Getting Them Sober -- A Guide for Those Who Live with An Alcoholic (Volume 1)

by Toby Rice Drews

The author says on her website at that her goal is to
to teach helping professionals effective methods to aid these families [of alcoholics]."

This book uses the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon as a guide. In its brief 41 chapters, it gives practical, how-to advice on daily living with an alcoholic. The author writes:
"Alcoholism is a family disease. It causes the non-alcoholic spouse and children to become as addicted to the alcoholic as the alcoholic is to the booze...After making the changes outlined in this book, [the non-alcoholic spouse] will find himself or herself living a sane and serene life whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not" (p xv, xvii -- Introduction)

Counselors who help family members living with an alcoholic will learn:

1) How a family member should respond when accused of causing the alcoholic to drink.

2) How a family member can refrain from yelling by learning to detach from the alcoholic.

3) How no one can save an alcoholic. Neither yelling and screaming, nor being nice and helpful doesn't make an alcoholic drink, or stop drinking.

4) How relaxation techniques (tensing and relaxing muscles and breathing) can reduce anxiety.

5) How alcoholics are really dependent upon the non-alcoholic, although it often seems the other way around.

6) How a family member should not confront the alcoholic the next time he is drinking. How to not revolve one's life around the drinker's sickness.

7) How many therapists agree that it is more effective to behave your way to right feelings, rather than trying to talk your way into right feelings.

8) How the family member can stop trying to rescue the alcoholic by not pouring out liquor, not looking for hidden bottles, etc.

9) How to not make sure the alcoholic does not drive the children.

10) How to occasionally, one time, and calmly tell the alcoholic how his drinking affects the family.

11) How a family member can make Alcoholics Anonymous literature available to the alcoholic.

12) What a family member should do in the event of physical abuse.

13) How family members should attend Al-Anon and Al-Ateen.

14) How alcoholics make superficial connections to people and only appear to have fun.

15) If and when a family member should tell other family members about the alcoholic.

16) How a family member should respond when the alcoholic threatens to leave.

17) How a family member should respond to an alcoholic's arrogance.

18) How Alcoholics Anonymous is to an alcoholic as insulin is to a diabetic.

19) How a family member can achieve emotional distance from the alcoholic's disease and have compassion for the alcoholic at the same time.

20) What a family member should do after the alcoholic has a blackout.

21) What a family member should do if the alcoholic loses his job or driver's license because of his drinking.

22) What a family member can do when the alcoholic's income fails.

23) How a family member can recognize overcompensation in their own behavior.

24) How an alcoholic husband uses threats and intimidation, but a non-alcoholic husband makes his wife feel cherished and secure.

25) How no family member can truly please an alcoholic.

26) How a family member can not feel guilty or responsible any more for the alcoholic.

27) How a non-alcoholic spouse can confront his or her own preoccupation with, worrying about, feeling guilty about, and being angry with the alcoholic.

28) How a family member can learn to not respond to the alcoholic, not getting sucked into his "junk."

29) How talking to an alcoholic is not effective, but action is.

30) How a family member should never show fear of an alcoholic's threats.

31) Why an alcoholic drinks: he or she is addicted to alcohol.

32) How a family member's fears decrease after she stops checking up on her alcoholic husband.

33) How a family member can learn to consistently act from her mind and not her fears, no matter how lonely or panicked she gets. How she can learn to love herself, like herself, respect herself, and be able to love in a healthy way. She will no longer miss the excited misery. She will be repulsed by it.

34) How true sobriety involves more than just giving up drinking. It involves treating one's family with kindness instead of intimidation. It means to heal physically, mentally, and spiritually.

35) How to seek help from Al-Anon.