View Full Version : Husband quit drinking "cold turkey" what can I do to help?

03-16-2007, 09:27 AM

My husband of 16 years just found out 2 weeks ago that he has Hepatitis C. We've determined probably due to a blood transfusion after a car wreck in the 80's. The doctor told him he HAD to quit drinking..if he didnt he wouldnt treat him nor would any other dr.

Drinking has been a part of his life forever...he's catholic and for many it is a way of life. His drink of choice was beer and although myself am not a drinker..his drinking didnt bother me at all..he wasnt mean or anything like that..I think it was a stress reliever for him. Anyway..the day after his Dr. appointment he quit..hasnt had a single beer. Now, before all of this came to be..he was NEVER in the house..always busy outside working in his shop or fishing..hunting...just busy all the time..now..he's inside ALOT..just does the watering of the flowers outside and then he's inside for the rest of the evening after he gets home from work.

My question is..what can I be doing to help in along? Should he be taking vitamins or eating a special diet?? He is pretty grumpy and carrying on conversation is just not something he wants to do..he's very short and to the point..I know he's going through alot and I hate it for him--I just need to know what I can do to help him but not smother him..anyone with any advise it would be greatly appreciated.


03-16-2007, 02:11 PM
Well assuming he was not an alchoholic I would guess he needs to get some stress relief. Did the doc give him anything? There are lots of soothing herbs out there, I have used Kava-kava and it did have a calming affect. How much beer did he drink? Was it daily? There is also the non-alcholic beers out there O'Dools is one I think, could he drink that?

03-17-2007, 06:01 AM
I know all the things going through your mind right now as far as wanting to support your husband through this. My husband quit alcohol cold turkey several years ago. It wasn't easy for him and it wasn't easy for me, but he made it through and is much better off. His beverage of choice was beer too, but he didn't hesitate to down some sort of whiskey when he was with friends.

My husband was a true alcoholic although he never, not even once got abusive, mean, sarcastic or ugly with anyone when he drank. His drinking was becoming a HUGE problem though and I had to put my foot down and give him the ultimatum. Either stop drinking, or lose your children and me- period.

The only advice I can give you is to be there for him, and be patient if he gets agitated and frustrated. Encourage him, support him and hold him up if he feels he is going to stumble. Keep the lines of communication open at all times, and if he needs to get help from AA, then encourage him to attend. You can even attend meetings. If this is not a route either of you want to take, then work together and support each other. My husband chose not to go to AA and was able to make it through.

Support groups like AA can be a God send to many people. Not only will you get support, but you will gain understanding as well. Take care, and please feel free to post any time. There are lots of people who will be here for you!

03-17-2007, 08:55 AM
If he is alcoholic, he needs to get to A.A. He is an alcoholic if he cannot stop in the face of death from HCV!

Also, alcoholics have a spiritual malady which is why they drink so much. Religion may or may not have something to do with this. Many Catholic priests are still alcoholic. To cure his spiritual malady he will need A.A. That will make him realize that there is life in sobriety and he'll get back into being a part of it. Right now he feels like he has lost a big part of his life, and is withdrawing from participation in life.

03-17-2007, 02:59 PM
Thanks for your kind words of support..I really dont think he would ever attend an AA meeting. This is my opinion and not meant for everyone..but it comes down to being "a man thing". I know alot of women who know what I'm talking about..pride...and the fear of failure..they would never admit to that but..that's what I think. For my husband..that is the issue. We do however, go to church so I'm sure that helps him tremendously.


03-17-2007, 03:51 PM
He may or maynot be willing to attend AA meetings but he has been told that he has a life threatening disease. Hep C, it can and does kill people on a daily basis.

It can also be cured, depending on where he is on the disease. He also may end up needing a liver transplant. That in itself is catastrophic. See if you can get him to talk to either his priest or a therapist. Between his illness and his stopping cold turkey he will need to. Not once but many times.

Remember this if he gets real irratable. Which more than likely he will. Once that short temper shows it's ugly head remember all of this. Or rewrite us and we will tell you the same thing again.

Next time I see one of the many Catholic Priests in AA I will have to ask them about this drinking in the church thing you talked about.

03-17-2007, 03:56 PM
Hi Pink

My experience with alcohol is from the perspective of a being the daughter of a wonderful man who had been long in recovery (40+ years) before passing away and a caregiver to a person who is also long into recovery (25 years). One did it through AA and church, the other did it through without resources other than family, determination and a basically sound character. As with all addictions, there are many routes and variations of routes that all lead to the same desired destination of sobriety.

I think Hubby is probably experiencing some depression after stopping the drinking. If you read "The Sample Home detox" which is the very first thread at the very top of this board, I think you might see some vitamins and other things that could be very helpful right now for him. I don't know if he takes any medications at all, but if he does, be sure to get professional knowledge about any interactions... particularly if he is on an antidepressant.

Probably the A-One source of combating depression is physical movement along with fresh air and sunshine. It is very good that he is going out to water the flowers! If you could gently prod him into a walk, or doing something physical in the house ( even like running the vacuum!!), it could really be a help.

If you are the "food shopper and provider," then really limit his intake of white sugar, which he is probably going to crave strongly. Some dark chocolate is known to help, but better to get him to swallow honey.

If he shows signs of withdrawing anymore, then it is time to get him professional help with your doctor. The doctor who talked to him about not having any more alcohol could be a possible good resource.

I wish your hubby and you well.
Stay in touch.

best wishes

03-18-2007, 10:43 AM
Thanks for your kind words of support..I really dont think he would ever attend an AA meeting. This is my opinion and not meant for everyone..but it comes down to being "a man thing". I know alot of women who know what I'm talking about..pride...and the fear of failure..they would never admit to that but..that's what I think. For my husband..that is the issue. We do however, go to church so I'm sure that helps him tremendously.


Well, he doesn't have to get better all at once! It's not weak to go to meetings and seek help. It's weak not to.

03-18-2007, 10:49 AM
Reachout your perspective is from the Al-Anon side which is good for us to hear.

Mine is from the side of the person in recovery, and unfortunately, over time I have not once observed a person who has made it without a program of recovery. The ones who tried to do it on their own, without exception, I have seen go back to drinking or using in the long term. I have seen people white knuckle it for years, but as the decades or half decades go by without a program of recovery they always go back to using or drinking, provided they even make it that long.

Also the ones I have seen eventually make it to 12-Step programs refer to their periods of abstinence without a program as miserable times compared to what they experience in true recovery.

03-18-2007, 06:34 PM
I have known so many people through AA, some with hep C some not. I had one friend who had to take the interfreon (sp?). When they give you this they put you on one year or more of disability. Working on it is just to difficult.

He had many years of sobriety and started the interfreon. He stopped going to meetings then inherited some money. Him and his estranged wife got back together and blew through the money. By then he stopped going to meetings all together. He drank again. Then his again estranged wife found him hanging in the garage. He had two children under 18.

Another friend, Diego, lived a life of crime. He was a full on gangbanger. He got sober, and decided to check on his hep C. They of course gave him interfreon. He forced himself to go to meetings. This got him out of the house, etc. He finished the interfreon got a handle on his hep C, then found out his liver had cirrosis so he had to go on the liver transplant list. He has already gotten his transplant and is doing great. His little daughter loves him so much. He still goes to meetings. I love to hear him with the gangbangers, he is so great.

There are more, as there are more in my life who have gone into AA. One was my Uncle, he lived on skid row in Chicago for over 25 years. He visited us when I was a teen and he drank rubbing alcohol and cologne. They both almost killed him. He got sober in AA and got back with his children. When he drank he burned one of his daughters houses down, smoking and passing out. He died clean and sober. He was a miracle from God.

There are people all the time who get sober without AA, my dad was one, and they live wonderful lives. But if you are an alcoholic like I am then AA is usually the last house on the block. It is life and death.

:blob_fire :angel:

03-19-2007, 05:23 AM
Hi Pink - I can relate to your post. Both my dad and my brother have stopped drinking cold turkey in their lives while living with me - my dad is alive (with hep C,interferon treatement and a liver transplant), and my brother is dead. (alcohol poisoning). My dad stopped drinking when he found out that he had Hep C - he never went to a recovery program and he has been a brittle, hurting and hurtful person for the last 25 years. My brother could not make it sober, went back to drinking and killed himself with it within months of returning to drinking.

I am not saying that your husband can not make it without AA or some other assistance, just sharing what I have seen. My brother was a miserable, grumpy person for the short time he was sober. And while my dad is still sober, he has nothing in his life that you could claim to be "recovery".

If your husband will not try AA, which I can understand, make sure that he is at least under the close care of a primary doctor who knows that he is exhibiting behavior changes since he stopped drinking.

Finally, I am sure that church will help your husband a great deal. My husband and I are devout Catholics and drinking has never been a part of our lifestyle. (Maybe we have been too busy doing the other "Catholic thing" - we have nine kids:) ) Anyway, please do not let your husband hide behind "being Catholic" as a reason for drinking. It isn't. It's true that we have many alcoholic priests, but in Alanon, which I have been getting help from since my brother died, we were told about HALT - never allow yourself to get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired and you will be less likely to want to drink/use, whatever. I think many, many of our priests are lonely (who wouldn't be?) and tired, and that their solitary lifestyle makes it easier to hide use and addiction until it is out of control. I am not defending or condemning anything here, just saying, not all Catholics and not all priests are dependent on alcohol, and there are NO good reasons to stay addicted to anything.

Please make sure that your husband has a lot of sober contacts - esp. doctor and clergy and give him time to adjust to living completely sober. If it doesn't start to get better soon - talk to the doctor yourself if you have to.
Do whatever it takes.

Good luck. Marirose

03-19-2007, 04:46 PM
One thing which we may be missing is the fact that when they start your husband on interfreon, he may just be too sick to drink. That can be a blessing but the sickness he will experience will also be a great burdon.

03-19-2007, 04:57 PM
Hi Marirose

I think Dan is right on with what he has written. I am going to continue on his thought and say that I believe the blessing is going to outweigh the burden. That is the prayer I am sending up as I write.

To blessings

03-20-2007, 05:13 AM
Hi Marirose

I think Dan is right on with what he has written. I am going to continue on his thought and say that I believe the blessing is going to outweigh the burden. That is the prayer I am sending up as I write.

To blessings

Hi y'all - I am very sorry if I hurt anyone with what I posted yesterday. I don't think what I was trying to say was clear at all.

My dad did experience severe physical illness with the interferon. But he didn't need the interferon until YEARS after he was diagnosed with Hep C and stopped drinking. In the years before the hep C/interferon really affected his health, and in the years since his liver transplant, as well as the time that he was very ill in between, he has been a miserable person. Until that time, he was a fun loving, cracker-jack of a dad. (I was too young to realize that his "happiness" was a result of being half-drunk all day long). It was when he stopped drinking that his personality changed and he has been hurting and hurtful ever since. I would NEVER try to influence anyone into using or not using any kind of medication.

All I was trying to say is that I have lived twice through what Pink is going through now, both ways, tragic results that had nothing to do with medical treatment or no medical treatment, but rather with a lack of "recovery". My dad has been unhappy and horrible to be around since he got sober. He has never gone to AA, never had any kind of councelling, just been pushing his wife and kids and grandchildren away from him ever since. He is not a spiritually, mentally, or physically well man.

I would not like to see the same thing happen to anyone else, so I guess I bungled trying to say to Pink that I hope she keeps a close eye on her husband and helps him to get whatever he needs to not only stay sober, but to live a full life again also. And to stay as healthy with the Hep C as possible through whatever trials that may bring.

Once again, I am truly sorry if it didn't come out right first time around. I just had baby number 9 last week and to say I am a little sleep deprived is the understatement of the year. Two of the children that are my son and daughter now are my deceased brother's children whom we adopted several weeks before his death. It's for them that I keep coming back to this forum and trying to help.

Best wishes to everyone! Marirose