spouses attitude can affect alcoholics relapse

Research into couple therapy confirms that Al-Anon’s purpose of offering “understanding and encouragement” to those with drinking problems is a very helpful approach family members can take in dealing with the situation.

One study, conducted by William Fals-Stewart of the Research Institute on Addictions at State University of New York at Buffalo, found that men recovering from substance abuse are less successful if they believe their spouse or partner is critical of them, rather than supportive.

The study found that of 106 married men studied, those who reported greater criticism from their partners were more likely to have relapsed, regardless of the severity of their drug problem, age or race.

Al-Anon is a support group for those who are affected by someone else’s drinking. In the “preamble” which is read at most Al-Anon meetings, it says:

“Al-Anon has but one purpose to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.”

“Compared to treatments for substance abuse that do not involve spouses, individuals who get couples treatment have much better outcomes – less drug use, fewer arrests, greater likelihood to remain abstinent from drugs,” Fals-Stewart said