What is Alcoholism?


Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) a disease with: 

  • a need to drink alcohol for the purpose of getting high or being cool (no?)
  • withdrawal symptoms, like shakiness when you stop, usually in 24 hours


Best Treatment for Alcoholism



Get two forms of counseling immediately, today if possible. One is called group counseling. AA has done this traditionally. However, the focus there is Jesus Christ. If that is a good focus for you, then that is a good fit. It is not, nondenominational group counseling is recommended. The only real problem I have to say here with group counseling is that it often brings together other substance dependent patients in a manner that is counterproductive to their general well-being. My point: sometimes in Narcotics Anonymous, there is an opportunity to buy and sell drugs. And it happens. Be warned.

The other form of counseling you should get today if at all possible, but certainly this week: individual counseling. It must be a licensed counselor. I can go into a dozen reasons for that. Trust me. They must be licensed. And simply a priest or rabbi will not do. A family member who knows your problems for the counseling? No, this will not do.


What Causes Alcoholism?



Dependence occurs in people with a genetic predisposition to it that also drink too much. So if you have the genetic predisposition, you definitely should not drink more than one beverage per week. The only beverage correlated with improved heart or any kind of health is IPA beer. Wine makers and drinkers have been preaching the health benefits of a couple glasses of wine at night for decades. Simply not true.


Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Cancer?


Cancer specialists including the most respected oncologists have long preached the increased tendency towards cancer in alcohol drinkers. Those studies have proven out. They have often argued with their cardiologist buds who swore benefits in alcohol consumption. Oncologists are having the last laugh on that one now.

So, what if you don’t have the genetic predisposition, and you drink too much. Bear in mind that alcohol is not good for you on any level for anyone. The cancer risk of a single drink per day has been proven in some major statistically significant studies just this year.

So whether you drink from time to time or you drink always, or you are a binge drinker (you drink heavily, then don’t drink heavily), my formal recommendation is that you stop drinking.


How to Stop Drinking


The easiest way to do this is not to stop cold turkey. You should lower your alcohol consumption immediately to one per night. Do that for a month. Then, go to one drink every other night for a month. I would pick odd calendar days for that one drink every other day. That way it’s easier to remember if you drank the night before or not. You would be surprised at how persuasive your body’s receptors are at convincing you that you did not drink the night before when you get confused. And also with odd calendar day drinking, you get a few extra drinks per month 🙂

So, what’s the next step after you have successfully pulled off one drink every other night for a month. At that point you go to one drink a week. Do that for a month. Then you go to: zero.

When you have trouble is what you’re asking.

Medical help is available if you are having trouble with the above plan. But be warned. A lot of physicians and psychiatrists will throw benzodiazepines into the alcohol cessation plan. I completely disagree. Many reasons. The benzodiazepines will produce increased anxiety above your baseline when you start them. Also, they cause obesity and rot your brain. Also they are extremely addictive, so you will likely switch from one receptor director problem, alcoholism, to another, benzodiazepine addiction.

But, occasionally, something is necessary for the delirium tremens, DTs, that occur with alcohol cessation. They can even be dangerous. So, something will have to be done to prevent that jitteriness and seizure tendency. I recommend phenobarbital. Barbiturates like phenobarbital course would require prescription from a physician.

I hope you will never get to the next step. But if you are having trouble with the first line medication plan that simply blocks seizure tendencies… If you simply cannot let go of the alcohol, medications are available that will make you sick when you drink alcohol. The patients’ big argument against this is that these medications destroy the liver. Then, I remind them… Alcohol destroys the liver.


All drinkers should immediately start considering the benefits of alcohol cessation completely immediately. Alcohol at any level is not good for you. It’s a liver and heart and brain rotting poison folks. Just saying. 

It’s correlated with cancer. It doesn’t help your heart. A lot of myths have been put to rest these past several months in the medical literature, so be aware, be informed, and spread the news. These are the general guidelines followed by addiction specialists:

All non-heavy drinkers should stop drinking altogether immediately.

All heavy drinkers should decrease to a drink per night immediately. You should continue that for about a month. They should then go to every other odd calendar night for about a month. Then they should go to one drink per week for about a month. Then they should stop altogether.

Medical care is available. Do the right thing.

Stem sell plug? If you really did a number on your liver in college, it’s extremely likely that stem cell therapy will help you regenerate your liver. Limited studies of course, except for patient funded investigation under close federal IRB’s going on right now. But at least anyone would be able to tolerate such stem cell therapy, especially if autologous, as it has essentially no side effects at all.

What to do when you need that stiff drink after a helluva week at work? Try shooting hoops for an hour with some buddies. Walk the dog a little extra. Hit the gym with the girls, laps in the pool, whatever… But, remember, that if you reach for a drink, you are feeding a receptor driven addiction that has side effects at every end organ imaginable, but primarily the three bigs, heart, liver, brain.