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Alcohol Abuse Help

A person with an alcohol problem is a valuable person with a treatable and solvable problem

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 Alcohol abuse seems to be ever growing and alcohol addiction help has become a big money earner for many people but it is filled with the most ghastly statistics for the recovery of the people who enter into it. Furthermore it has as its base that it "works" and if anyone wants help and "they work it", they will get well. Hence putting the blame of failure of help very firmly on the client who has asked it. This article begins with a critique of AA and goes on to suggest holistic ways to approach an alcohol abuse problem.

Perhaps the question we should be asking is whether the help usually offered is very good for the patient. Alcohol Anonymous managed to get more or less a monopoly on alcohol abuse help and everyone appeared to be very pleased about this, particularly because it was originally free and it is from Alcohol Anonymous in particular, but by no means exclusively, that we find this view of the person who asks for help not wanting it! I have never heard of such a ridiculous thing in my life. Why on earth would someone ask for help if they did not want it?

People will argue that the person asks for help because someone they love - their partner or children most likely are threatening to leave them if they do not go for help…but excuse me, they are still wanting help, even if this is what has motivated them to ask for it. Equally the person may be threatened with losing their job…Ok that is what has initially motivated them - so what - they still want help. Perhaps they have even got into trouble with the police - a very good reason for wanting help, I would think!

The problem would appear to be far more that people are asking for help and not getting help that helps them and the person with the problem is not only is not receiving it, but is getting blamed for this. It certainly is almost unique that a system of help with such a high failure rate has managed to blame the failure on the people asking for help rather than on the help offered. I cannot imagine any other situation where this would be accepted.

We must also remember that Alcoholics Anonymous began in the 1930's when humanistic counselling was only beginning. The unfortunate thing is that it managed to get such a hold on the alcohol abuse scene that until very recently when people harmed by it have managed to make their voice heard, very little other help was available to people who found themselves in difficulty.

Karl Marx said "Ideologies turn reality upside down". What he meant by that is that ideologies take a little bit of the truth and by this convince you. But they also add a twist so that although it may sound like the truth, it no longer is..and unfortunately that is the case with a lot of what happens in Alcohol Anonymous and why so many people fail to get well and find themselves so beaten.

Alcoholics Anonymous does follow the criteria of a cult in that members joining must give up their own ideas and take on that of the group. It is impossible for people with intelligence to get sober within AA, or so I am told. Now that must certainly get people wondering. People are asked not to speak until they have got the message - this results in a groupthink which may in reality have very little to do with the truth.

Alcoholics Anonymous also puts the group above the individual, hence discounting an individual's experience and making it difficult for the group to correct itself when wrong.

Psychological understanding has come on by leaps and bounds since the 1930's but AA still believes all that is true about Alcohol abuse is written in the 'Big Book' (their main reading material). Hence unlike the rest of society, as an organisation it has not changed with the new growth and understanding within society as a whole.

One of the most concerning ideas is that the person with the alcohol problem is a person quite unlike any other in society. This allows the person to be treated in ways which would not even be considered ethical for mental patients! Could it be true that with the person dependent on alcohol we have a human with a personality quite unlike any other in society?

Addiction belongs to almost everyone alive at the moment. We are all addicted to something, whether it be chocolate, alcohol and drugs, shopping, watching television, working, listening to music or whatever. We live at this moment in a very habit orientated and addictive world and in that sense the person with an alcohol abuse problem is the same as everyone else.

However, with alcoholism we are dealing with physical addiction and this is an addiction which does affect the mind, emotions, spirit and body. Care must be taken while withdrawing from alcohol and frequently this requires medical supervision of some sort. The person with the alcohol abuse problem is hence someone who needs both physical and emotional support while coming off and remaining off alcohol. There is also evidence to suggest that some people are physically more likely to get into trouble and this does not appear for some reason to be properly recognised by the medical profession.

The idea within AA however that there is an "alcoholic personality" which anyone who abuses alcohol has is ludicrous! Maybe when a person is drunk as getting drunk shuts off access to higher brain functions but most certainly not when sober. This has been recognised by at least one AA treatment centre but generally speaking the belief within AA is that a person's personality is the one of the drunkard and that anything else is "God!".

It is true that if a person has been drinking for a long period of time, it may take some time to get themselves back and it would be true to say a person with an alcohol abuse problem acts within two states of consciousness, one when drunk and the real one when sober, but the idea that there is anything which is an "alcoholic personality" could only be one which has been learnt after someone had sat though hundreds of AA meetings.

We are all individuals and humanity is concerned with respecting each individual in their uniqueness.

Part 2 How to get help

        Resource Guide To 12 Step Alternatives

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