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About the Film

Alcoholism

Memory

Death and Dying

Family History

Dialogue

Conclusion


Copyright © 2000 Trish Williams

The Concept of Addiction

It is accepted that there exists an underlying addictive personality or as Schaef calls it, an addictive process. Schaef asserts that the broader disease of the addictive process has subdiseases or specific dependencies and addictions which are only part of the disease of addiction.

“The addictive process is an unhealthy and abnormal disease process, whose assumptions, beliefs, behaviors, and lack of spirituality lead to a process of nonliving that is progressively death-oriented. The basic disease, from which spring the subdiseases of co-dependence and alcoholism—among others—is tacitly and openly supported by the society in which we live.” (Schaef 21)

 


Treatment for addiction requires major lifestyle change and intensive psychological examination of learned patterns of family behavior. Eliminating the drinking or alcohol addiction is only one step to recovery.

Alcoholism and co-dependency are specific addictions underlying the disease of addiction. The addictive process/personality embodies specific traits which are widespread and accepted within our culture as is indicated by both Schaef, and Washton and Bounty. Washton and Bounty also concur that the underlying or inner disease of addiction originates from our belief system—beliefs about ourselves, others and the world. Some of the addictive traits defined by Schaef and Washton and Bounty are feelings of shame, control, confusion, thinking disorders, perfectionism, external referenting - being “other directed”, dependency issues, fear, rigidity, judgmentalism, depression, trouble managing anger, guilt-ridden, inferiority/grandiosity, inner tension, self-centeredness, loss of personal morality, emotional numbness, poor coping skills, stasis, negativism.

Treatment for addiction requires major lifestyle change and intensive psychological examination of learned patterns of family behavior. Eliminating the drinking or alcohol addiction is only one step to recovery. The underlying disease of addiction can continue to function and manifest itself in other ways besides drinking. Schaef also states “the function of addiction is to keep us out of touch with ourselves (our feelings, morality, awareness—our living process).” (Schaef 24) My sister states in the film how she thought my father used alcohol to numb his unresolved feelings about his father’s suicide, a death which was not properly grieved. Repression of family secrets leads to repression of feelings, a trait common in the addictive process. Recovery involves connecting with your feelings, something my father was unable to do. Bradshaw states that when a person does not express feelings, this impacts people close to them. (Bradshaw part 5) This is one reason why co-dependents and children of alcoholics are impacted.

 

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