Staying Sober After a Brain Injury
My daughter was in AA before she fell and injured her brain. She wants to stay sober, but now she forgets to go to her AA meetings. I'm worried about her and about what she might do when she's out with her old friends who drink. I don't think she has the awareness and judgment to make good choices when booze is around. What can I do to help her stay sober?
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Well, I think she's lucky to have you in her life and concerned about this. And it's somebody who, like your daughter, who's had a prior problem. It sounds like she got some help from AA in the past. Now you're worried that she doesn't have the same insight, perhaps, or ability to stop herself from having that first drink if she's out with friends who are drinking. And so the question is "What should I do about this?" The--first, I would say, that if she got help from AA before, then that's a good opportunity and a good resource to get help from again, even if she's not drinking now. AA is all about both stopping drinking and staying stopped, and it's a community of people who have shared the same problem and, most importantly, share the same goal, which is to abstain from any use and achieve a life of sobriety. And that's very important for your daughter now that she's had a brain injury, even more important than it was before. So what I would say is one, encourage her to reconnect with AA. There are some resources that can help sponsors or others that she might be involved with in a support group through AA that help them understand brain injury and how some of the challenges now might be different than they were before. And, perhaps most important, if she's hooked back into AA she can have friends that she can go out with who share her desire to not be drinking or using other drugs.
Posted on BrainLine August 30, 2011.
Dr. John Corrigan is a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State University, and director of the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation. He is the project director for the Ohio Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.