Our expert says:
Thank you for writing. Yes, it is devastating to see how alcoholism can destroy a person mentally, physically and emotionally.
Your relative regrettably sounds as if he is already suffering from the early stages of Korsakoff's psychosis. One of the symptoms includes invented memories, which are then taken as true due to gaps in memory sometimes associated with blackouts.
He also sounds delirious and his imaginary phone calls and girlfriend do not sound like the responses of a sane and normal person.
Unfortunately, this where alcoholism takes you, often down the road of temporary insanity.
You mention that his mom is looking after him.
Frankly, she is enabling him and this will not contribute to his recovery from alcoholism. Many alcoholics turn their lives around when they hit rock bottom.
He is currently enjoying a roof over his head, as well as all the home comforts, such as meals, warm baths and so forth. Where is his rock bottom? His mother must understand that she is doing him no favour. She is facilitating in the progression of this disease, which will lead to his death.
Moreover, the long, slow and painful death of an active alcoholic is one of the most dreadful things to witness. Let us not beat around the bush here: What you have witnessed in that house is a man at the beginning of his demise.
My advice, as a revering alcoholic myself, is as follows. He must be told to attend a rehabilitation centre as soon as possible. Yes, he will have to go a rehab. On his own, he is not going to do this.
He‘s been to AA and he has dropped his meetings in favour of alcohol. That is not AA’s fault, but his desire to drink has forced his disease back into the open and into full swing.
If he does not want to attend a rehab, he will have to leave the house. He will try to talk his way out of this one, let me warn you. He must go and live on the streets if necessary, as that might just save his life.
Alcoholism is not a moral failing and this man is not a bad person. Sadly, he is in the grips of a deathly disease, over which he has no more control.
It must be arrested by urgent intervention. It is noble of you to be concerned over this man, but in AA they say that you can carry the message, but not the alcoholic.
If you need to talk this through please feel free to contact Taryn on Tel: 021 790 7779. Alternatively, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck
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