A serious cry for help from an alcoholic

Are there any programs in Taiwan like AA that can help individuals wanting to start the recovery process of being an alcoholic?

I am asking on behalf of someone that I care about very much. Her father is in the hospital with severe kidney problems due to alcohol. Alcohol has been a huge problem in his life and has hurt his marriage and his family. He admits now, finally, that he has a drinking problem. He saw the pain in his daughters eyes when she came to visit him at the hospital last night and he saw the destruction he has caused to his maraige when his wife refused to come.

His daughter pleaded for him to stop drinking. Last night, in the hospital, he made a promise to her that he would do his best to stop drinking and said that he needed her help to keep it. What can she do, besides just give emotional support? Reality hit hard this time when he woke up in a ditch outside their home and couldn

There are social service programs and there are medical treatments available to stop drinking yes. I don’t have the numbers on me now, but I can get them when I go home.

Which area of Taiwan?

you need to have him tell everyone he knows that he has quit drinking.

i mean everyone. and he needs to tell them all himself.

this way if he is seen with a drink he will have to face the wrath of questions and comments, like, “hey, i thought you quit drinking”.

if he tells everyone he has quit drinking he will feel guilt whenever he feels like having a drink. he won’t want to look weak in others eyes. if he is seen not drinking, he will be seen as strong and will feel strong.

in my opinion, this works better than AA. because the second A stands for anonymous. who cares what anonymous people think about you, but if you tell people you care about that you quit drinking, then you have their opinions of yourself to deal with. anyone can go to AA and lie, but it’s harder to tell your family you quit drinking, then go out and drink and come home stinking.

he needs to make this his new life.

habits are hard to break. and thats what alcoholism is, a habit. whether it started for fun or bordem or to take the edge off, it becomes a habit. often you need to get to the deeper reason of why one drinks. that is different for every person.

habits can be broken. if he can make it 21 days, then he’s started a new habit-not drinking.

i often find that if i really want to do something, then i tell other people i am going to do it, then it makes it real. then they ask about how it’s going, and i feel i need to deliver.

just my opinion, hope it helps.


Thanks JDSmith. He is in Kaohsiung (just outside the city)

And thank you John Moss. You have some great ideas. I agree, the more people you have to face who know you promised to quit, the harder it will be to pick up a drink in front of them.

Well, if he’s in hospital now, then that’s a great opportunity to start drying out. Have him (and other family members) talk to the doctors. If he’s got a serious alcohol problem, which it sounds like, the detox/withdrawal will need medical supervision, otherwise he’s at risk of delirium tremens, which can result in seizure, strokes, heart attacks etc. The risk is greatest in the period up to 72 hours after the last drink, but can occur anything up to about a week after the last drink.

Once detox is complete, he’ll need some kind of support network in order to stay on the wagon. John Moss had some good ideas about that in the earlier post.

Taking up some kind of exercise etc would be a good idea to fill in the time that was previously spent drinking.

Good luck.

[quote=“derek1978”]Thanks JDSmith. He is in Kaohsiung (just outside the city)

And thank you John Moss. You have some great ideas. I agree, the more people you have to face who know you promised to quit, the harder it will be to pick up a drink in front of them.[/quote]

Yes, but promising people and promising yourself to quit is part of the disease. By failing, you feel like shit, and that is a great reason to drink. I would advise against him running out and telling all his buddies he wasn’t going to drink again. The first thing is to prove to yourself that you can quit. Howevere, if he was so drunk and passing out in ditches to me it signifies a very serious drinking problem and medication may be necessary to prevent severe withdrawl…which can kill you.

He should see the psychiatrist while he’s IN the hospital now and say, “I want to quit, but I don’t think I can do it by myself. Can you help me?”

There are medications that ease withdrawl, and antidepressants which can help your brain get back on track.

telling friends here that you are going to quit may also, depending on the type of friends, lead to snickering behind the back “buddy can’t take it anymore … wife’s got you by the short and curlies” etc. the whole drinking culture is a little different, depending on who you spend your time with, of course. you may feel guilt and shame because you are not drinking …

if his acquaintances are the type i described above, you will have to get him away from their influence - one of the ways to stop something is to stop being around it (so much/at all). you can’t concentrate on not drinking when everyone around you has an open can.

i know people here who would be interested in helping their friends if they needed this kind of help, but from what you’ve described, i’m not sure that buddy’s friends fall into that catagory - they very likely could have been in the ditch beside him, but woken up earlier and went home.

good luck with this - it’s a tough road ahead.

jdsmith says you need to first prove it to yourself that you can quit. well, if you are on your own, then yourself can always tell yourself that one drink won’t hurt, or that you’ve earned it after a hard days’ work. someone who really needs to quit needs a support system of some kind. i thin AA fails in that it is an anonymous group of people with the same problem. you need people who care about you to help you. that comes from family and friends that know what new course you are on.

xtrain says his friends will snicker. well, too bad. i doubt there was anyone else in the ditch with him. maybe he has drinking buddies, but they are out for a good time, they probably don’t know what’s happening to his family. maybe they don’t have a problem. he is the one with the problem. he’s the one with the family falling apart. his drinking buddies are his good time buddies. they probably don’t know about the real issue.

he has to do this for himself. he needs to want to quit. if he has already admitted he has a problem, he is on his way. if he’s in the hospital, he has a reality check, and is again on his way.

he’s the one with the battle. he will fight it if he wants to. hopefully he will have people on the sidelines encouraging and helping him, not snickering.


JM, I suggested seeing a counselor and getting medication too. :slight_smile:

Many families have no idea how to handle alcholism. A professional will help a person get through the emotional side of quitting, and meds will help with the physiological side.

Of course having a support group is vital. My point was that once you have proven to yourself that it is possible, it is more probable that you will accept others’ support. Without that belief in yourself, you may not believe what others say you can do.

Recovery is different for everyone. AA doesn’t work for everyone who tries. Some people quit cold turkey with no help at all; some people go to counselling and take meds. There is no best way…only suggestions.

Hope that clears up a bit of what I said.



He has to WANT to quit drinking. Bottom line. Everyone knows he’s a drunk and he’s killing himself. He probably knows that as well. Having him tell all of his friends that he has quit might give him some sober time. Hospital supervised detox might work as long as he stays there. But from what Derik wrote the guy is pretty chronic.

Any alcoholic can quit drinking for a time. Even months or years. But learning to live sober is another thing completely. There’s the rub! There’s a reason that some people are alcoholics and some people just drink too much. Some people are sick and some are not. That’s why they are called alcoholics and not drinkers.

There are AA meetings in most major centers of Taiwan. Many of them are Chinese language meetings, but English meetings do exist. AA and other faith based step programs have a very good success rate for people who stringently follow the steps.

Derik, You can find a number for AA in the classifieds section of one of the English language newspapers. You can also google it. There will be phone numbers to call and somebody will point you in the right direction. There is a lot of general information about AA on the net.

One of the reasons that AA WORKS is that it is an anonymous group of people with the same problem. The members are mostly anonymous to non-members. You probably wouldn’t want to tell your boss that you are going to meetings, would you?

And yes, recovery is different for everyone.
I hope this helps some. Good luck with The sick guy!

[quote=“canucktyuktuk”]…AA and other faith based step programs have a very good success rate for people who stringently follow the steps…

By faith-based, I assume you mean Christian.
I’ve heard that an alcoholic wishing to start the AA program is first required to pledge, or at least acknowledge, the existence of an omnipotent entity (ie, God) before being accepted.
I’d be very happy to be wrong about this.

[quote=“Infidel”][quote=“canucktyuktuk”]…AA and other faith based step programs have a very good success rate for people who stringently follow the steps…

By faith-based, I assume you mean Christian.
I’ve heard that an alcoholic wishing to start the AA program is first required to pledge, or at least acknowledge, the existence of an omnipotent entity (ie, God) before being accepted.
I’d be very happy to be wrong about this.[/quote]

I have a couple of brothers in AA. They tell me that the “Higher power” is not necessarily a diety. It could be say, love for one’s family.

For those folks not into AA, try rational.org. Look for the pages titled: Bullets for your beast.


[quote=“JOHN MOSS”]
xtrain says his friends will snicker. well, too bad. [/quote]

if a great many people here won’t (for example) open their mouth to learn english after forking out huge $$$ to learn the language (because of issues related to face and not making mistakes in front of your friends), what on earth makes you think that this kind of decision will be any different?
the culture here is a little different - you don’t just say “too bad” - it won’t work. thus, my suggestion to take a break from the friends - maybe some time with family/loved ones who know he is quitting will be more helpful. or an AA thing - although this is not as popular here as in the west. still, i would think they would take the different cultural issues into account. a professional is a great idea - if the guy will admit that the professional knows his stuff, and is looking out for the guy’s best interest - not just that he “should” listen.
i have a number of taiwanese friends here who have been told by doctors repeatedly to stop drinking, but they still call me to go out, at least once a month :loco: i gotten to telling them that i’ve quit drinking, so i don’t need to be a part of it. it’s a symbol of loss of manhood if they stop, and they are/seem to be willing to risk their lives to hang on to that symbol.

First of all, can I suggest that this is not the kind of thread that everyone with an opinion on the subject should be replying to.

There’s already enough misinformation about AA on here to keep this guy from giving it a fair chance.

Remember that AA developed because the medical and psychiatric communities were failing utterly in their attempts to help people.

If he’s been hospitalized due to alcoholism he’s a good candidate. If he’s gone down that far maybe he’s willing to give it a chance. AA is often the last stop. But like canucktuyuktuk said, he has to want to quit.

Pleading won’t help. Friends seeing him drinking will help less.

No. AA does not have the market cornered on alcoholism… they’ll tell you that. But millions sobered up and are still sober in AA. BTW. the program is anonymous to take away the initial fear of going there. It is also there to level out the social arena. You are not a lawyer, doctor, garbage collector there…you are an alcoholic, nothing else.

And no , there are no pledges. There is one requirement. A desire to stop drinking.

This guy should try AA at some point, whether it be before , after, or during other treatments.

I have had more than a little first hand experience with alcoholism. I presume the person involved is a Taiwanese. That puts a problem on top of a problem in that I strongly suspect many of the approaches used in the west will not work so well here, in fact they are probably counter-productive.

One thing I am 100% sure of; there are no silver bullets; not AA, not rational recovery, not antabuse, not psychology, not religion, not any of that. What seems to work best, based on western research of westerners, is some individually tailored combo of those things.

I will lay aside the whole issue of is alcoholism a disease, my personal analysis is that it is not, but that scientific issue is not really germane to the problem of how to help someone I really care about in Taiwan. First the bad news, Taiwans mental health system is worse than Californias (and that is a damning critique, as Californias is piss poor).

Be that as it may, I would say step one is do not let the guy out of the hospital until he has talked with a psychiatrists (a medical doctor trained in psychology). I realize by the time you read this either the guy is already out or a psychiatrist is not available. But that is what step one should be; a physican’s plan for treatment.

Let me close on a note that is neither positive nor negative; beating booze is a matter of personal honesty + motivation + the use of a range of techniques (e.g. cognitive psychology, learning new skills, antabuse, AA ) + a wee bit of luck. Luck factors in. Some win the battle against booze, some do not. Family and friends can help up to a point, then it is up to the guy and in the end it may well be a matter of fate.

Good luck to your loved one,
Hope this helps,

For those folks not into AA, try rational.org. [/quote]

Well put, tot. I would encourage anyone interested in or having questions pertaining to AA to simply look it up on the net. All the literature is there.

On the issue of AA’s religious stance, the references to a “higher power” were actually intended to AVOID sectarian religious language. They didn’t want to put people in the position of having to give up their religion in order to go sober. While their grasp of world religions (or awareness of atheism) leaves something to be desired, their intentions were good.

How “Christian” a meeting is varies a lot. Some U.S. groups pray the Lord’s Prayer, perhaps without thinking very much about its Christian nature. I doubt this would happen in Taiwan, though. Anyway, if it’s a choice between putting up with some alien religious language and having a greater likelihood of falling off the wagon, I’d take the higher power.

I agree with x-train. I think in any culture, getting the serious alkie out of his chain of boozing friends is VITAL. Especially during that vunerable six-week period. This wisdom is especially true in this “Bottoms Up” kultur.

And brianlkennedy’s advice about silver bullets and being realistic about odds are sound words indeed.

My personal experience of folks in my life has been that a network of reliable phone /internet contacts, a healthy diet, lots of exercise, and a whole array of veritable distractions; are all advisable methods of forming a second layer of defence, the first being professional care.

My best advice to the OP would be to have the chap in question find a new hobby. Pottery, Guitar, poetry, Kendo, or needlepoint, it matters naught. Anything positive and creative enough to occupy the mind

Mind, over matter,
Best of luck with this,