Is This Common for an Alcoholic to Recover the Way I Describe Below?

Question by Adamismyname: Is this common for an alcoholic to recover the way I describe below?
I am wondering if it is common that an alcoholic, in the case of the neighbor a severe alcoholic, can just get better on their own as this neighbor of my parents did. The neighbor just died of cancer (unrelated to her past alcoholism) and was much better in her last 10+ years of life to the point of being sober for about 6 years or so. She did not go to AA or therapy and just on her own seemed to get better. The son of hers who told my parents this at the funeral was very open about her drinking so he seemed sincere in saying that for unknown reasons it just got better. He credits prayer and I wondered if this happens sometimes. She had been an alcoholic for about 20-25 years before getting better.
So I was just curious if this happens or if it almost always requires detox and therapy?

Best answer:

Answer by zeldaslexicon
No, “detox” is not necessarily a requirement for an alcoholic (or anyone with an addiction problem) to “get better”. Some people deal with alcohol or drug addiction without the help of a doctor, AA, counseling, or similar. While detoxing off alcohol is perhaps more dangerous than detoxing off other drugs of abuse, it can and has been done.

It’s not uncommon for those with an addiction to “transfer” their addiction to something else while in recovery. Many find that religion works well for this, and become, in effect, “addicted” to religion or prayer instead of alcohol or drugs. Others may become “addicted” to exercise, or food, or some other coping mechanism that is a bit less damaging to their physical health and more socially acceptable. So it may be that your neighbor found prayer to be an acceptable substitute for alcohol.

Some people actually become “addicted” to therapy. But it’s not required. Many have kicked a bad habit on their own.

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