decided to help out with the wrestling team at school and also return to

Decided to help out with the wrestling team at school

This preview shows page 52 - 54 out of 100 pages.

decided to help out with the wrestling team at school and also return to playing racquetball. If neither of these activities was possible on a given day, Michael was to stay later at work and grade papers or revise lectures. If he was having diffi culty controlling his urges, he was to call Grace. Michael agreed to have Grace remove all alcohol from their home, and the couple came up with a list of things they could do to fi ll the time that he would have previously spent drunk or “asleep.” These involved social activities such as going to the movies with friends, renting a fi lm to watch at home, playing bridge, and going out for dinner. Over the next several weeks, Michael met with Dr. Lawton twice a week, with Grace present at some of the sessions. Michael was able to maintain abstinence and followed through on the plan to become involved in alternative activities. He had experienced cravings, mostly after work and in the evening, but they were not too severe. The cravings were nothing like those he had experienced when he had quit smoking. He described them as rather vague hungers, “like when you’re sort of hungry but don’t know what you really want.” During these sessions, Michael was also taught deep muscle relaxation as a way to cope with the negative emotions that he experienced with the urge to drink. After the abstinence period was over, alcohol was reintroduced. Michael agreed to have no more than two drinks per day, which had to be carefully measured in contrast to his earlier practice of just fi lling a highball glass with scotch. He also agreed to drink only in Grace’s company. Drinks were now to be sipped, and a 20-minute waiting period had to elapse between drinks. Michael reported that he was enjoying his new activities, especially the racquetball and renewing old friendships. The moderate drinking pattern seemed well established in about a month, so the frequency of sessions was reduced. Over the next months, Michael and Dr. Lawton continued to discuss Michael’s efforts to cope with urges. They also began to discuss the possibility of relapse. Dr. Lawton distinguished between a lapse—drinking too much on a single day—and relapse—returning completely
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to his old pattern. Dr. Lawton pointed out that while lapses would likely occur, a lapse would not mean that all of Michael’s progress had been lost. They also discussed the need for continuing treatment and attending meetings of a local group of recovering alcohol abusers. The group was similar to AA but with less discussion of religion and less emphasis on abstinence as the only solution to alcohol abuse. Michael agreed to attend meetings and treatment was ended. 3 years later grace called the psychologist who told him Michael had returned to heavy drinking.
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