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Alcoholic Intervention

"Alcoholic Intervention: Should I use the term alcoholic? "
copyright 2011, all rights reserved

by Toby Rice Drews
author of the "Getting Them Sober" books

"Families sometimes ask if they have the right to say a family member is alcoholic. They ask this after they hear someone in a family recovery program say that "no one has the right to 'call someone' an alcoholic".

Probably someone said that in a meeting years ago-----and someone else took it for gospel because they 'heard it in a meeting'.

But what does it mean? It means that if you say no one has the 'right' to 'call you' an alcoholic------- then, in your gut, you feel itis a "name-calling".

Alcoholism is a disease or it is not. There may be a stigma about it, but we just contribute to the stigma by saying we can't 'call someone' an alcoholic.

How come I can 'call someone' a diabetic?

You know, it's amazing------------- we can plan to leave a marriage for the effects of a spouse's alcoholism on us--------but then we hear that we can't say that we're planning to leave for the reason that we're planning to leave??!!

What do we say?---------- "I can't name what you have, but I'm leaving you for it??!!"

Deep in our guts, it's very hard to believe it's a disease....... but if we don't break the shame--------the silence------- we continue the stigma. (And that means if our kids get the disease------- they have the stigma on THEM, too).

Now, it's true that in the final analysis-------the only diagnosis that will KEEP a person in treatment and/or A.A. is self-diagnosis. But hearing from others that one HAS the disease, can sure help crack through one's own initial denial!

This is a small excerpt from the chapter on 'intervention' in the "Getting Them Sober, volume 4" book-----------

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Phone: 410-243-8352 • Fax: 410-243-8558 • e-mail:
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