Families dealing with an alcoholic spouse, parent or sibling want to know the four approaches for dealing with a family member’s alcoholism. Alcoholism is an illness. Without facing the reality of alcoholism as an illness, the family member’s promises to stop drinking are statistically unfounded. Authors Stephanie Wood and Virginia M. Lewis (“The Alcoholic Family In Recovery,” 2012) report the stages of an alcoholic’s recovery and the impact of the recovery process in family life. Families of alcoholics often deal with the aftermath of drinking and driving. Wisconsin families should seek legal services of a reputable, experienced OWI lawyer.
1. Belief that the family will automatically recover if the alcoholic abstains from drinking. According to the research of Steinglass, Bennett, Wolin and Reiss (1987), research shows that families don’t fully recover when an alcoholic stops drinking. In most cases, problems created by the family member’s illness presented over a period of years. Coping mechanisms adopted by the family towards the alcoholic and these problems must be addressed. Denial or collusion by family members about the problems caused by the alcoholic require admission and resolution. Research shows that not every family survives recovery for these and other reasons.
2. Belief that families recover when the alcoholic family member “hits bottom.” Complete loss of control, and acknowledging this loss of control, is one of the popular cornerstones of alcoholic treatment. Unfortunately, assessing when the bottom is reached is different for each family. The alcoholic must acknowledge that her life has hit bottom and realize she is powerless. Identifying treatment programs is usually the next step, but not always. In recent years, some researchers proclaim there is little statistical difference in treated and untreated alcoholics and relapse.
3. Recovery is a long-term, developmental process. Abstinence from drinking is the proposed goal of many alcohol recovery programs. As such, abstinence is a process, event and outcome. A “quick fix,” so popular in earlier alcoholic treatment programs, is seldom successful. Just as alcoholic crises brought the family to the understanding that the alcoholic needs help, recovery is likely to sporadically occur. If the alcoholic suffered for five years, recovery is unlikely to occur in a period of months. Although in-patient treatment can “kick off” this recovery with intensive focus on what has happened to the alcoholic and why, the alcoholic is unlikely to graduate from such treatment as a cured individual.
4. Reaction and interaction therapies. Relationships with family members grow or fail because of reaction and interaction with the alcoholic. Current research maintains the importance of including family as part of the alcoholic’s treatment plan.
Families dealing with the pain need at least four approaches for dealing with a family member’s alcoholism. If your family member has made some legal mistakes because of their addiction and needs the assistance of a Milwaukee OWI lawyer, get help today.