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FAQ by people supporting an alcoholic

This page is structured according to the different phases of the disease. It is populated as real requests are received.

How can I convince a person that he has a problem?

How do I manage the issues/new relationship when a person is becoming dry due to implants?


How can I convince a person that he has a problem?

Ask him to use any of the assessment instruments on this site when he is sober. They are mostly structured in such a way that they measure behaviour. If the person is in denial one can confront him by requesting to demonstrate behaviour that will "pass" the criteria in the assessment.


How can I support somebody that is dry after receiving implants?

I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic. He has stopped drinking 6 months now after he had the implants. My problem is that I cannot seem to reach him. His whole personality and behaviour has changed. We were apart for a year after I could not stand the drinking anymore. We have since reunited, but things seem to be worse now than before. He has this notion that since he stopped drinking he has nothing to feel guilty about anymore and so he does not have to say sorry for anything he does now. He is always moody and judgmental about everything we do and say. His once loving nature has changed to a frustrated unloving person, not to mention that we are not intimate anymore (he blames this on the implants). I have asked him more than once what it is that is frustrating him so much, and he keeps saying that we don't listen to him, but when I want to talk he shuts me up saying I don't know how he feels. The other night the minister of our church came to visit and asked him if he would assist one of the congregation members having an alcohol problem now that he is recovering and he said to the minister that he does not know if he is a recovered alcoholic that he will have to determine once the implants have worked out. So you see I don't know what he feels or what he wants and I cannot help him if he does not speak to me or put his trust in me. I am at my wits end . Please help me as I really want to understand his situation and get our relationship back on track.


Many people see the solution for an alcoholism situation as the drinker being sober. However, an absence of a problem does not equal a solution. You are now confronted with a mixture of the deeper lying causes of alcoholism as well as the physical and psychological after effects of his alcoholism.

 Effects of Disulphiram

Disulphiram is the active ingredient in medicines that make the use of alcohol very unpleasant. 

Besides severe physical effects, one of the psychological effects is a general feeling of fear. This leaves the person feeling insecure and having a lack of perseverance. 


In many cases alcoholism has deeper lying causes that do not disappear once the drinker is sober. The following are long term issues with and without alcohol. They are discussed in detail at causes of alcoholism.

bulletEstablished behaviour patterns
bulletDamaged relationships

Longer Term Success

There is a physical, psychological and social element to longer term success.  For long term success the following is necessary once a drinker is sober:


The most important is a valid motivational model why it is better not to drink.


Support from people having a meaningful relationship with him.


A multi-discipline approach addressing the physical, psychological and social issues.

Specific recommendations for your circumstances 

You requested to be helped in order to understand. I trust that the above will help you to understand the complexity of the situation and how deep rooted some of the issues are. 

The crux of the matter is that your husband is going through a period of a lack of self-confidence and a lack of perseverance. He now faces the responsibility of engaging society again and is probably scared.

In reality your requirement may be wider than understanding only. If so please indicate it as such as well as whether you can afford additional support etc. 

Your husband’s remark that he does not know whether he is dry or not before the implant has worked out, may be a red light. He may be structuring his situation for himself that he has been forced by circumstances to accept the implant/stop drinking and therefore does not need to maintain being dry. 

Some practical suggestions: 

bulletThe most important is to establish a motivational model why the current state is better than the past and can become much better in the future, for both of you. The danger in your remark that  We have since reunited, but things seem to be worse now than beforeis that your own motivation to work on the situation may disappear.
bulletCreate new routines that cater for (physical) relaxation/exercise, combined with a good balanced diet. See for more details on the importance of chemistry at this phase.
bulletPrevent boredom.
bulletPrevent fatigue.
bulletMaintain and try to expand your relation with the church.
bulletJoin a support group. Have you tried making contact with somebody?
bulletSee this link for more detail and a possible checklist for actions.

Last updated 18 April 2007

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