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The Case of the Reluctant Alcoholic

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 124 - June 2006

James was a typical 30-something city banker. He worked hard and played even harder, but he had a secret – he was an alcoholic and had been for several years. His weakness was that of very heavy binge drinking rather than a constant intake of alcohol. He would get so drunk on a regular basis that he could not remember who he was, where he was, what he had done or how he got there. He had been to Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups on several previous occasions, but had never followed the sessions through, giving up after attending a couple each time.

As well as the alcohol problem, James had been having trouble with one of his testicles; this would range from a sharp stabbing pain in it through to an almost constant deep ache. He had been checked out for sexually transmitted infections and other causes, all of which proved negative, but the pain/ache was still there and was dampening his ardour. His lack of libido was being further compounded by his alcohol intake and this was now adding to the problems in his marriage.

Other than this he was a very fit young man. He loved sports and would swim or train on a daily basis. He was well-muscled and took pride in his appearance, always coming to consultations well groomed and stylishly dressed.

The key to cracking James' case for me was to try and get to the root cause of why he drank and what it meant to him to get absolutely 'hammered'. After a long first session it transpired that he drank because he felt he wasn't good enough or achieving enough (this from a man who had risen rapidly up the corporate ladder and had a fantastic CV). He felt at times his drive and ambition to succeed was so strong he couldn't contain it. He would set himself unrealistic goals and put a huge amount of pressure on himself. He felt that he had a lot to live up to in his father's eyes, but further questioning showed that this was purely in James' own head. He had to be the best for himself before he would believe in himself. Every time he felt he had failed he would go into a huge mental decline, becoming very depressed. He would shut himself away with feelings of worthlessness and suicide. "If I can't be good for myself how can I be good for anyone else, I might as well not be here."

In analyzing James' case the most important component, indeed the part central to his case, was the pressure he put himself under in order to be the best. The number one remedy for this type of mind set is Aurum metallicum (Aurum met.). Aurum met. is a remedy that fits a person who cannot cope with failure in any way. They turn the failure in on themselves making them feel worthless and useless, although this is often far from the truth. This remedy also has a great affinity to the testes.

I prescribed him Aurum met. 30c and fixed an appointment to see him four weeks later. James turned up on time looking very smart, but feeling low and pretty flat. It transpired that after the remedy he was feeling great in many ways, but then had a day at work where nothing went right. This culminated in him going on a huge drinking spree that lasted over 48 hours (during which time he lost all track of where he had been or what had happened – strangers were looking after him and helping him in the street). He was deeply ashamed and embarrassed. My take on this is that the remedy, as part of the healing process, had brought about a healing crisis. The testicular pain was less, and aside from the immediate fall-out of the drinking session, he had not been depressed. I re-prescribed the Aurum and arranged to see him in another four weeks, with the proviso that he would phone beforehand if he had another crisis.

When he came for the next consultation, he was much happier; he had joined AA again and this time said it felt real. He hadn't had any alcohol, and although he found it difficult, he was managing to change his lifestyle to accommodate not drinking. He had started to take some of the pressure off himself and when a couple of things had gone wrong at work his response was to shrug his shoulders. His testicle pain had gone and his libido was now very good.

That was all over a year ago and I have seen James on several occasions and only ever prescribed Aurum met. He has now been free of alcohol for over a year and is looking for another job; one that fulfils him rather than one he feels he should have to be the best at. He has not been depressed and is happy with his life and now accepts that his father and wife love him for who he is rather than what he can achieve.


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About Dr Neil Slade

Dr Neil Slade  PhD LCH RSHom. Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices. He is the Deputy Director of Pure Medicine in London's Harley Street. He regularly contributes articles to the national press, radio and television. Neil can be contacted on Tel: 01372 361669;

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