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Hi Heidi, I must tell you how much I appreciate Peter's incisive comments today regarding the AOL segment on BTD.
I have written before with a question about forest fire smoke. But the question I have today is causing tears to fall on my keyboard. In March we received a midnight phone call that our 28 year old son had totaled in his car--was in the hospital with some broken bones and being observed on a neurological ward. The police officer told me that had it not been for the seat belt and the airbag our son would be dead. He was inebriated and hit a tree. We did not even know that he drank. He always seemed to have it together--had taken some time out to work and is now back at the University and doing well (at least academcially).
He had to attend some counseling sessions and yesterday was assigned to an out-patient center for treatment. He called last night and told us that he is an alcoholic. We told him that we would be supportive and treat this like any other disease (although this morning I am a wreck from worry.)
My husband and I are ABs and have followed the diet since 1996 or 1997. Our son has not lived with us for the past 7 years--so he was not exposed to the eating style. He is a Native American (adopted--and that is of no consequence but for the fact that we have no medical history). I assume that he is an O because he is Native--his older brother let me test him and he is an O (different tribe)--but the younger one was not willing to be poked for the blood test. The oldest one then went on a successful health kick.
My question is what do you think of the information on the Net that says that alcoholism might be a result of an allergy to grain products? Also, what advice do you have re food for an alcoholic? My son has agreed to read anything that I send him. Thanks for your time--I know that this is a long email. Sandy
Hello, Sandy! That's not a long email at all, dear -- quite the opposite considering what has transpired with you! Thank you for your compliments on Peter's response piece, and I am so sorry your family is in turmoil right now.
To begin, it is only in general terms that I can speak at all to your trouble. Without knowing at least his ABO group, there is little specific information I can give him. My first thought is that I do not even know he is physiologically an alcoholic.
Let me explain. The facts I have so far are that he's 28, he was in University, took time off and worked, then returned to school and was making good grades. Three months ago, he totalled his car while drunk. (And the cop was so kind to tell you that without the seatbelt and airbag he'd be dead. I hope I'd stop my mouth before saying such a thing to a mother about her injured son, ever. Moving on...) He spent time (how long?) in a neurological ward. Then apparently he was required (by state or municipal law?) to attend counselling sessions. He now has been assigned to report to an outpatient center for treatment -- whether by state code due to the facts surrounding the accident, or by his hospital because of the injuries he sustained, I don't know... but 'assigned' is conveying to me a certain legal flavor.
Perhaps the main question I would ask is, do you think he is telling you the whole story when he says he is an alcoholic? I don't know what he was told at the counselling sessions, nor the pressures the law enforcement establishment may have brought to bear on him to say or do certain things -- perhaps to get his license reinstated, or for 'an easier time of it?' -- nor the pressures he may feel inside himself because of what happened. He seems to be a guy who has worked hard to do well for himself and for you. It takes courage to go back to school at 28 to finish something one's set out to do.
My observations here may or may not be appropriate to his situation, but at this juncture I'll just plow ahead and he can pick and choose what he feels might truly be of use to him. His injuries may still trouble him in some way which should be taken into account as well -- fill me in there if you can.
The urge to drink alcohol is made more difficult to overcome when sugar, stimulants like caffeine, and (yes) grains are in the diet. Inadequate protein intake, mineral deficiencies and scant B vitamins can all factor into the mix. It is also, as AA and other authorities note, exacerbated by anger, sadness, loneliness, hunger, even the body's simple thirst for water. Brain chemistry is powerfully influenced by the presence or lack of regular exercise as well.
And someone who feels driven to prove himself may also feel equally drawn to finding release from that drive. "Drive." I was talking about factors impelling a desire for alcohol, but there's another crucial yet usually overlooked aspect here. Major events in one's life, like this accident, are as laden with meaning as powerful dream events -- and like masterpiece paintings, they are worth far more than a thousand words. Let him be aware of the poetry he wrote via that accident he created. Only he can truly interpret it.
Some helpful tips:
Take an hour every day for strenuous exercise, alone or in a team sport; or for a meditation practice; or a martial art; or yoga -- after a few weeks, he will be able to sense which one he really needs.
Include some good fats -- olive oil, or ghee, or a black currant seed oil supp -- with each meal.
Eliminate wheat, refined sugars and junk food, absolutely. They contain elements which range from lousy to poisonous for him, and after a few days he will feel markedly better from this measure alone.
Drink copious water daily -- add lemon juice, lime juice, pineapple or cherry juice if desired, particularly first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Never go hungry or thirsty. Have a decent snack and bottled water always at hand.
Take a dandelion supplement to balance the liver, some nutritional yeast, a multimineral supp (Phytocal or as close to it as he can find), and a food-based multivitamin daily. I also suggest getting PolyFlora or the nearest facsimile he can obtain of a high-quality probiotic. Recent research has shown that major areas of what we think of as the 'brain' are actually ganglia incorporated into the digestive tract! which, as you can imagine, results in quite noticeable effects of various foods upon one's mental states. To paraphrase an aphorism: when the gut critters ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy. :-)
These ideas will ease his healing process and strengthen his spirit. If you can tell me more, I will be able to better tailor them to his situation -- particularly if he'll consent to that finger-prick! :-)
I hope you find a peaceful stance in your mind which will let your worry be laid to rest. With that commitment, you can perceive the events in your life clearly and caringly, without undue suffering.
In the end, your son is himself, and he will do what he will do. You and your husband have been sensitive and loving parents to him, and he evidently cherishes you as well. That is more than tens of thousands of families have!
Take good care of yourself, and encourage your son to write me a note if he'd like. Very best wishes, to you all! :-)