Alcohol Treatment Approaches

There are a lot of new school thoughts being brought to the forefront in regards to alcohol treatment. One popular idea is that families should gather together with other troubled families, seeking outside guidance and advice. One good example of this approach is Al-Anon, which views addiction/alcoholism as a family disease, and views family members as “enablers” and “codependents.” Interventions are also a way of handling an alcoholic that is in denial and will not seek help even though they are leaving a disastrous trail behind them. Some view that approach as a kind of “tough-love” action that rarely helpful or constructive, always expensive, and very often harmful to hopes for eventual reconciliation.

New thoughts are pulling away from “therapeutic” activity as they believe that it is part of a convincing illusion that addicted people are somehow defective, or are afflicted with a disease that requires skilled, professional services and lifelong management and prevention. Sort of how many women are resorting back to old fashioned methods of childbirth; this new approach to alcoholism treatment takes a rather old-fashioned view of the addiction as willful misconduct, voluntary and for the purpose of physical pleasure.

The belief is that most families, even families with many great problems, have a foundation in wisdom and common sense that is more meaningful and helpful than all of the medical, spiritual, and psychological help in the world. This is a far cry from the disease concept of addiction, which encourages patience with “alcoholics” who continue their nightly absences from the home, working year after year on the problem, but staying “sober” just one-day-at-a-time.

This philosophy is the wakeup call for all involved to get a grip on the problem, and take action right now, or else as this program endorses the zero-tolerance ultimatum, in which the family forces the addicted member to choose between addiction and some action the family will take to protect itself. Addiction is insatiable, and will consume all of any family’s emotional and financial resources, and still demand more. Very often, families require the addicted member to choose between continuing to drink/use and family membership.

This is called a direct approach that claims to guide any family through the actions and decision-making process that leads to prompt, total recovery from even the most serious, long-standing substance addiction. The main goal in this philosophy is to make a plan that will protect the family while secondarily giving your addicted family member the greatest opportunity to defeat the addiction and live in freedom and dignity. For example, families are the basic unit of survival for human beings, and cannot include for long those who will betray it or harm its members.

There has been no research conducted on this approach and not much information available about it but it clearly defies all schools of thought that have been around for a number of years. It may make one wonder though since the current system is so seemingly flawed.

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