During college, Delilah worked hard and made the Dean’s List, but she had trouble deciding on a major. After attending a mock jury trial at school, Delilah was fascinated by litigation and decided to become a lawyer.
After attending law school, Delilah was thrilled when she passed the bar exam. She met David during law school and he became the love of her life. David was pre-med and they waited until he became a doctor to marry and settle into a comfortable life.
With no worries about income, Delilah put off her career as an attorney and became pregnant with her first daughter within their first year of marriage. She gave birth to her second daughter two years after that. She couldn’t have been happier with her new roles as wife and mother.
Within a couple of years, the stress of home and family took a toll on Delilah. The girls were always fighting. Their large home was too much to clean. David was always at the hospital and all of her friends were working. Feeling frustrated and alone, she started drinking a glass of wine every afternoon to forget about her troubles. Needing to do something positive, she began volunteering as a children’s advocate at the local courthouse a few mornings a week. Delilah loved being at the courthouse and working on cases, even if she wasn’t working as a lawyer.
At home, she continued her routine of drinking her afternoon glass of wine. Before long, one glass became two, and two became three. Eventually, the housework suffered and the laundry piled up. David complained that Delilah no longer cooked meals. The girls were telling David that Mommy was always taking a nap when they got home from school.
Delilah was embarrassed about her behavior, so she tried to limit herself to one glass of wine, but couldn’t. When David questioned her behavior, Delilah lied. She hid the wine bottles in the trunk of her car and dumped the wine bottles into a dumpster on her way to the courthouse.
One day, Delilah arrived at the courthouse and opened the file to her new case. She read about an alcoholic mother whose children found her blacked out when they came home from school. Child welfare services removed her children from her care. Delilah was the advocate for the children.
Delilah stole a glance into the waiting room and spotted the mother’s girls, who were about the same ages as her own. Delilah choked back tears as she excused herself and stepped outside the courthouse. With shaking hands, she dialed David’s number and left a hurried voice message, asking him to meet her for lunch.
Later that afternoon, over a salad and a sandwich, Delilah told David about her new case. Seeing the alcoholic mother was like looking in a mirror. She confessed to her husband that she was an alcoholic and admitted to him that she needed help. Her new case was a wake-up call that made her realize that she risked losing her children if she didn’t stop drinking. The very thought was devastating. David was shocked. He knew something had changed in Delilah, but he never suspected it was due to alcoholism.
Delilah and David are a fictitious couple, but they could be any couple in real life. You’re probably wondering why David, a doctor, didn’t notice signs of alcoholism in his wife. Studies have shown that physicians often miss diagnosing symptoms of alcoholism.
Women’s Drinking Patterns Are Different Than Men’s
Studies also show that women have different drinking patterns than men. Emotional distress is often a reason that women drink. Women may start drinking to help deal with the heartbreak of losing a loved one or dealing with a bad relationship. Unlike men, women drinkers tend to drink when they are alone. Alcoholism dependence among women is strongest between the ages of 35-49.
While men have twice the rate of alcoholism than women, alcohol hits women harder and faster. Women typically weigh less than men, so they are more likely to experience alcoholism even when they drink far less than men. Water in the body stores alcohol and since women have less water in their bodies than men, the effects of alcohol reach them sooner.
Women have higher percentages of alcohol-related deaths, injuries, suicides, circulatory disorders, and cirrhosis of the liver.
Here are some signs of alcoholism in women to look out for:
- Negative personal and professional relationships
- Making excuses about how much they drink or why they drink
- Abnormal behavior
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Risk taking
- Legal trouble
- Weight gain, particularly in the face
Detoxification and Treatment for Alcoholism
If David were a real physician, upon learning about his wife’s addiction to alcoholism, he might have referred her to Advanced Health & Education (AH&E).
The counselors at AH&E know that no two people are the same, so they don’t take a “one size fits all” approach to treatment. Intake coordinators will explain all of the center’s programs and give you a tour of the facilities. They’ll also work with your insurance company to check on your benefits.
Counselors take an individualized approach to treatment and will customize a rehabilitation treatment program for you.
If you need to detoxify your body, AH&E will make a referral for you, where you will be supervised as you break the physical aspects of alcohol dependence. Withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, but the physicians and counselors will try to make you as comfortable as possible through it.
Withdrawal symptoms of serious alcohol dependence can be very serious, or even life-threatening. Physicians may prescribe medications to help ease the systems and monitor your physical health through the detox process.
Your actual treatment starts either during or after the detoxification process. Here is a little information about several of the programs that AH&E offers:
Adult Addiction Treatment
Adult addiction treatment can take several forms. The treatment coordinators will help you select the best program for you. Addiction treatment can either be outpatient, inpatient, or long-term.
Inpatient care provides a high level of care so patients can focus solely on their recovery, undistracted by their home and work lives. The program also removes temptations from the patients to improve their chances of successful recovery.
Outpatient programs allow clients to come and go and receive therapy on a scheduled program.
Part of the outpatient program includes the Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), which includes longer therapy sessions several times a week. Clients may move into the outpatient program after a 16-week session of IOP.
AH&E doesn’t provide long-term treatment directly, but they will provide referrals for clients that need it. Long-term treatment is also referred to as residential treatment or therapeutic communities. Programs typically last from six months to a year, but they can be longer when needed.
All of AH&E’s programs are strictly confidential. They also recognize that certain individuals have higher-than-normal privacy requirements when seeking treatment for alcoholism or addiction. AH&E has complete respect for your privacy and guarantees complete discretion.
Every client that completes a treatment program through AH&E will work with coordinators to develop an aftercare program that they can easily access within their community. They will also help to develop and implement strategies to prevent a relapse.
Certain occupations require ongoing monitoring after treatment for addiction and recovery. Healthcare professionals, pilots, transportation workers, and others may have mandatory requirements for ongoing monitoring. Clients that participate in ongoing monitoring have the best chance of maintaining sobriety. Aftercare coordinators will discuss this program with you.
The Epilogue of Delilah’s Story
Since Delilah’s story is fiction, we can end the story any way that we want. The perfect ending goes something like this.
Delilah contacted AH&E and they set up a treatment and recovery program for her. With full support from David and the girls, Delilah recovered and used her experience to become a more compassionate child advocate, not only for children, but also for court-involved parents. After her girls grew up and left home, Delilah put her law degree to work. She specialized in helping women struggling with alcoholism and addiction who also had an altercation with the law. Being fully committed to her own sobriety, she became the best in her field.