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Guidelines for Handling William Faulkner's Drinking During Foreign Trips From the US State Department (1955) | Open Culture

“Keep several pretty young girls in the front two rows of any public appearance to keep his attention up” “Put someone in charge of his liquor at all times so that he doesn’t drink too quickly” “Do not allow him to venture out on his own without an escort”

Adieu to the Anchor

When alcohol or drugs are used to manage PTSD symptoms, the symptoms of the disorder only become more severe. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol can worsen depression and anxiety and interfere with normal sleep patterns.
Two questions is all it could take to establish whether a person currently suffers from or is at risk of a drink problem, a study for GPs says. […] ‘How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?’ and ‘as a result of your drinking or drug use, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn’t happen?’ are the two enquiries a GP could make to detect hidden alcohol abuse, it claims.
alcoholism is the single strongest cause of divorce between the Grant Study men and their wives.  Alcoholism was also found to be strongly coupled with neurosis and depression (which most often follows alcohol abuse, rather than preceding it).  Together with cigarette smoking, alcoholism proves to be the #1 greatest cause of morbidity and death.
Predictors of conversion to psychosis were examined using Cox proportional hazards models. Results revealed that low use of alcohol, but neither cannabis use nor tobacco use at baseline, contributed to the prediction of psychosis in the CHR sample.
Once something is added to your collection of beliefs, you protect it from harm. You do this instinctively and unconsciously when confronted with attitude-inconsistent information. Just as confirmation bias shields you when you actively seek information, the backfire effect defends you when the information seeks you, when it blindsides you. Coming or going, you stick to your beliefs instead of questioning them. When someone tries to correct you, tries to dilute your misconceptions, it backfires and strengthens those misconceptions instead. Over time, the backfire effect makes you less skeptical of those things that allow you to continue seeing your beliefs and attitudes as true and proper. But what makes this especially worrisome is that in the process of exerting effort on dealing with the cognitive dissonance produced by conflicting evidence, we actually end up building new memories and new neural connections that further strengthen our original convictions.
q   Denial—is the coping mechanism of unawareness.  It is really not about lying, but about a total unawareness that there is a problem.   Oftentimes, the more severe the problem, the more denial there is.  q   Minimizing—is the coping mechanism of acknowledging something, but making it “not that big of a thing.”  They often feel that people are making “a mountain out of a mole hill.” q   Normalizing—This occurs when a person wants to feel normal, because of the shame they feel.  So they surround themselves with other “addicts” who do the same level of drinking, sexing, avoiding, etc. so they feel normal.  “Everyone then must be an alcoholic.” q   Blaming—The alcoholic feels that “they might be somewhat at fault, but they are sure that other people are more to blame” for whatever is happening in their lives.  Even when the have a legitimate complaint, the blame gets them stuck, causing  them to not take responsibility and find a solution.  The problem is that they don’t look as to how they contribute to the problem and, additionally, this gives them a sense of entitlement to use their substance.
Many alcoholics and addicts feel like their life is pointless. They use this despair to justify their self-destructive behavior. Its a self-perpetuating cycle – the more they drink/use, the more their life becomes about getting the next fix, and the less meaning they find in anything else. The less meaning they find in anything else, the less reason they have to quit using/drinking. The reality is that drinking/using lets you avoid the much bigger challenge of actually doing something meaningful or productive with your life. But once you quit, you can start to focus your energies on finding that meaning. That meaning, whether its a connection with a higher power, helping others, striving for holistic growth, or even simply finding joy in this precious gift we call life, is also what helps addicts stay sober for life.
The addict blames his addictive behavior on his significant other, usually his spouse. He feels resentful and self-pitying about the way he considers himself to be treated and uses this to justify his addiction. Since one of the commonest causes of resentment and self-pity in addicts is criticism by others of their addictive behavior, and since the characteristic response of the addict to such criticism is to escalate addictive behavior, this process tends to be self-perpetuating. The addict is often quite cruel in highlighting, exaggerating and exploiting any and every defect or flaw the significant other may have, or even in fabricating them out of his own mind in order to justify and rationalize his own behavior.
The problems caused by addiction are avoided or obscured by a heroic pose worthy of Patrick Henry("Give me liberty or give me death!"). By focusing on his supposed freedom to do as he wishes -actually the freedom of his addiction to do as it wishes- the addict sidesteps the more difficult question of the rationality and sanity of his behavior. Defiance and oppositional behavior are common defenses of addicts against looking at themselves.
Unable to distinguish himself from his addiction, the addict cannot imagine himself or existence without the addiction. The prospect of "losing" the addiction is unthinkable to him since it would, he believes, mean the loss of himself and of everything that makes life worth living. The addict paints a Romantic portrait for himself and others which, while it may acknowledge at least some of the destructive effects of his addiction, attempts to rationalize the insanity of addictive behavior as glorious, if tragic self-actualization and fulfillment, and to represent anything less than this, e.g. abstinence and sobriety, as a kind of forfeiture of the self and living death, to which a premature addictive exitus is much to be preferred. The fact that many addicts actually believe such transparent foolishness is a somber testimony to the power of addictive insanity.
For in addiction, the true self is suppressed or eclipsed and the false self -the addicted self- installed in its place as a kind of Vichy regime to execute the imperatives of its lord and master, addiction. The addict, that is, supposes that he is making his own choices when in fact they are being made for him by his addiction. Yet obvious as this may be and frequently is to those around him, it is normally the most difficult thing of all for the addict himself to grasp or admit.
erhaps it should have been I who quit. I DON’T remember the last glass of wine my husband and I shared, the last shot or cocktail. I do, though, remember the last time he drank: at our spring party in 2000. Our daughter was 4, and my father was dead. Rob had just taken up bike racing, having been a competitive runner in college. Riding 20 miles a day was, I was pretty sure, all that was keeping him from going crazy. I confess: I hoped he’d start again. I never thought he had a problem with alcohol (which perhaps speaks more to my relationship with alcohol), and I missed his playing Nick to my Nora Charles.
Once drinking has become a commitment, turning back and returning to normal social drinking is extremely difficult, if not impossible. If a committed drinker wants to do that, I strongly recommend that he or she begin with an extended period of abstinence -- six months at a minimum. The help of a counselor experienced with treating addictions is also essential. In contrast, men and women who realize that they have slipped somewhere into the almost alcoholic zone have many more options available to them.
When we say we've gone from being casual friends with someone to having a "relationship" with them we are implying a stronger connection. So it is with alcohol. In this second stage, a person has learned to use alcohol consistently for one of two reasons: either to create certain positive feelings (e.g., relaxation, euphoria) or else to avoid certain negative feelings (e.g., anxiety, loneliness). This type of drinking is represented by the large gray area that we have defined as the "almost alcoholic" zone on the drinking spectrum. It is indeed a "gray area" because, first, there is no sharp line that separates normal social drinking from becoming an almost alcoholic. Second, there are even degrees within that zone, with some people being much closer to true alcoholism than others. In other words, as a person moves to the right on the drinking spectrum the stronger their "relationship" with alcohol becomes. Rather than stepping over a sharp line in the sand, a person gradually slips away from social drinking ("casual friendship") and into almost alcoholic drinking ("relationship"). At some point the symptoms and behavior patterns associated with being an almost alcoholic start to appear, especially drinking consistently alone and in an effort to either create feelings (relaxation) or mute them (anxiety, depression), or to influence behavior (to socialize, to get to sleep). At this point alcohol has become a reliable "buddy." Drinking at this stage makes a person more vulnerable to certain negative consequences, such as more frequent hangovers, unpredictable mood changes, or lack of concentration and mental acuity. If we move deeper into the almost alcoholic zone, our bodies become less efficient at metabolizing alcohol, with the result that we feel tipsy more quickly, which can lead us to behave in ways that later embarrass us. Finally, at this stage loved ones become aware of our drinking and may experience a degree of "jealousy" over our relationship with alcohol.
Rather than do any of the above, a more successful approach is simply and matter-of-factly point out the connection between your partner's drinking and its consequences. These consequences can be physical, behavioral, and/or psychological.
For the past several years the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has worked on a revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) that is used to make diagnoses. In particular, the APA did a lot of re-thinking about this categorical view of many diagnoses, and one of them was alcoholism. As a result, in its just released newest version of the manual, called DSM-5, the categorical approach has been replaced with a dimensional one (
Beyond establishing the connection between childhood abuse and neglect and later drinking problems, this study sought to explore the connection by analyzing the results of the personality tests that both groups took. What they found was that the group who experienced emotional abuse and neglect in childhood and who as adults sought treatment for drinking problems reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, and/or anger. In addition as a group these men and women were act impulsively in response to these emotions. That impulsiveness could include drinking as a means of coping with or anesthetizing those negative feelings. From my own clinical experience I would also add grief and loneliness to the list of negative emotions that can contribute to drinking as a means of coping.
So last night I had my first cocktail of the year.