How responsible is someone with AUD for their continued alcoholism.

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As the surviving partner of an alcoholic who did not make it I am left with so many unanswered questions. I will try to find a way to articulate. I apologise - in advance if I offend anyone or make a blunder in my rummaging in the darkness. 

Given that AUD is a disease and that not getting help is part of the disease – how does one deal with the attitude of much of society that the AUD person is somehow defective and  to blame for their disease because they did not get help and because their continued drinking was a form of self aggression?

 Further, that if you love such a person and try to support them and stay with them you are considered part of the problem – ie co- dependent or an enabler etc.  Yet, if my partner had cancer I would also stay with them and support them. So why is the attitude and or understanding of AUD so different? Is it ignorance? Or could it be that it varies greatly according to genetics and psychological characteristics? Is it because societies are not ready to deal with the real disease?

 If it is a disease – is it a form of self aggression? Because this is the position of many medics and therapists – that it is a form of self harm and therefore attracts more aggression from the medical community. Is there any relation what so ever between the disease and the moral attributes of the person? This seems unlikely to me since no one would voluntarily lose everything they have and land on the street.

Something is terribly wrong with the attitude of the medical and judicial systems towards people with AUD in that, at least in this country, alcoholics are treated as if they are not ill but just bad people.  How responsible is a person with AUD for their disease and its continuance?

 

 I realize that the help available is mostly inadequate and discovered that in our most desperate time that there was virtually no real help.

I am struggling a lot with this as I have survived the violent death of a great and unique partner who  had been an alcoholic for some 30 years, had many withdrawals (all self administered), was never ever violent, aggressive or nasty during a heavy drinking spree. 

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    A very interesting discussion. They’re have been a couple of similar discussions, one 2 months ago which may be of help to you if you scroll back.

    Its a deep subject and so many views. Will reply later, but AUD and taking responsibility and is it a disease has been discussed previously.

    Sorry to hear of your husbands violent death, particularly as he was never violent himself.

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  • Posted

    I’m sorry that you had to witness your life partner suffer for so long, I feel very sad for you, you have been suffering with him and now you are continuing in sufferance.

    Understandably You seem consumed with questions about why and what if, my personal belief and experience is that irrelevant of how or why the alcohol enters the body of a person which ultimately leads to death ( and many more trauma’s and losses before) it is looked upon as self abuse, the system is very black and white in stating the help is there.. FULL STOP. As we all know there is a hell of a lot more to that sentence after the full stop but why would they dare elaborate on this when they can cut it off as simply as that.

    I believe the answer is they do not know, pretty much the same as they don’t know anything about the personality disorder sticker they like to slap on people. It is not questioned and tackled because why would it be? Wasting resources on alcoholics? They have a choice is usually the go to response. I could go on forever about the system and how they are entirely responsible for my personal experience and how they moulded my path from a young child in their disgusting care homes but I won’t because it won’t make me better.

    As difficult as it is for you right now in your grief and your pain I think your time would be best spent thinking about the wonderful years you spent together, I’m pretty sure that’s what he would want for you rather than you continuing on in pain x

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    • Posted

      Dear Chantelle, thank you for your answer. Yes, I have been hit by a deluge of collateral damage PTS, can'T work any more, physical illnesses, insomnia, speech impediment etc etc...It is massive. I am in therapy and while the therapist is good (and that took ages to find after having been to one who said I was a victim of Voodoo amongst other quacks) - this one suddenly out of no where tells me I am or was "co-dependent" and and enabler without me having actually gone into any detail about how I tried to support him and or the progession of his disease. In fact he didn#t die directly from the alcohol - he was a victim of manslaughter - and I am trying to press criminal charges against those responsible. But because he was an alcoholic...you guessed it...it was his fault for being an alcoholic and my fault. I have been taken advantage of by all involved including the police, the public prosecutors and the medical community. I don't accept that.

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  • Posted

    In my opinion AUD is more of a mental illness than a disease but is treated differently from other mental illnesses because it involves a drug that most people enjoy and can use in moderation.

    People who can't use ethanol in a socially acceptable manner are disliked for several reasons. A) They've let the side down by misusing one of the only drugs that is socially permissible. B) They make people feel uncomfortable because they realise that they could end up in the same boat if they increase their ethanol intake.

    And then there is C) The hold that AA still has over much of the alcohol recovery industry, an organisation founded on the idea that people who drank too much were sinners in need of God.

    Naltrexone seems to indicate that AUD happens because some people have brains that are incapable of drinking in moderation and not because people are morally weak.

    As for being an 'enabler', I think it's common for people who lose a loved one in unfortunate circumstances to think they were part of the problem. One way to look at it is to think about other people who were close to your partner. Do you blame them for how things turned out? If the answer for them is 'no' then it's the same answer for you.

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    • Posted

      Dear Alex,

      thank you for your time and kind answer. I found it very offensive after all of this to be told that I contributed to his death in that I am supposedly an "enabler or co-dpe" - sounds to me like DIY self help babble. 

      And the answer to your question was no - I don't blame the others. Many mental illnesses are in fact neurological which means that they are not purely psychological in nature. It seems to me to be an epidemic which has not be recognized and that all of the blame goes onto the victims and their loved ones.   

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