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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 8th, 2008, 10:58 PM
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Default Recovering alcoholic on cruise and the waiters keep serving

My husband is a recovering alcoholic and a gastric bypass patient. On our last cruise the waiters continued to ply my husband with drinks after they had been told he was in recovery. As a gastric bypass patient my husband gets roaring drunk on as little as 3 drinks and becomes almost uncontrollable and belligerent. We are scheduled to go on a rather lengthy cruise and my husband has been sober for the past 10 days. How can I keep the bartenders from serving him? Once he starts drinking he hands out big tips to keep the drinks flowing. I am tired of this and do not want the waiters on our upcoming cruise to sabotage his recovery.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:05 AM
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Hey, Blue!

Okay...let me begin with the caveat that some of what I have to say doesn't have much to do with cruising per se and may sound a bit harsh, but please bear with me and know that it's not just for the sake of sounding harsh.

This comes from somebody who has lived with and loved a recovering addict. I know the feeling of being with somebody and not being able to "cure" him, or at least make it not so bad.

Your post says that he was being served "after being told he was in recovery." Was it your husband himself who asked not to be served? The reason I ask is because if the staff continued to hustle drinks after HE told them not to, that's inexcusable and I would have complained to the cruiseline.

On the other hand, if HE was NOT the person to communicate this fact, I would imagine the attitude of the staff was probably that he is a grown-up making his own decisions. I'm not trying to deliberately sound trite here, but it is what it is. For this upcoming cruise, I would certainly encourage your husband to explain his situation to the waiter himself and ask him to please not offer any drinks; after that, if the waiter continues to offer him drinks, take it up with the Maitre 'd.

The bottom line is that it is your husband who is ultimately responsible for his own sobriety--not you, or family, or the person who serves you in the dining room. Granted, booze does flow freely on the ships, but what's really at issue is that every day when a person in recovery goes about life, he is faced with tough choices, whether there is an open bar in front of him, across the street, or across town. The urge to drink will be there no matter how close to or how far away from the booze he is.

I know that Carnival ships have Friends of Bill W meetings on their sailings; I would look into your particular cruiseline and inquire whether they have daily meetings as well. If you have not already done so, I would also strongly encourage you to attend regular Al-anon meetings in your own area, where you can get support from others who are in similar situations to yours.


Hugs go out to both of you, I know how hard it is.

Christi
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Old April 9th, 2008, 02:42 AM
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I wish I had a great and clever answer. I don't my only suggestion is tp tip the waiters in the area he is in not to come over before they serve him.

The sad thing is you can't control the behavior of another person even to help. If he wants to drink he will find a way. I agree with Christi on this. You got me wondering if there are theme cruises that don't have alcohol? Like if the Friend of Bill W even charter a cruise. Does anyone know? If that was the case I would book a dry ship and keep the temptation from him in the first place. Until he has been in recovery a little longer.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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I told you they are drink pushers
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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As another poster stated, on a cruise or not, it is the addicts job to turn down drinks. You stated that he has been sober for 10 days? Who was pushing drinks on him on land?
I hope the best for the two of you, but it is not the role of the cruiseline to monitor anyones food problem or drug problem or drink problem.
Prayers,
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:13 PM
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It appears such an honest post or cry for help and if taken as that and true, sad. My thoughts are if your husband is an alcoholic and has now been sober in your life for only 10 days. My reaction is if it were my partner I would not go on a cruise

You already know the number of bars or other means available to drink, duty free, on shore bars, multiple bars on board and given the number of serving staff that go with it,,,there is no control available from them regarding one individuals personal problems that can be placed on the ship and staff, sorry but true.

I would not take a recovering alcoholic on a cruise, its too open, too wide for hiding places and far too easy for them.

Pick a coach or driving holiday where you may be able to influence your husbands individual actions and have a bit of control over someone who cant control himself as he is ill. A ship is not the place to do that in my opinion.

Sorry, but I think you’ve picked the wrong vacation for both your sakes. You will be working on your nerves as to what is going to happen and he will be trying to fight the "drink buffet" of temptation presented to him. Where is the vacation for you both?
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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Every cruise I've ever been on has had Friends of Bill W meetings clearly posted. I've never found waiters - bar or otherwise - to "push" drinks on anyone. On one of our cruises, I was on medication and couldn't have alcohol - never once felt anyone was pushing drinks on me.

Sorry to say, but it's not the waitstaff, it's your DH. There are always plenty of "virgin" drinks available - just ask anyone who has sailed pregnant.

Since you really can't trust him to "just say no" - your only other alternative would be to take his sign and sail card away when he is not with you. You do have my sympathies.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:53 PM
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10 days is not a long time to be sober, if it were 10 months or 10 years he may have more control.
I agree with other posters that it is not the time to take him on a cruise.
He is not in control of his willpower enough to say NO.

Waiters will not push drinks they ask if you say no then they go away. They have to take his S&S card for the purchase it is not like they are giving him drinks for free.
They do have some instances where you do get free drinks but just steer him clear.

If you still go on the cruise ask the check in staff if you can put a code on the S&S card to say "no alcohol" like they do for underage drinkers
all the cruise I have been on they have Friends of Bill meetings but your DH has to go to the meeting they will not come looking for him.

good luck
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Old April 9th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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I speak here as a someone who went thru the whole AA process to quit my habit (tho I now have control and do imbibe sensibly) so I can relate.

I know you said that you asked them to stop serving but I must point out that there are probably 80 or more people who rotate on the ship as servers. There is no possible way for ALL of them to know and remember HIM amoungst all the other passengers.

I can only speak for Carnival (so far), where they have Friends of Bill / Friends of Dorothy gatherings. These are AA folks.

I have not attended these gatherings myself so I cannot tell you whether they are good or not, but when it comes to this, any effort made to get help is a good thing.

I would hope that these groups would perhaps give out a button or wristband to those who do not wish to be served alcoholic drinks during their cruise so that the servers can know not to bother them.

If they do not, I would make this a suggestion to the cruiseline to adopt.

I long for a no smoking cruiseline, and I think they are coming, but I do not forsee an alcohol free cruiseline EVER !!

Hope this helps.

Phil & Liz
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Old April 9th, 2008, 09:19 PM
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IT is his choice, but you also have to reinforce that you could leave him high and dry if he doesn't stop. You mentioned he had a gastric bypass, this is the real problem. Oprah did a show on it and it seems doctors push a bypass but regret to tell the patient that he or she has a 100% likelyhood to become a drug addict or a alcoholic. The food is replaced by booze or drugs, and if it is booze then the drunkeness starts with the first drink. Imagine having a stomach the size of a thumb, now imagine a normal size. The thumb size stomach can't handle much and some people can get rip roaring drunk on ONE drink.....Carney Wilson, whose bypass surgery was made into a TV program didn't dink much before the surgery but suddenly became a raging alcoholic after the surgery and only when threated one last time by her husband did she clean up. She lost a lot of weight, but she has gained a fair bit back after she had a child.

I have to wonder, will your husband go through councilling if you ask him?.....He probably doesn't realize what he is doing after a couple of drinks!!

Happy cruising and I hope all is well.....

Hmm, A thought, have you thought about adding a file folder tpye lable with RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC on it to keep him from drinking and the waiters from serving?
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Old April 9th, 2008, 11:32 PM
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Phil&Liz
"I can only speak for Carnival (so far), where they have Friends of Bill / Friends of Dorothy gatherings. These are AA folks. "

Just to clarify the 2 groups, the AA folks are Friends of Bill W and Dr. Bob. Friends of Dorothy (FOD) meetings are informal gatherings for gay and lesbian passengers to meet and mingle.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil&Liz
I long for a no smoking cruiseline, and I think they are coming,

Phil & Liz
There are cruise lines with limited smoking areas, one inside & one outside
however they are NOT Carnival prices
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Old April 10th, 2008, 10:35 PM
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CA Cruiser, thank you for the correction. I'm afraid I assumed there was a ladies only type meeting. I shouldn't assume.

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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil&Liz
I can only speak for Carnival (so far), where they have Friends of Bill / Friends of Dorothy gatherings. These are AA folks.

Phil & Liz
I just want to correct something you said. Friend of Dororthy are not AA they are Gay Gay. You will get a big surprise if you go to that meeting expecting AA.

The term "Friend of Dororthy" is In gay slang, a "friend of Dorothy" (occasionally abbreviated FOD) is a term for a gay man. The phrase dates back to at least World War II, when homosexual acts were more widely illegal in the USA. Stating that, or asking if, someone was a "friend of Dorothy" was a euphemism used for discussing sexual orientation without others knowing its meaning.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil&Liz
I can only speak for Carnival (so far), where they have Friends of Bill / Friends of Dorothy gatherings. These are AA folks.

Phil & Liz
I just want to correct something you said. Friend of Dororthy are not AA they are Gay Gay. You will get a big surprise if you go to that meeting expecting AA.

The term "Friend of Dororthy" is In gay slang, a "friend of Dorothy" (occasionally abbreviated FOD) is a term for a gay man. The phrase dates back to at least World War II, when homosexual acts were more widely illegal in the USA. Stating that, or asking if, someone was a "friend of Dorothy" was a euphemism used for discussing sexual orientation without others knowing its meaning.
Interesting tid bit of knowledge there
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Old April 11th, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassy2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil&Liz
I can only speak for Carnival (so far), where they have Friends of Bill / Friends of Dorothy gatherings. These are AA folks.

Phil & Liz
I just want to correct something you said. Friend of Dororthy are not AA they are Gay Gay. You will get a big surprise if you go to that meeting expecting AA.

The term "Friend of Dororthy" is In gay slang, a "friend of Dorothy" (occasionally abbreviated FOD) is a term for a gay man. The phrase dates back to at least World War II, when homosexual acts were more widely illegal in the USA. Stating that, or asking if, someone was a "friend of Dorothy" was a euphemism used for discussing sexual orientation without others knowing its meaning.
Interesting tid bit of knowledge there
That IS interesting...I assumed it was a Judy Garland/Liza thing...lol
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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:48 PM
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I have friends that are also friends of dorothy. I'm not a friend of dorothy. I'm a friend of harry.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
I have friends that are also friends of dorothy. I'm not a friend of dorothy. I'm a friend of harry.
Harry the one we're all wild about?
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Old April 11th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christitunes
Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
I have friends that are also friends of dorothy. I'm not a friend of dorothy. I'm a friend of harry.
Harry the one we're all wild about?
Yup!
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Old April 12th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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My elderly mom has an alcohol issue too. Fortunately for us, DH and I don't activate her sail and sign card so she can't make any purchases. Unfortunately for her it also restricts her from buying anything else on board, but it's the only way we can keep her sober and SAFE on the ship. On one cruise she went to the purser's desk and they activated her card to be charged to OUR credit card account. Yeah, Carnival heard an earful about that one!!
Unfortunately you can't do that with your husband. So it might be too soon for cruising for him. Maybe on the tiny cruiseships the alcohol isn't as prevalent.

Good luck on your cruise!
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Old April 12th, 2008, 03:32 AM
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Okay I found a site that may help the OP. It's a website called Sobercruises and one called sobercelebrations. These companies seem to do group cruises where the focus is support and recovery. Maybe a booking on this type of group cruise would help.
Here is a link to these sites. http://www.sobercruises.com/index.htm http://www.sobercelebrations.com/about I have not cruised with anyone from these sites. I don't endorse these sites. I'm supplying it for information. My sugguest to the OP is to call and ask additional questions and do some research on their own to be certain the websites and group is on the up and up. Bluebonnets if anything I have said is upsetting to you that I'm sorry for that. My posts are never intended to hurt anyone in anyway. I wish you and your husband only the best.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Default May not be the answer, but...

my best friend is a recovering alcoholic. His docotr put him on a medication that makes him violently ill if he drinks any alcohol.
Obviously, he takes the meds and wants to be sober so he is with the program.

Talk to your doctor....talk to your husband.

Mike quit drinking 5 days before our last cruise together. He made it the whole week and has been sober now for 8 weeks.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Okay I found a site that may help the OP. It's a website called Sobercruises and one called sobercelebrations. These companies seem to do group cruises where the focus is support and recovery. Maybe a booking on this type of group cruise would help.
Here is a link to these sites. http://www.sobercruises.com/index.htm http://www.sobercelebrations.com/about .
Great suggestions here Katlady.

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Old April 12th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: May not be the answer, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasmunk
my best friend is a recovering alcoholic. His docotr put him on a medication that makes him violently ill if he drinks any alcohol.
Obviously, he takes the meds and wants to be sober so he is with the program.

Talk to your doctor....talk to your husband.

Mike quit drinking 5 days before our last cruise together. He made it the whole week and has been sober now for 8 weeks.
That is SO awesome. Good for him!
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Old April 14th, 2008, 01:53 AM
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No offense to anyone but I gotta say........most of you don't know what you're discussing here.

An alcoholic that has 10 days sober isn't even detoxed yet. I do agree with the previous posters that suggested it's too soon for the recovering alcoholic to be on a cruise ( unless it's a clean and sober cruise) but then everyone is different.

I also agree that the gentleman in question is an adult and if HE/SHE doesn't want to drink he will say no thank you to the wait staff when it comes to alcohol. It just depends on how bad he wants to not drink. Many of you may not understand this but willpower has nothing to do with it. He needs support. However, nobody can control it for him. He needs to find his own strength.

The idea that recovering alcoholics can't or shouldn't be on cruises is rediculous. I've been sober over 17 yrs and have been on 6 cruises sober. Sometimes I go to Friends of Bill W. meetings on board but not always.

However, I never would have gone on a cruise in early recovery without someone else in recovery with me. By early recovery I mean the first 6 months to a year.

My first cruise I was drinking. Every cruise after that has been sober and as a matter of fact the sober trips were far more rewarding than the first. The memories are far clearer when looking back!!

I hope and pray that the husband of the original poster finds that recovery is the life for him and grows to be grateful for his recovery. Only with gratitude will he stay sober. My hope and prayers go out to the original poster as well.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 02:03 AM
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Default Re: May not be the answer, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasmunk

Mike quit drinking 5 days before our last cruise together. He made it the whole week and has been sober now for 8 weeks.
Right on Mike!!!!
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Old April 19th, 2008, 12:01 AM
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17yrs, 11 months here......but who's counting.


Anyway..........can't we all just get along?
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Old April 19th, 2008, 01:41 PM
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Default Taking Inventory

As a person who also attended AA meetings myself for several years, but don't as much out of them as I used to, I have to say that if you attend AA you should work your own program and not lash out at others who choose to work it differently.

Lashing out at other AA members for their personal actions is called "taking inventory" and it is not a part of the AA program.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Default Re: Taking Inventory

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
As a person who also attended AA meetings myself for several years, but don't as much out of them as I used to, I have to say that if you attend AA you should work your own program and not lash out at others who choose to work it differently.

Lashing out at other AA members for their personal actions is called "taking inventory" and it is not a part of the AA program.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 01:50 PM
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I also want to say that in my early of recovery, at three years sober, I took a job on a cruise ship and did not drink the entire 10 months I worked there. On the first ship I found an AA book in the library, which is used to conduct AA meetings. I used to pick it up for every meeting and attend the meeting. It was quite funny when people saw me in my official unifirm running the meeting - because they sometimes thought the ship sent me there to run it.

During that whole time, I only remember seeing one guy who didn't make it through the cruise, and he had under 30 days clean and was already shaky at the sight of all the booze onboard on the first sea day.

If you are in the process of getting sober, it takes a long time for the desire to drink to go away, especially when you are surrounded by people doing it. As much as I hate to say it, I also agree it is too soon for this man to go back.

The only other alternative would be to get him to agree not to activate his key card for any purchases. That way only you could spend money onboard. And to be honest - I don't even know if this is allowed by the cruise lines. I only know the post above said they did it for their mother in law.

There is a possibility he is already looking forward to this new cruise because he thinks he will be drinking on it (that is how the alky mind works). If you ask him not to activate his key card for purchases, you will find out for sure.
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