It’s dumbfounding to learn that some never seek help of any kind with severe alcohol abuse.
One wife says, “If my husband had sought help, he would have been admitting how serious my problem was. It was a big family secret.”
But other people emphasize the importance of not going it alone when someone you care about has a drinking problem. This comment captures the essence of many suggestions: “Join a support group to keep your own life buoyant and prosperous and to analyze your own negative coping strategies.”
Not surprisingly, many people who take traditional twelve-step recovery routes suggested going to Al-Anon, also a twelve-step-based program.
Also, a number of people make a general comment that family and friends should seek counselling for their own benefit.
One wife did both. “About a year after talking to her husband about his problem, I started going to Al-Anon meetings. One of the things I learned there was that I was ready to do something for myself in order to find some relief from my husband’s drinking problem. So I also started seeing a therapist, who helped me decide what to do in and out of the marriage. Going to both Al-Anon and counselling not only helped me but also provided him with another reality check about his drinking.”
A number of studies suggest that marriage and family counselling can motivate a problem drinker to make a commitment to change. If physical violence or abuse is involved, professional help should definitely be sought.