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Monday, October 27, 2008

One little glass can't hurt an alcoholic, can it?

October 27, 2008

Can a recovering alcoholic still have the occasional drink, or is it the road back to oblivion?

Claire had been sober for two years when she began a relationship with another recovering alcoholic. One evening at his house he made a suggestion. “How do you think we would react if we had just one drink?” he asked.

“I couldn't resist the challenge,” says Claire. “Within minutes we had downed the first glass of whisky and then another and another until the bottle was empty. That was the start of a two-day bender that ended up in hospital after I knocked myself out. I understand now that I can't ever have just one drink. I never could stop at one.”

What Claire discovered the hard way - and there is no other way for someone to acknowledge the extent of their dependency on alcohol - is the received wisdom that only abstinence will enable her to control her drinking. For those who are dependent, just one drink is not an option. They must stop and never start again.

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