All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

Alcoholic help in France

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,831
Locality
Near Lutterworth, Leics.
Have a friend in France on the cusp of admitting she's an alcoholic but she's making excuses for not getting help.
I think she's scared if she takes that step she'll not be able to get back to alcohol.
She's dual nationality.
Where can she get help over there? What kind of help?
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,831
Locality
Near Lutterworth, Leics.
She could go either way from here. Forward into "rehab" where she has to give up alcohol forever, or back into stupor where her liver will fail and she will die. Her sober head says go forward but her addiction tells her she'll miss out on the joy alcohol brings her.
She says she has no idea where to turn for help in France, but that too may just be her burying her head.
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,831
Locality
Near Lutterworth, Leics.
Thought this was a saxophone website.
There's another thread about Wine in this section, which is also fine, and those who enjoy it in moderation may well benefit from its alleged health giving properties.

If you've not experienced anyone you know falling into alcoholism you've been lucky. We've seen several acquaintances, three from one household, die of alcoholism. The youngest was just 34.

So it may be a topic you and others dislike, but, not knowing what help there is in the land of wine (her particular tipple) and knowing there are several French members on here, I thought it a good place to ask. She's phoned my wife the last two nights reaching out but despite my wife being a retired nurse she's not up to speed with help in France.

Google has provided some ideas but those here with first hand knowledge would be useful too. Our friend was born in the UK but speaks French fluently.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,143
Locality
Cheshire UK
@DavidUK I hope your friend can get the help she needs. I too unfortunately know of someone killed by alcohol. It can be devastating.

I think it's great we have the breakfast room to reach help for help and to discuss anything we want :)

@saxyjt may know of help she can get, might be useful to know what area she is in?

Jx
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,415
Locality
Citizen of Nowhere
AA meetings can really help as you're not being lectured to, with no one expecting anything from you. The only people there are people just like you. It looks like there are a lot of English friendly groups in France, too:


The problem with any addiction is that there's only one person who really has any control of the situation, and that's not you. If you haven't been through it then even offering advice can often be taken badly. One thing that may help is that AA isn't just for alcoholics, it's also for people who think they may have a problem with alcohol.

Having had friends with different addictions, I have to say that alcohol always seems to be the hardest to fight and most destructive. Even compared to heroin.

For anyone who has a friend or family member who's an addict, this may be of help:
 

eb424

Senior Member
Messages
1,522
Locality
london
She could go either way from here. Forward into "rehab" where she has to give up alcohol forever, or back into stupor where her liver will fail and she will die. Her sober head says go forward but her addiction tells her she'll miss out on the joy alcohol brings her.
She says she has no idea where to turn for help in France, but that too may just be her burying her head.
In my addiction conselling days things would start with control. .its a lot less terryfying than abstinance....depending on amounts consummed alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, its the only withdrawal that is...see a gp before withdrawing. .unsure of detox projects i France but the big cities must have charities as here....
 

Hipparion

Member
Messages
357
Locality
Nantes
AA does exist in France and is called exactly the same (although it writes Alcooliques Anonymes).

The second thing that comes to mind is this : if she lives in France, then she probably has the french medical insurance and thus was assigned (or chose) a doctor who is following her. Most often in France, treatment for any illness starts there, and her doctor would know how to proceed in her best interest.

Last idea would be to go to the closest hospital/CHU. They would have (or direct her) all the facilities to help her, including psychological support.

I have witnessed only once the devastating effects of heavy alcoholism, to say life in such conditions is a nightmare is quite the euphemism. And sadly, it is quite often an additional (worsening) symptom of an already sad situation...
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,740
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
She could go either way from here. Forward into "rehab" where she has to give up alcohol forever, or back into stupor where her liver will fail and she will die. Her sober head says go forward but her addiction tells her she'll miss out on the joy alcohol brings her.
She says she has no idea where to turn for help in France, but that too may just be her burying her head.
Most alcoholics cannot bear the idea of giving up drinking forever. In Alcoholics Anonymous they learn that all they need to do is to not take a drink "one day at a time". The best possible solution would be if your friend knows someone who is in AA who can take her to her first few meetings to make her more comfortable at first. In many places it is possible to call the local AA help number and find a volunteer who is willing to talk with her and take her to her first meetings. This is called "12 stepping" and helps the volunteer to stay sober by helping others the same way they were helped. The fact that she is calling your wife and reaching out for help is a positive sign. It is an unfortunate fact that many who need help have to "hit a bottom" where the "pain" they are in becomes greater than their "fear of change" before any recovery can begin. This can be a difficult time for friends and relatives who are watching the process, and are unable to help until the person is ready.
 

squeak

Member
Messages
323
She can go on disulfiram and get counseling; medication alone is unlikely to yield a successful outcome. It is very old drug that inhibits the metabolism of alcohol and makes drinking thoroughly (!) unpleasant. It is pretty far from what I work on these days, so it may have fallen out of favor but it works for some. It doesn't bypass the need for behavioral intervention, but is helpful in the sense that with sufficient stamina to take pills, there is a pretty big discouragement to drink. I don't know if it is commonly used in France, but it is definitely something that a general practitioner should be familiar with.
 

Dave Dunn

Member
Messages
197
Locality
South Australia
Not knowing the situation personally, I can only offer advice based on my experiences.
Over the years, there have been several times where friends have been worried about my alcohol intake, and at one time, an "intervention" was staged.
It was not helped by the fact that 3 or 4 nights a week I'd be playing gigs at parties or licensed venues, although as I got older, that became one or two gigs most weeks. I worked it out on stage, no alcohol before a gig, one beer per set, no more than 4 beers before we finished playing, but after was still a problem.

I've never felt like abstinence is dealing with a problem, it's more like putting off dealing with it indefinitely. I've been to AA meetings, a bunch of people sitting around reliving "the bad, good old days" by telling each other stories about how drunk they used to get seems like a strange way to forget that they want a drink. In fact, it makes you feel more like drinking, twice I've gone through the drive through bottle shop on the way home from a meeting! The take home message from AA is it's not how much you drink, it's how much it negatively impacts your life that matters.
Once, without telling anyone, I decided that I wouldn't drink for 6 months, and marked it on the calendar. My wife was always hassling me about drinking, and while I was drinking, it was causing problems in our relationship, so I thought I'd see if I could quit cold turkey and go 6 months without it. About 2 months in, she had a go at me, "it's alright for you, getting drunk every night!". She hadn't even noticed when "the biggest problem in our relationship" stopped! Sometimes alcohol is a problem because of others' perceptions!

So here's the strategies that have helped me, and a friend of mine with the same problem.
  • Make a pact with yourself, you will never drink something you don't like the taste of just for the alcohol.
  • Avoid spirits, it's too easy to hit the point of no return with spirits, especially if you mix your own. If spirits are your thing, buy pre-mixed cans so that they stay the same strength and don't get stronger as the session progresses. It's more expensive, but you're limiting your intake, so it evens out.
  • If you regularly go out to drink, pick someone who drinks all night, but doesn't wind up a blind drunk mess at the end of the night. Don't tell them, but pace yourself by following their intake. You can't have another drink until they do. This strategy helped me immensely in my 20s, and I'll still use it when I'm out with my family and friends.
  • At home, limit your intake by simply limiting how much alcohol is available in the house. For me, that meant buying 5 longnecks (big bottles of beer, two regular bottles in each) every second night. So at worst, I've had 10 beers. My friend liked bourbon, so he would by a limited number of pre-mixed cans rather than a bottle. There's no other alcohol available, and I can't drive anywhere to get more. This may not be the situation for everyone, it might take willpower, or perhaps supervision to not go out and get more alcohol.
Psychologically, this works for me, I know when the alcohol will run out, and I'm mentally prepared for it. If there's a lot of alcohol when you start drinking, it can be a shock when you open the fridge and there's none left. You're not ready for it mentally, and you probably will find a way to get more because you weren't prepared to stop drinking yet. You'll also probably accuse people of drinking it or hiding it from you. Unfortunately, you're often right, well meaning people will often hide your alcohol, causing you to get irate. They'll deny it, but you'll find it hidden somewhere the next day and know that you were right. This does not help!
- For most people, there are triggers, for me, it's the time of day. I find it very hard to drive past a bottle shop between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, so I'd avoid doing that on days I didn't want to drink. If I make it until 5pm, I'm over the danger period and beer is forgotten. Identifying and avoiding your triggers is a big part of learning to control your drinking.

Abstinence and going cold turkey is a scary thing, people really have to be mentally ready for it, trying to do it for others is rarely going to work. Control however, is something you're more likely to agree to, and a much more reasonable goal.

It's taken 30 years, but now, finally, I can buy a carton of beer and just drink 4 or 5 before dinner!

I've written this in the hopes that it'll help someone else manage alcohol, but also as therapy for me, talking to someone honestly, without fear of being judged, is a good strategy too.
As I said though, I don't know your friend, I don't know their situation, but perhaps some of these methods might be a more agreeable start to controlling their drinking, and perhaps prepare them for abstinence if that is deemed the best course of action.

Best of luck with it all, I hope things get better for your friend.
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Café Supporter
Messages
4,725
Locality
France
@DavidUK I hope your friend can get the help she needs. I too unfortunately know of someone killed by alcohol. It can be devastating.

I think it's great we have the breakfast room to reach help for help and to discuss anything we want :)

@saxyjt may know of help she can get, might be useful to know what area she is in?

Jx
Sorry guys for being so late in answering. I was away and rather busy...

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have no experience or knowledge of where to look for help and I guess what was said above is better than anything I could have come up with.

I had a colleague many years ago who was a former alcoholic in connection to playing poker. He confided in me once as we lunched and he was tense, so I suggested he had a glass of wine with me. He then told me that if he did, he would probably no be able to stop at that and would end up with a bottle of whiskey, joining a poker game and a relapse into his former addiction.

I do drink regularly, every day, but reasonably so far as I did with smoking, but that I quit about 15 years ago and I don't miss it at all.

As I'm getting older, I feel the urge to stay in good shape and intend to resume exercising more frequently. The last couple of years have not been good with lockdown and work from home limiting my daily moves to a minimum that's not healthy...

For me feeling healthy is the key.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,439
Locality
Sweden
There is nothing good with drinking allcohol.

But I drink 1-2 glasses of wine/week. And 1 snaps to the herring around Eastern, Midsommar and Christmas.

I was, still is I thnk, a boring person. But I survived fotball and working in restaurants. As a saxplayer I was not good or talent enough so I never had a drink to share with the real players.

 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,439
Locality
Sweden
I don't know how it working in France but here in Sweden it's the employer responsibility to deal with if an employee have alcohol and drug problems. They pay for it. Often it's the 12-step program. It's based on AA. I guess it's the same In France. Or it should be.
 

Staff online

Popular Discussions

London
Paris
New York
Los Angeles
Sydney
Moscow
New Delhi
Top Bottom