A Rehab in Florida and its approach to Alcoholism.
What is alcoholism ?
The term alcoholism tends to be quite an emotive one for many people, but describes a problem that has been around for a long time, almost as long as humanity itself.
People have always had problems with alcohol, and have been variously described as dypsomaniacs, drunks, alcohol abusers and various other terms.
The term alcoholism/alcohol abuse really came into being in the 1930s, along with the formation of the recovery movement Alcoholics Anonymous.
There was a medical view at the time, although not widely shared, that alcoholism was an illness and that people who suffered from it were alcoholics.
This belief that alcoholism/alcohol abuse was an illness took root in the medical profession and in society as a whole, and is much more widely accepted today than it has ever been.
A rehab/treatment center will very much focus on the belief that alcoholism is an illness, or quite probably refer to it as a disease.
A rehab/treatment center will quite likely take the belief to a slightly different level by saying that the real disease is addiction, and that alcohol is effectively the drug of choice.
The reason a rehab/treatment center will do this is because it effectively allows them to treat the person as an addictive personality, and say that their drug of choice is either alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, sex addiction, codependency etc etc.
A rehab/treatment center will take this approach because it enables them to lump these various addictions together and make the problem a so called addictive personality.
This is quite a controversial approach and the notion of an addictive personality is one much questioned in medical circles.
There is no definitive answer to this, but it is safe to assume that alcoholism/alcohol abuse is an illness, and that anyone suffering from it needs help. In the end if the treatment that someone gets makes the person better, then de facto the person was ill in the first place.
Questions about illness and disease and addictive personalities can be theoretical, but can also be quite distracting.
A rehab/treatment center is most likely to recommend some level of engagement with fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
It is likely a rehab will want a person to attend AA meetings as part of their programme of treatment, and will recommend that they continue to attend AA meetings once they leave treatment.
This is because attendance at a meetings and becoming a part of AA is probably the best way of helping to maintain to priority.
Alcoholics Anonymous does not have any belief systems about anything, including whether or not alcoholism/alcohol abuse is an illness.
It was certainly the belief of the early members of AA, and is explained at length in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, that people who were alcoholics suffered from an illness, effectively a mental compulsion to drink that ultimately they had no control over.
A reading of the book Alcoholics Anonymous will give someone a sense of the experience of members of this that they can then use in their own interpretation of what alcoholism means to them.
A rehab/treatment center should make a large part of the focus of their treatment program an awareness of what alcoholism means to the individual concerned.
It is a major part of someone’s recovery to be able to make sense of their drinking, and why it has taken them to where they are.
For some people this is a question of why they are an alcoholic in the first place, for other people it is a question of reconciling why they believe that alcohol is the only thing that is holding them together, when the evidence of their lives shows that it is also the one thing that is destroying them.
Alcoholism/alcohol abuse as an illness, affects many people apart from the alcoholic themselves.
It is often considered to be a family illness as the impact of the drinking and the emotional and manageability has a huge impact on those close to the alcoholic over a long period of time.
For this reason a rehab/treatment center should offer some type of family program, which would involve some attempts to explain to the family the nature of alcoholism/alcohol abuse, and how it has likely affected them.
A rehab/treatment center may have some type of family reconciliation meeting program as part of its recovery programme generally.
In any event a rehab should give information and encourage family members to attend meetings of Al-Anon, or other fellowships such as Families Anonymous, which address these issues.