Drinking too much

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Imbiber, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. Imbiber

    Imbiber Guest

    Hello all,

    I am a currently employed pilot with a first class medical. I have had substantial life changes in the last year which I believe has led to a bout of depression and also substantial amounts of binge drinking. I have tried to quit several times but without luck. I am not drinking (for now) but I worry after a bad day or meeting up with friends that elusive “just one drink” is going to turn in to me falling back off the wagon.

    I had an epiphany recently that if I do not change my habits, quit drinking, and seek help it is only a matter of time before something bad does happen. What are my options? Seek “family” counseling? Outpatient addiction recovery? I am completely at a loss here but want to do the right thing and get my life on track, along with getting help on my terms before I am getting mandatory help via the H.I.M.S. program.
     
  2. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Touchdown! Greaser!

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  3. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Drop Doc Bruce a line at www.aeromedicaldoc.com.
     
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  4. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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  5. RussS

    RussS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ugh...the simple admittance of a possible problem will probably land you in HIMS. Get yourself figured out, of course...but be careful what you say and to whom. HIMS would certainly keep you accountable and maybe you need it...I would look long and hard at what your situation really is. HIMS or not, you don’t want a drinking problem on your back.
     
  6. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Many companies have a EAP program just for these situations. In theory, they are confidential. Check out United's program at

    https://unitedafa.org/afa/eap/

    Perhaps your employer has similar.
     
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  7. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Funny, I’m just now trying to wean myself off alcohol. No problems that I know of, but the stuff has calories and I am trying to increase my decrease. Good luck to the OP. Admitting the problem is the first step in getting better. Just gotta be careful who you admit it to or the FAA will stick it to you. Sux, but our rules are written in blood.
     
  8. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    You will not be admitted into HIMS until you admit to yourself you have a substance problem and you need and want help. Right now it sounds like you've lost nothing due to your behavior. It's only a matter of time until you will. Don't wait until you have before seeking help. In the cases of being an Airmen it's not easier to ask forgivness by that time it's too late.
     
  9. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude

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  10. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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  11. Imbiber

    Imbiber Guest

    First of all, thank you for all the thoughtful replies. I will look into an EAP and obviously I am trying to be careful with what I say and to who.

    You’d think that someone who wants to get help before something bad happens would be looked at differently in the eyes of the FAA, but from what I have been reading it seems if I self-report then it’s the same as me getting a DUI.



    Did you miss the part of my post where I said I had a substance problem and need and want help, and that I want to get help before it’s too late?

    I want to avoid H.I.M.S if possible. It’s onerous and if I’m not required to do it I don’t want to. I have seen friends wait too long to get help and end up in the program as a last resort - I want help but I really don’t want to quit flying for 6-12 months if I can avoid it.
     
  12. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually, the HIMS union guy doesn't have to send you to HIMS...but he has all the resources you need. This is NOT an all or nothing sorta deal. That's a misconception.

    And getting the help you need is expen$ive (You also know the airline will pay for it and pay you on disabililty while you do it.....if you desire). Anybody can check themselves into Talbott or to Cornerstone- but that's 6 month's salary net, for heaven's sake.
     
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  13. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Imbiber, there is one guy here who really knows what he is talking about (bbchien) Dr Bruce Chien, the rest of us are guessing, although some others seem to have given good advice too. I hope you are able to beat this problem. The bottom line though is Dr Bruce has helped many in your position, I'd put my money on his word. I have known people (non-pilots) who have spiraled after years of teetering on the edge, you've figured it out before hand, it doesn't have to happen to you, follow through.
     
  14. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Union reps are unreliable. Amateurs that usually have significant problems and frequently base decisions that affect YOUR life, on those.

    Major airline HIMS programs tend to be more problematic than smaller airlines.

    Get and read “The HIMS nightmare” before talking to your company.

    You can do HIMS requirements without getting your company involved, you will have to pay for it, or your insurance, just like with ANY other disease. BUT, you won’t be plagued with contracts, rank amateurs, chief pilots and company legal making medical decisions for you. Which CAN and WILL happen.

    HIMS is a one way street. It’s administrative, and hardly qualifies as medical. If you need medical help, seek that from medical professionals first.
     
  15. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This, unfortunately, is flatly not correct. You WILL be “admitted” into HIMS if you meet the administrative criteria. Period.

    You may not be retained in any given HIMS “program” (AMAS coming directly to mind) if you don’t adopt the “mindset” THEY think you should have. This is a problem.

    I know several people who were “booted out” of AMAS HIMS for this very reason.

    They are now getting their own doctors, shrinks, and fulfilling their SI requirements with a team of professionals they get along with. JUST LIKE YOU WOULD WITH ANY OTHER DISEASE.

    My experience shows nearly equitable distribution. About a third like the company program, about a third tolerate, about a third are at odds. If you are at odds with YOUR team, not a big deal to switch. For administrative reasons I switched doctors and shrinks, ZERO problems. Seamless. I know nearly a dozen trying to switch one or the other in a company program, PROBLEMS.

    It’s like a divorce. You can be grown up about it and you the parents can decide custody... or you let a judge decide and both lawyers wind up with your kids money.

    If you are highly compulsive, probably ok with company HIMS. If you have antisocial traits, better to stay away from company HIMS.
     
  16. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's ultimately going to become a money thing. Have you priced Hazelden lately?

    B.
     
  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Here is how EAP works. The employer pays an annual fee. Once you enroll in their services the employer is notified a person is using the service - not who. The cost to you is zero. A councilor will meet with you and direct you to professional treatment options. Some may be free, some not. I would give this a shot before going into a HIMS program.

    At this point there is no reason to involve a union rep, but they have experienced first hand pilots who alcohol has killed their career and will help you as much as they can along the way.
     
  18. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm pretty negative on EAP. Used one once to try and get through some issues with (now ex-)... we were determined to give everything we could a try. Counselor/Shrink that we saw basically said in the first meeting "I don't know why you're here, just get divorced. All you people who come for marriage counseling shouldn't bother". End of session. He got his money, we got no help. No choice to go elsewhere as it was referral only.

    We eventually split, but not for the reasons that we wanted to address in counseling (we found another good counselor and paid ourselves for the service and worked out the issues at that time).

    So, no, EAP may well be a total failure. It was for me. After that, I can't imagine using it for anything else.
     
  19. Beaker’s Flyin

    Beaker’s Flyin Filing Flight Plan

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    How can it be a waste if the therapist recommended what the actual end result could/should have been?

    Perhaps you weren’t ready at the time to admit the truth. Is that the EAP programs fault?
     
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  20. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are jumping to and reaching a conclusion without having full facts. I thought I was pretty clear that there were different issues and situations involved - and a significant difference of time between the situations.

    You could also have said the if he'd done his job, that the later situation wouldn't have happened, but that also would not have been true. In fact, the other counselor we went to helped us resolve tho original issues.

    You are simply dead wrong.

    I've said all I'm going to on this.
     
  21. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I just hope the OP can find the hope he needs without taking it up the six. Alcoholism is a disease like any other. You shouldn't be subjected to negative employment actions just because you're sick.
     
  22. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    To throw a wrench in the works... “alcoholism” isn’t necessarily a disease like any other.

    Look up the definition of a disease. Look up the “treatments” for it, and compare those to any other disease.

    Look up the roots of “alcoholism”, compare it to the disease halitosis...

    The medical community hardly has a consensus as to whether it’s a disease or not.

    I’m not opining one way or the other, make that decision yourself. If it is, are there not many other diseases either overlooked or not acknowledged? If it isn’t, what gives with this multi billion dollar industry?

    I guess my main point is, don’t fall prey to advertising. Educate yourself if you fit within this genre of “disorder”. It clearly is SOMETHING. Like any problem, it’s complex and for best results you should educate yourself and be involved. Make decisions that make sense to you. It requires brutal honesty with yourself, but what doesn’t?
     
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  23. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This guy (or gal) is lightyears ahead of most who have an alcohol problem. This person feels they have a problem and wants to fix it. Most alcoholics spend a lifetime denying they have an issue. OP, this won't be an easy journey, but don't get discouraged, continue to work on fixing it. And once again, on the correct answer to dealing with the FAA and your company, my money is on Dr B's advice. I hope you get this issue resolved, personally and professionally.
     
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  24. Imbiber

    Imbiber Guest

    Yesterday marked a month off the sauce. Joined the reddit support group and have found a lot of really great people.

    Somehow I’ve managed to gain 10 pounds in the last month though. Maybe it’s because I’m not drinking my dinner any more!
     
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  25. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep, substituted one habit for another. Now ya gotta break the habit of eating everything you see.!! :lol::lol:

    Good luck to ya, bud. We are all pulling for you.
     
  26. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That's a pretty common side effect. A couple years ago a friend of mine went through AA and successfully stopped drinking. He's gained a substantial amount of weight since, a separate issue he'll address. But he's definitely better off and glad he made the change. Congrats on your success thus far and keep it up!
     
  27. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The trouble with that advice is, the alcoholic cannot be totally honest with himself.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  28. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    It took me way longer than it should have to figure out you missed a “t”.
     
  29. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Been drinking? :D
     
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  30. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    It took me a while, too. But then I got thones with myself. :)