ERIC Number: ED272777
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
3 R's in the Marital Treatment of Alcohol Abuse.
Schlesinger, Stephen E.
Alcohol abuse imposes financial, social, and emotional burdens on drinkers and their families. Couples suffering from alcohol-related problems who seek therapy often have expectations of retribution, restitution, and refuge. Although thoughts of retribution are difficult to elicit in therapy, non-drinking spouses often expect to inflict pain on the drinking spouse commensurate with their own suffering during the period of heavy drinking. Efforts to resolve retribution fantasies usually are most productive when they focus on reducing the issue to its concrete implications. This is achieved by having spouses evaluate whether retribution is actually possible and desirable. Restitution is usually easy to elicit in treatment, since non-drinking spouses often expect payment for their suffering. Couples can be helped to resolve this issue by working out a set of agreements about their mutual contributions to each other's future needs. Once clients have moved beyond retribution and restitution, the desire for refuge against future disruptions caused by a spouse's return to drinking may surface. Especially in cases in which the ex-drinker has suffered lapses in the past, the non-drinking spouse may want protection and assurance that the drinking has stopped. The ex-drinker can do little more than make a promise. The resolution for most couples is to reach a willingness to live with some uncertainty in their relationships and, initially, in treatment. Marital treatment can proceed once these issues of retribution, restitution, and refuge have been resolved. (NB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A