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  1. #1

    Experiment for alcoholism

    My husband used to drink quite a bit until the last time he saw his therapist (psychiatrist). His drinking came up in the context of how our reconciliation was going. The only fight we have gotten into occured when I came home from work about a half hour after he had gotten home and he was already relatively drunk-but happy drunk. Anyway, to make a long story short I ended up getting mad that he was so drunk so early and told him so and we continued to fight about it for the rest of the night (except for when I left to go out to dinner). He ended up calling me a b----- which totally infuriated me. He also started making comments that reverted back to old problem areas that we had (like him wanting me in a more domestic, wifely type of role, etc).

    Anyway, his drinking came up in his therapy and he was worried that his therapist was going to make him totally stop drinking. However, interestingly enough the doctor tells him that he shouldn't stop drinking completely because that wouldn't prove anything-alcoholics can stop completely but cannot take only one drink, etc. He bargains him down to one beer every week day plus three beers every weekend night. This, he said, would keep him under "heavy drinking" which he said was 14 drinks/week. He said that if he can drink only that amount (and only really occasionally more than that) then he wasn't an alcoholic and if he could not limit it than he would be an alcoholic and have to go to AA and things like that. He said he thought there was a 50/50 chance either way.

    So far my husband is sticking to the drinking limit. It has been about 2.5 weeks. But I was just posting this because I was curious as to what people thought about this approach. I thought it was interesting and I was kind of surpirsed but it seems to be working....

  2. #2

    Re: Experiment for alcoholism

    I think the Sobell's (husband and wife research team) provided fairly convincing evidence back in the 80s that controlled drinking was a viable goal for some but not all problem drinkers.

  3. #3

    Re: Experiment for alcoholism

    The doctor said he definitely abused alcohol but made the distinction between that and being an alcoholic. Where does problem drinking fit into that...or do you see it more like a contiuum?

    I am interested in that research-I will try to find it.

  4. #4

    Re: Experiment for alcoholism

    1. problem drinking = alcohol abuse

    2. alcoholism = alcohol addiction

    An individual who meets the criiteria for #1 may or may not meet the criteria for #2.


  5. #5

    Re: Experiment for alcoholism

    Oh I get it..problem drinking and alcohol abuse are interchangeable.
    I have found some of the research but not exactly what I'm looking for...but found a sort of definition at this wesite ...
    In research published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (Vol. 26, No. 6), Sobell and colleagues reported that problem drinkers--those who had more than 12 drinks per week or five or more drinks on five or more days in the previous year-- significantly reduced their high-risk drinking behavior one year after the mail intervention.
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct03/drinking.html
    5 or more drinks on 5 or more days sounds like a really low criteria...

    Anyway thanks I will keep looking through the research. Maybe I will be able to figure out how the experiment will end before it does.

  6. #6

    Re: Experiment for alcoholism

    You'll find a number of articles in this Google search.

    There was considerable controversy about the issue at the time. For one thing, many addictions programs as well as AA had a lot invested (financially and otherwise) in the theory that the only viable goal was total abstinence (and indeed I am convinced that this is true for some individuals with drinking problems). There were personal attacks on the character of the Sobells as well as claims that they had "faked", "fudged", or otherwise distorted their data. There was even a formal professional investigation into some of the allegations. But in the end, they were exonerated, as I recall. I think you'll see references to that debate in some of the papers losted by Google.

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