A bare-bones treatment of viable options for the families of alcoholics or (synonymously here) ""problem drinkers."" (How to...



A bare-bones treatment of viable options for the families of alcoholics or (synonymously here) ""problem drinkers."" (How to cope with the problem, that is, not necessarily how to conquer it.) Forrest, a clinical psychologist who heads the Institute for Addictive Behavioral Change in Colorado Springs, starts appropriately with the traits of the alcoholic and the corresponding characteristics of the family members so painfully involved--noting that both drinker and loved ones often delude themselves about the seriousness of the problem (families, in-fact, may even drink with the alcoholic and cover up when excuses are needed). Depression, too, is never very far away from either player in this game. But however valid his analysis, Forrest's stabs at reforming the would-be reformer are a trifle stark: walking away from physical or verbal abuse may be a fine idea, but just how to do it he doesn't say. And exhortations to begin a life of one's own, to refuse responsibility for the drinker's actions, to confront him or her with your feelings (at a sober moment) cry out desperately for a more personal touch; will everyone intuit exactly what is meant by confronting with ""a rational approach which emphasizes facts, specifics and actual behavior""? Possibly the most useful advice is not to heap abuse on the drinker, which the drinker construes as ""a kind of permission"" to keep on abusing drink. As for possible treatments, therapy and the AA community get the biggest play, though even here the explanations are by no means extensive. For those at wits' end, perhaps; for the slightly more aware, too much an outline, too lacking in depth.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1980