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Severe mood swings, violent rages, memory loss—each of these problems were a part of my family life during the past two or three years. These problems are the result of alcoholism. Recently, a member of my family realized his abuse of alcohol was a major problem to not only himself, but also to those around him. He would lose control of his temper and often would not even remember doing it the next day. Alcohol became a part of his daily life including work, home, and any other activities. His problem was that of a “hidden” and “high-society” alcoholism. When he was threatened with the loss of his job and the possibility of losing his family, this man knew it was time to get help. After he reached his lowest point, he took the first step towards recovery—admitting his problem.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, alcoholism is defined as “the compulsive consumption of and psychophysiological dependence on alcoholic beverages.” It is a problem that can tear apart marriages and families, cause someone to lose his job, and many more negative results. In order to recover from this dependency a person must lose his desire for and dependence upon alcohol, continue to remain sober, and resolve all conflicts caused by the alcohol abuse. There are several alternatives an alcoholic has to rehabilitate himself. The best solution is a combination of individual therapy and a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous.

A person that realizes his problem with alcohol has made an important step towards recovery. Next, they must choose the way in which he rehabilitates himself. One option is one-on-one counseling with a psychologist, alcohol counselor, etc. From the point, alternatives like group meetings or medication may be suggested. Also, a serious alcohol-dependency problem may need special attention in a recovery center. Another option is completely being independent in the sobering process. Often times these alternatives are used in a combination or in a series for more effectiveness.

Furthermore, each alternative has its advantages and disadvantages. Trying to solve this problem completely alone is probably the worst solution. A person receives no outside support or help. A rehabilitation/recovery center is expensive but provides strict daily routine and continuous professional guidance and support. The patient is away from family and his normal life; therefore, he may resort back to alcohol when he is back in the “real world”. Medication helps ease the transition to sobriety; however, the patient may begin to form a dependency on the medicine. Group meetings, such as AA, provide support from others struggling with alcoholism. Also, the meetings serve as a time of group therapy. Individual therapy with a professional counselor provides a deeper, more personal therapy. It allows for one-on-one guidance through recovery.

After considering each alternative, a solution can be rendered. In many instances, a combination of alternatives is best. In all situations, the alcoholic must realize his problem and decide what makes him turn to alcohol. For example, in the previous situation, this man had lost his father at the age of sixteen. Adolescence is a critical time in our lives and he had many unresolved issues and feelings. Whenever these problems surfaced, he turned to alcohol as his solution. However, alcohol is a problem within itself. In order for him to remain sober and overcome his problems, we decided that individual counseling and joining a support group was the best solution for him.

No matter which solution is chosen, alcoholism is a problem and should be treated. The most effective solution is usually the combination and group and individual therapy. This problem should be solved as a family, but must begin with the individual with the alcohol problem. According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, ninety-five percent of untreated alcoholics will die from their alcohol abuse. Do not let someone else increase that percentage. Get help or provide help. The long road of recovery is worth the results.

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