For long term success, an alcoholic must learn not only how to stop drinking, but also how to start eating.
Most alcoholics that are admitted into detoxification centers are massively malnourished, and seriously depleted of thiamin, vitamins A, B-12, and C, folic acid, and the essential minerals calcium, magnesiuum, potassium, and zinc. These deficiencies are corrected at the outset with supplementation by mouth or by injection. However once past the initial stages of treatment, recovering alcoholics often go back to poor dietary choices such as processed foods that contain little apart from sugar, fat, and calories. The sugar is particlarly bad because alcoholics already produce too much insulin, which means that during withdrawl they crave sugar.
By eating refined sugars they only make the situation worse, because the pancreas pours out even more insulin, and the cravings for not only sugar but alcohol increase. Inhaled tobacco smoke makes matters even worse, as it leaches a variety of nutrients from the body. Dr. Joseph Beasley, the medical director of Brunswick House, Amityville, New York, studied a group of hardened alcoholics, forty percent of whom were cross-addicted to other substances, such as cocaine. Not the sort of group you would think should set any records in rehabilitation.
With the standard program of detoxification, behavioral and family therapy, exercise, and follow-up with Alcholics anonymous, a twenty to thirty per cent recovery rate after one year is considered the norm. However, these patients were also given multivitamin and mineral supplements, and a balanced diet high in fiber and low in refined sugars. At the end of a year, an astonishing 65% of the group were still sober.
To get the best results in treating alcoholism, one must treat any other dietary and lifestyle indiscretions. In fact, Bill W., one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous admitted in his later years that one of his biggest mistakes was leaving sugar, nicotine, and caffeine in AA.
So when you battle the bottle, shuck the sugar, and cut the butts, so you’ll really have reason to say cheers.