Abraham is a soft-spoken man in his mid 40’s. He is a born listener, discerning when he speaks, and reminds me of the old adage to use words only when it improves upon the silence.

Abraham found the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine online when he was trying to figure out a safe way to stop drinking alcohol. As an established barber in his community for the last eighteen years, Abraham admitted to me that he sipped bourbon all day long as he coiffed his clients and they shared their stories.

A Heavy Drinking Habit

“I like good bourbon,” Abraham told me. He has several customers that share this appreciation and, after their barbering needs were met, many of them spent time socializing into the evening while finishing off their respective bottles.

The conversation often circled back to the virtues and qualities of what makes one bourbon stand out compared to another one. He enjoyed the company of bourbon connoisseurs.

Abraham’s schedule allows him to be off on Mondays and Tuesdays when his shop is closed. He relishes his time at home and is a devoted family man. He and his wife have three grown children who are out of the home, and his ‘baby girl’ Elisha, age 14, is a high school freshman. “That one, she’s my heart,” he told me.

And it was due to Elisha’s inquiries that Abraham was able to take a look at his drinking.

Warning Sign of Alcohol Use Disorder

As part of her physical education curriculum at school, Elisha’s class was learning about drugs and alcohol. After dinner one evening when Abraham was still at the shop, Elisha quietly asked her mother, “Is Daddy an alcoholic?”

Elisha associated her dad with the smells of bourbon and aftershave. He never got loud or mean, but she rarely saw him without a glass, sipping throughout the afternoon and evening. Many evenings he would start watching a movie with her, but rarely got to the end before he nodded off. She learned in school about how alcohol can damage the liver and the brain and how many drinks are considered ‘high risk’ for men and women.

She knew immediately her daddy fell into the high-risk category, and she was terrified. Elisha’s mom was startled when her daughter asked the question. She, too, had been worried about Abraham’s drinking, but didn’t know Elisha was really paying attention. (High-risk alcohol use is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as more than four drinks per day or 14 in a week for men, and more than three drinks a day or seven per week for women.)


The Decision to Stop Drinking

Abraham felt like he’d been punched in the gut when his wife told him about Elisha’s questioning.

“I’m her superman,” he told me quietly, tearing up. Alcohol was his kryptonite.

And that’s what led to his decision to stop drinking. He wanted to really be there for his daughter.

Stopping alcohol abruptly can be dangerous, and it is important to understand if your drinking is at the point that you require medical intervention.

As described on our website:
The sustained use of alcohol deprives the brain of crucial nutrients and, when left untreated, can lead to brain damage and seizures. The Coleman Method for alcohol detox begins by replenishing the vitamins and minerals your brain needs, then we offer medication to keep you calm, comfortable and safe as your blood alcohol level drops. After a few hours of careful monitoring and supervision, you’ll be able to go home. For the next two days, you’ll return to our office regularly as you continue to completely detox.

Following the detox, patients get a naltrexone implant. Naltrexone helps people curb their desire for alcohol.

Family As Motivation for Sobriety

Abraham has been to the office for one follow up visit since he stopped drinking, and, unsurprisingly, is listening to his customers’ stories with a new filter. Recognizing he is early in sobriety, he is certainly not preaching the virtues of abstinence with arrogance, but he is humbly sharing his experiences with others, and has actually found several former drinkers who have helped him reinforce his commitment to himself, his wife, and Elisha.

He feels better, he has lost twelve pounds, and he sleeps better.

“I am staying awake until the end of the movies I watch with my daughter,” he told me with a huge grin. She is delighted.

If you are feeling compelled to explore your own drinking habits and are concerned about possible dangers of abrupt cessation, please schedule a callback with one of our addiction treatment experts today.

There may be someone out there just waiting for the return of their superhero.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP