Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I'm gonna go off-topic and preface this with the fact that I offer no medical advice here.  Just my experience.

I was suggested to take Anabuse twice in my lifetime and I complied both times.  The first time, I was going through level II alcohol education and therapy.. back when I was about 20 years old.  I complied and after about a few months, the fine folks at the therapy sessions said I was doing so well in alcohol abstinence and was nearing my commencement of their program, that they just took me off it to see how I did on my own without it.  I left there and stayed sober until I eventually drank again.  I did not drink on the Anabuse though.  I had no intention to drink on it or off it for a time.  I say that I had something in me, a desire to stay stopped and I was able to do that.  I did not feel tempted to be stupid and drink on it.  I had no craving as alcohol was long since out of my system and would only battle the obsession.

Now, fast forward to my next treatment stint, the prior one being when I was 18.  I'd be volunteering a treatment center stay as conditions to stay employed with my job after having confessed to having a problem with alcohol and in a place to seek help.  While successfully completing my 14 day stay at a local treatment center, I was scheduled to see a dr there as part of setting up my "aftercare" program.  He recommended Anabuse.  I disagreed, saying that I would be doing A.A. among other things and that I felt things were going well in treatment and my aftercare, as I had an A.A. homegroup, sponsor, group of folks whom I'd seen at least twice a week, plus I was doing the treatment center meetings, etc.  Heck, I was chairing A.A. meetings and was working on my 9th step amends by then... with my A.A. group.  But no, the doc said, "If you want to show us that you're really commited to stay sober, you'll do this."

So I took the damned Anabuse.  My wife told me that she and my MIL had noticed that I stank like rank garlic.  I don't really remember noticing too many health related issues, as I was not ingesting booze and was careful about cologne, etc.  But on Thanksgiving Day, my appendix almost burst and I had it removed.  I took myself off the Anabuse at that point and never looked back.  My old doctor, not the treatment center one, had requested an appointment to discuss some things about my liver.  I never went to see him.  I just stayed away from that Anabuse and recouped the appendectomy and never looked back.

I've heard of some folks that drank on anabuse.  Could the courts and docs be partly blamed for this?  If you're gonna drink booze, don't take anabuse.  That's crazy.  We knew a guy who did this and his face turned beet red.  I stopped hanging around the guy.  I had the power over booze, at the time to not do that.  I guess some don't.

Any other experiences on Anabuse?  Oh, I do remember some of my A.A. peers telling me that it was bad and don't take it.  I told them I wasn't doing it so much for me.  I was doing it to keep other folks off my damn back.  I remember this one gal who showed up when I did to take our Anabuse.  She seemed very nice and all... but it seemed like the more I saw her, the more her face broke out in acne.  Could the Anabuse have caused this?

I stopped smelling like stinky garlic when I stopped taking it.


  1. I have no personal experience with Antabuse. My guess is that I would have drank on it, having lost choice and all that entails.

    My opinion on Antabuse is similar to my thoughts on behavioral treatment as a means of treatment. It may be somewhat effective with the moderate to hard drinker. The real deal:No Way.

    It's an external quick fix, shielding the man from temptation, and as we know this will blow up in his face. A guy taking this, still has an alcoholic mind, a minimal 1st step experience, and no trust in Spirit. That's my 2 cents.

  2. Never had the pleasure of being introduced to the stuff, personally. A therapist once asked me if I would be willing to take it and I said sure, but she was just trying to see if I was committed to getting sober.

    All I've read about the stuff backs up what Dog and Rob both say. As a deterrent to alcohol, it's pretty much useless. I know people who drank while taking the stuff - they didn't give a shit how sick it made them. These people weren't in any program at the time, just outpatient bullshit with a daily tab at the window. Eventually they built up a tolerance to it.

    I don't know of any detox or rehab centers around here that even use the shit anymore. Too much trouble (and expense) handing it out to outpatients every day, and if you give them a bottle of the pills all they have to do is not take them.

  3. We were monitored in our taking of it. We came in a couple of times a week. They blendered it up into an Anabuse Smoothie.

  4. Never had the experience either nor was I ever asked. I witnessed one person in my life who was on it. His name was Joe Rodriquez and he was a Director at this Treatment Center I was at many moons ago. This guy looked like he was in agony every morning. As I got older and a little more experienced I realized the fucker was drinking while on it. Well fuck me running, I heard doing that is like sticking a pin inside your fingernail.