That is more destructive. Stuff like becoming habituated to the point of not making it through a day or experiencing detox symptoms, starting with the idea of having one and blacking out consistently, missing work, and being seriously out of control of yourself are more characteristic of dependency/alcoholism. That is where I was at with drinking. Not a good place to be.

John should try to figure out where in the spectrum between casual -> habitaul he falls and develop a course of action based on that. There are professional services and community health counselors that can help with that too.

One of the problems with going to a few meetings is that there is always some preachy newb who wants to save the world starting with You. So begins the conversation “I don’t know if I am.”. Followed by “But of course you are, thats just denial speaking”… and ends with somebody who could use a little help walking away saying “Fuck those Cool-ade drinkers”.

Anyways, Hope it works out for John.

[/quote]

Thanks for the advice.

I think John would agree with you.

He doesn’t crave booze during the week. Also, if he has lots of school work due or something, he’ll simply skip the drinking on the weekend without much of a thought. This makes John feel a little better about his situation.

So yes, I would say it’s “problematic” drinking and not dependency/alcoholism as you said.

[quote]Captnoblivious wrote:
A buddy of mine was celebrating graduating school. Lots of shots, blacked out in the street, huge gashes in his knees from falling down and woke up in jail.

As a pro-boozer my advice would be to stick to light beer. It’s hard to get so fucked up you black out drinking coor’s light. [/quote]

Thanks.

Good advice. In fact, I believe this is what John’s father has done (stopped drinking the hards) and now just drinks beer.

John is likely going to try this.

[quote]orion wrote:
Well then he might not have a personality that is very likely to succumb to addiction but one that has problems with moderation.

Interestingly enough, I have a friend, lets call him “Morion”, who might have the same problem and who tries to keep his mind and his time occupied with things that benefit him in some for or another because this way his personality traits work for, instead of against him.

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and whatnot.
[/quote]

Very true.

And in fact, John has always had trouble with moderation in other areas of life. Sometimes though, this can work to his advantage as you suggested.

After you help John get his drinking under control you can move on to his problem with prostitutes. Seems like his name always comes up.

[quote]tmay11 wrote:

So yes, I would say it’s “problematic” drinking and not dependency/alcoholism as you said.
[/quote]

Seems a lot of us have friends with the same issues.

If john gets older and the problem gets worse, John needs to quit drinking. If John gets better as he gets older and more life responsibilites, John is a-ok to get shithoused now and again.

My friend YountingGeans used to drink himself into full on PArkinson’s like fits in college, on a regular basis. (In August too, it wasn’t just when it was cold out.)

Now he can drink like an normal adult.

My friend dbaddass never drank in college, but started to drink wine and beer after college. He started a job in October of last year and has gotten full on throwing up drunk twice at said job. Luckily he has good co workers that bought the booze for his birthday, took care of him, and drove him home. He knows he does not like Red Bull and Vodka, or Sauza Tequila shots now, but still testing the waters to see what he does enjoy.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
My friend YountingGeans used to drink himself into full on PArkinson’s like fits in college, on a regular basis. (In August too, it wasn’t just when it was cold out.)

Now he can drink like an normal adult. [/quote]

This is encouraging for John.

I still blackout when i drink to extremes, only I just refer to it as time traveling.

My friend Jack helped in those dire times of whale hunting.

He was never the same since.