THE ALCOHOLIC IN YOUR LIFE by Jo Coudert

THE ALCOHOLIC IN YOUR LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ms. Coudert is the pastmistress of the unafraid assumption: ""Alcoholics, when not drunk, are charming people"" or ""The neurotic attempts to solve his problems; the alcoholic attempts to dissolve his."" She earlier wrote about her own experience and those of her friends and acquaintances with Freudian analysis; she now writes about alcoholism in terms of her own experience with her mother and her friends and acquaintances. This is virtually virginal in its absence of hard facts or statistics or footnotes although you'll find an occasional quotation from Kathleen Norris or Karen Horney. Her thesis goes like this: alcoholism is an addiction, not a disease, and the problems begin in the too ""munificent"" infancy of the alcoholic who is always regressing toward that state and is a congenital dependent forevermore. The ""co-alcoholic,"" toward whom this is addressed, may have some noble notion of saving him but she should give up hope and settle for acceptance (at which point the alcoholic may improve); actually she should serve as his pre-therapist and later maybe the alcoholic will choose some outside help although no one ""treatment modality (is) superior to others""; A.A. doesn't work and psychiatry can't since the alcoholic won't talk about his problems, just acts them out. In this day and age when every kind of freeform therapeutic technique goes, it is not wise to discount her approach or her book which is insidiously confidential and firm in its assurance that this is the way to handle the problem. It may well have the maverick buried best-selling success of her earlier Advice to a Failure directed at just this vulnerable audience who might have read Kathleen Norris and won't have read Karen Horney.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1972
Publisher: Stein & Day