Alcoholism Care

Alcoholism Care

Alcoholism Care

It’s never easy
to care for a sick husband or wife, especially if they suffer from a chronic
illness like MS, or some other debilitating disease. It’s difficult to care for an elderly parent
who needs round-the-clock help. But that
is sort of what life is like when you try to care for an alcoholic. You do the best you can, but it may be too
much, or not enough.

On the one hand,
caring for someone can be an act of love and compassion, but on the other it
can be more like ducking the punches.
Alcoholics rarely go out of their way to thank someone for loving them,
but their very lives might depend on someone to be active, strong and

The alcoholic might be fully functioning, that is they go to
work, bring home a paycheck, and yet still be on a downward spiral that leads
to health complications and the destruction of personal and professional
relationships. The person living with
the alcoholic, or caring for the alcoholic has a tough job.

Why don’t they quit?

Joe Herzanek’s
book, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?” attacks the ultimate question of alcoholism
and drug addiction. Why don’t they just
quit? Joe went out with a camera crew
and asked people in a shopping mall that question and got some interesting
responses. One of the conclusions or
answers to the question is simple—“It’s hard to quit—really hard.”

Alcoholism is
defined by several factors, not the least of which is the inability of the
alcoholic to stop drinking. They may not
enjoy it. They may want to stop. But they can’t. They may promise their spouse and their
family that they will “cut down” or they will quit, but they don’t. It is not a matter of will power, because
once the progressive disease of alcoholism has taken hold, the person no longer
has control.

But unlike some other chronic conditions, alcoholism can be
treated and people do get into recovery and live happy, productive lives. Someone with MS, or heart disease or severe
diabetes, can’t do anything about their condition but try to manage the
disease. The alcoholic is not going to
be cured, but they can live a “normal” life, free of the devastating physical
encumbrances of other conditions, and free of limitations.

Must be REAL!

Alcoholism care
begins with getting real about the situation.
They don’t just quit, because they need treatment and that takes time
and effort. They don’t just go back to
drinking responsibly, because they probably started that way, but they
discovered that they were part of the one in nine people that will develop the
disease over time.

That’s why the Alcoholics Anonymous program is effective,
because it deals with the reality of the disease. It helps people completely rebuild their
lives after treatment. For those who
can’t afford treatment, AA provides an alternative that will work if the person
allows it to move forward.

Body, Mind, and

The reality of
alcoholism care centers on the necessity for dealing with the complete
person—body, mind and spirit. The
alcoholic may require medical detoxification, to rid the system of the alcohol
and help them begin their treatment.
Obviously, treatment will include care for the mind, to help the
alcoholic establish new paths of thought and new ways of thinking about the

But as the AA “Big Book” says, the disease of alcoholism may
require a spiritual solution
That is why the 12 Step process is so powerful, it deals with the
spirit. The problem is many people shut
down that process and categorically refuse to allow it to move forward. They claim 12-step does not work and they
spit nails defying anyone to say differently.
AA has a simple answer, “It works if you work it.” Alcoholism care requires this spiritual

A process not a quick

The spouse and
family need to understand that treatment and recovery are a process. That means relapse is a part of the disease.
People may ask how many trips to treatment are necessary. The short answer is –as many as it
takes. People will sometimes fail at
treatment. Why?

Not all treatment is for everybody. One size does not fit all and treatment
professionals understand that a tailor-made program is required. That’s a process. People who are in the grips of the disease do
not want to stop. The disease has taken
over and the disease doesn’t want to be treated. People will resist.

They go to treatment for a few days then walk out
triumphantly, declaring to the world that they don’t need this. They blame the counselors, they blame the
center, they blame their families. They
don’t accept responsibility, because to do so would clearly point the finger at
their own failings.

In it for the long

Alcoholism care
is a long-term, sometimes extremely difficult path for spouses and family. But
it’s a necessary journey and one that renders huge results. Left unchecked, alcoholism’s logical
destination is death. It’s saving a life,
by getting someone into treatment that cannot help them.

That ends our section on alcoholism care, visit our home page for more or return to effects of alcoholism.

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