Counselling Paper

Submitted By astridvaswani
Words: 2346
Pages: 10

A person comes to you and says, "I am a Christian and I am struggling with the alcoholism of my marriage partner. Can you please help me?"

This paper is a response to their situation.

1498 for a 1500 word paper

"My husband is an alcoholic, but will not ask for help. He thinks he can work it out for himself. He's not doing it, but what can I do? Is there anyone in the world who can help us or will try to? Please, for God's sake, can you help me?"
Letter from the wife of an alcoholic1


1.Introduction 4
2. Key Aspects of the Issue of Alcoholism 4
2.1. Effects of Alcoholism on the Alcoholic 5
2.2. Effects of an Alcoholic Husband on his Wife 5
3. Marriage Termination 6
4. Saving the Marriage, Solving the Problem 7
4.1. Learning New Responses 7
4.1.1. Directive Counselling 8
4.1.2. Nouthetic Counselling 8
4.1.3. Non Directive Counselling 9
4.1.4. Self-Help Groups 9
4.1.5. Biblical Counselling 9
4.2. Changed Behaviours 10
5. Conclusion 11
6. Bibliography 12

1 Introduction

Alcohol, socially acceptable to most cultures2 including many Christian circles, means its abuse affects most ethnic, age, socio-economic groups and both genders.3 This paper assumes the wife of alcoholic is seeking guidance.

2 Key Aspects of the Issue of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a repetitive, compulsive dependence upon alcohol, which the drinker cannot break.4 Alcoholics may be social, solitary, steady, continuous or binge drinkers.5 Theories regarding causes include hereditary pre-disposition6 (although no 'alcoholism-gene' exists),7 biochemistry,8 physiology of addiction, cognitive expectancies and social learning patterns.9 Some describe it as a "complex, chronic, progressive disease"10 others, "a moral or self-inflicted problem"11 which evidences sin.12 The 'disease' argument avoids psychological issues13 and personal responsibility.14 However, that of 'sin' overlooks physical effects.15 Alcoholism should be considered as both. Many view the condition as permanent16 however, its treatment success-rate is high.17 Untreatable by willpower alone,18 long-term counselling is required and lapses may occur.19

1 Effects of Alcoholism on the Alcoholic

Alcohol, a toxic mind-altering drug,20 depresses the nervous system. This slows responses21 causing lack of inhibition.22 It bolsters confidence and relieves stress short-term.23 If psychological reliance becomes habitual, dependency sets in and alcohol tolerance increases.24 Alcohol used to counteract withdrawal symptoms creates physical dependence.

Dependency-rate development, physical, psychological and behavioural responses vary between individuals.25 Depression,26 heightened feelings of guilt, fear and shame,27 withdrawal,28 violence,29 memory loss, financial problems, moral decline and physical deterioration all direct the alcoholic towards 'rock-bottom' when they may seek help.30 However, alcoholism is a major killer.31

2 Effects of an Alcoholic Husband on his Wife

Alcoholism affects her marriage relationship,32 social relationships and spiritual relationship. She may endure verbal and physical violence33 including rape, isolation, no marital intimacy, breach of trust including lying, deception and infidelity,34 deprivation including debt35 and handling the impact on any children.36 Her emotional abuse includes dealing with unpredictability,37 anxiety,38 self-doubt, blame,39 loss of self-worth, anger, resentment, denial, guilt,40 embarrassment,41 shame, loneliness, despair42 and fear.43

Coping mechanisms may buffer the problems but untreated she becomes sick.44 Whalen45 identifies four response traits; "the sufferer" who masks bitter contempt for her husband, "the punisher" who verbally or physically attacks him, "the controller" who feeds his dependency and "the waiverer" who cannot effect actions to prevent his drinking. Other responses include emotional and physical withdrawal, manipulation, mothering, constructive help seeking,46 management and