The individual involved in this case study is my father who unfortunately battled addiction to alcohol at one point in his life. My father has always been my inspiration and role model in life. He always made sure that the needs of our family will be addressed. He is a loving husband to his wife. However, there came a time when there were plenty of problems that happened in his life simultaneously which became too much for him to overcome. Thus, he turned to alcohol as his way to cope with the tremendous stress that he felt during the most difficult time in his life. As time passed by, his addiction to alcohol got worse to the point that he lost control of it already. His health suffered, and he also was unable to do his responsibilities as a father and husband anymore.
Description of the Addiction
The addiction involved in this case study is alcoholism. My father was already drinking alcohol even when he was still a teenager. However, he still managed to control his alcohol consumption during that time and even as he became an adult already. Unfortunately, when a series of unfortunate events happened to him at one point in his life, he did not know how to respond. My father lost his job unexpectedly, and he felt that he will not be able to become the breadwinner of his family anymore. Aside from this, my father also learned that his own father passed away already during the time when he was jobless. This essay writer further made my father feel even more miserable and he was in denial that all these unfortunate events happened to him, so he was left with no choice but to turn to alcohol as his friend. He felt that he needed to get drunk so that he can somehow forget all the pain and frustrations that he was feeling at that time. Alcohol helped him to become numb at least temporarily from the suffering that he was experiencing because of the heartbreaking events that happened consecutively in his life.
Steps Taken to Address the Addiction
The crucial part towards the recovery of my father from his alcohol addiction was his awareness of this problem. After several months of doing nothing but drink alcohol all day, I, my mother, and the rest of the family talked to my father just to make him understand that we are still here for him despite his alcohol addiction. It was like my father woke up to his senses and realized that his life is not yet over. He realized that despite losing his job and his father at the same time, he can still do many things if he would just decide to move forward. This awareness was the first step towards the recovery of my father from his alcohol addiction because he finally knew that alcohol is not the answer to his problems (Brown and Lewis, 2012). He vowed from that day on that he would get rid of alcohol already so that he can start his recovery process and go back to becoming a good father and husband once again.
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However, my father realized right away that getting rid of alcohol is easier said than done. He experienced withdrawal symptoms during the first few weeks, and it was tough to see him suffer. He vomited a lot, and he was always being bothered by major headaches (Solomon, 2012). My father lost his appetite and lost his energy. I could tell that there were times when he wanted to give up already and go back to drinking alcohol once again. Fortunately, my father persevered and did not give up even while he was facing tremendous withdrawal symptoms. It took him about two months to finally achieve stabilization as the withdrawal symptoms started to subside already. This became the motivation of my father to keep on working hard to recover because he did not want to waste all the efforts that he already made in the past two months by just giving up and drinking alcohol once again. It was satisfying to see my father be in control once again of himself. It was obvious that he was gradually going back to his old self, and this made our family very proud of him.
After overcoming his withdrawal symptoms and reaching the stabilization stage, my father decided to get help and seek the guidance of a friend who was also a former alcoholic. He knew that he had to do things the right way to start his early recovery phase, and he wanted to get some ideas about the best things to do while recovering from alcohol addiction straight from somebody who also faced the same problem in the past. Getting help from someone was a crucial part in this early recovery phase because my father got the ideas that he wanted to implement which eventually became part of his recovery plan. He was confident about his recovery by this time because if his friend managed to recover from alcohol addiction, he knew that he could also do the same thing.
The one thing that my father prioritized during his early recovery phase was his health. He became thin and looked pathetic because of several months of drinking alcohol. Thus, he wanted to make sure that he would be able to get back in shape and become healthy once again. He started waking up very early in the morning to do jogging and played basketball. My mother was the one who made sure to make my father eat healthy foods to help him in his recovery process. My father also enrolled in a gym where he spent most of his time trying to be strong and healthy once again. He did everything he could to focus on improving his health because he knew the damage that he did to his body by being an alcoholic for several months. It was tough for him at first because his body was still adjusting to the shock of the exercises that he was doing. Nonetheless, I saw that my father eventually enjoyed the process of enduring the pain that he was feeling. He just knew that he was doing himself a favor by rebuilding his health once again. Alcohol became an afterthought and my father never had any urge to drink it again because his body wanted him to drink and consume only the healthy foods which certainly did their part in helping his recovery process.
After three months of the early recovery process with no setbacks, my father moved forward to the middle recovery phase. It was during the middle recovery phase when my father started repairing his damaged relationships with his family. He apologized to us for losing his way during the darkest time of his life where he lost his job and his father at the same time. We accepted his apology because we understood where my father was coming from. He could not find a way to cope with the pain that he was feeling during that time except to drink alcohol. He acknowledged his mistakes and asked for forgiveness. Because we saw the hard work and commitment that my father was giving to his recovery process, it was easier for us to forgive my father for his alcohol addiction. It was very clear to us that he truly wanted to bounce back and become the best father or husband that he could be once again. We made sure to let our father know that we are completely behind him in his recovery efforts.
Aside from this, this was also the period when my father started rebuilding his relationship with God once again. He knew that he blamed God for losing his job and his father at the same time. Thus, when he lost his faith and trust in God, this was when he finally fell into the trap of becoming a slave of alcohol. The good thing was that my father managed to come back to his senses and understand that his recovery from alcohol addiction will not be possible without the help of God. I was very happy that my father rejoined us in going to church which used to be a practice of our family every Sunday back when everything was still fine. The moment that I saw my father reestablish his connection with God once again, I knew that there was a strong chance that he would be successful in his recovery. The presence of God in my father’s life was the missing final piece in the puzzle. It gave him the confidence and peace of mind because he knew that God was already on his side as he tries to recover from his alcohol addiction.
Another three months passed during the middle recovery phase of my father from alcohol addiction and everything went smoothly. He transitioned eventually to the late recovery phase where he was nearing his full recovery from his alcohol addiction already. My father used this period to forgive himself for becoming an alcoholic at one point in his life. He forgave his former employer for firing him even after working so hard for decades there. He went to the grave of his father and asked for guidance as he continued his recovery process. The late recovery phase was more about my father forgetting all the bad things that happened to him in the past which caused him to become an alcoholic. He felt that he had to let go of these negative feelings and thoughts that he still had so that he can finally complete his recovery process. My father just wanted to be completely happy and have that peace of mind knowing that he has done his best to go back to being normal.
Finally, the maintenance step is where my father is at now. I believe that after one full year of hard work and commitment, my father already completely recovered from his alcohol addiction. It was never easy, and there were plenty of challenges that happened along the way. However, because we were always very supportive of our father, and because my father was committed towards his complete recovery, he made it happen. I am happy to say that my father decided to set up a business so that he could continue to provide for our family. Being an alcoholic has become a thing of the past already for him, and I know that he already learned his mistakes from that bad decision that he made in his life. My father is completely healthy and enjoying the time of his life as if nothing happened. I am proud of the way my father bounced back from his alcohol addiction, and I never had any doubt that he could do it because I saw the determination in him to recover. His family was always there for him during the most difficult times and this gave him the strength to bounce back.
Personal Assessment of the Recovery Approach
I believe that the recovery approach that my father went through to battle his alcohol addiction was very successful because it can be perfectly summarized using the Cycle of Change as described by Prochaska & DiClemente (Pretzer, Fleming, and Simon, 2012). The precontemplation stage was when my father kept on drinking alcohol for several months to deal with the pain that he was feeling after losing his job and his father at the same time. The contemplation stage happened when I and the rest of the family talked to my father to tell him that we understand his situation and that we are here for him if he wants to start his recovery.
The preparation stage happened when my father made up his mind to finally quit drinking alcohol which forced him to face the withdrawal symptoms. It was very hard for him to deal with the withdrawal symptoms at first, and there were times when he wanted to quit already. However, my father persevered during the most difficult moments, and he managed to overcome his withdrawal symptoms. After beating his withdrawal symptoms, it was time for my father to take some actions which he did during the early recovery phase, the middle recovery phase, and the late recovery phase. He did all he could to improve his health which suffered tremendously when he was still an alcoholic. He worked hard to be strong and lean once again. My father also made peace with us and apologized for being an alcoholic. He reestablished his relationship with God once again. Most importantly, he forgave himself for losing his way which led to him being an alcoholic. He made peace with himself and promised that he would never go back into being an alcoholic. The hard work and efforts that I saw from my father during this period made me convinced that he was going to have a successful recovery. True enough, he is already in the maintenance phase today without experiencing any relapse which only means that my father is completely done with alcohol.
I would like to emphasize on the part where my father consulted with another former alcoholic to get advice and support. This was a brave and smart move on the part of my father because he knew that he will not be successful in his recovery process if he will just rely on his own efforts. Thus, I have no doubt that seeking help from a former alcoholic contributed significantly towards the successful recovery of my father because this gave him the confidence that he needed to overcome his own addiction. He developed the mentality that if many others recovered from their alcohol addiction, there should be no reason why he will not be able to do the same thing. The ideas that he got from the former alcoholic were very crucial because he applied them in his own recovery process which led to positive results. Fortunately, my father had the presence of mind to make that bold but correct decision to get in touch with a former alcoholic.
I would also like to say that our presence as a family also contributed significantly towards the successful recovery of my father from alcohol addiction (Stimmel, 2002). My father made sure to apologize to us and asked us to give him a second chance to prove himself that he can be a worthy father and husband once again. He understood that he will not be successful in his recovery process if his own family will not be there to support him. It was easy for us to forgive him and give him a second chance because he was very sincere in his apology. Aside from this, he backed up his apology with hard work and dedication during his recovery process which took nearly one year to complete. The fact that my father did not experience any relapse during his recovery process says a lot about his intense drive and focus to recover completely from his alcohol addiction. He made true to his promise that he would earn our trust and respect once again. We made sure to always be there for him every step of the way as he tried to recover from alcohol addiction.
Suggestions for Other Possible Approaches
My father could have tried group therapy as part of his recovery process like the one being offered by Alcoholics Anonymous (Flores and Carruth, 2013). His recovery process would have been more interesting if he was surrounded by fellow alcoholics who were trying to change their lives for the better just like him. However, knowing my father, he was probably too embarrassed to allow himself to be seen by others struggling to deal with alcoholism. Thus, he decided to keep it low-key and just approached a former alcoholic to help him get some tips and ideas. Besides, my father was never an outgoing person. He was always an introvert, so this influenced his decision to just trust on his own methods of recovery instead of joining a group therapy session which most alcoholics do. The small successes that he encountered every step of the way made him more confident during his recovery process.
Aside from this, my father could have also tried the moderate drinking approach which is like the one being offered by Moderation Management. The idea here is for the alcoholics to learn how to reduce their alcohol consumption to manageable levels instead of the excessive levels that they used to do. Thus, the moderate drinking approach will not totally remove alcohol in the life of the alcoholic. I am not sure if my father was aware of this option, but he would not have considered it anyway because he was very sure that he was finished with alcohol already. After several months of continuous drinking, he thought that it was time for him to let go of alcohol which was only destroying his life. Once he made this decision, he never drank alcohol again in his life, not even a sip. This explains why this moderate drinking approach would not have worked with my father even if he encountered it. He wanted to remove alcohol in his life as if it never existed, and it took him nearly a year to finally get this done through his hard work and determination.
Brown, S., and Lewis, V. (2012). The Alcoholic Family in Recovery: A Developmental Model. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=mYt_JfzIliEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Alcoholic+Family+in+Recovery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0gZyimt7oAhVwx4sBHb6FDy8Q6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=The%20Alcoholic%20Family%20in%20Recovery&f=false
Flores, P., and Carruth, B. (2013). Group Psychotherapy with Addicted Populations. London: Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=2GXJ_-YBQo8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Group+Psychotherapy+with+Addicted+Populations&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWp6a2mt7oAhWISJQKHWoLCSwQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Group%20Psychotherapy%20with%20Addicted%20Populations&f=false
Pretzer, J., Fleming, B., and Simon, K. (2012). Clinical Applications of Cognitive Therapy. London: Springer. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=2Q3TBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA22&dq=Clinical+Applications+of+Cognitive+Therapy&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEr5LMmt7oAhUPvZQKHRM-DhgQ6AEILzAB#v=onepage&q=Clinical%20Applications%20of%20Cognitive%20Therapy&f=false
Solomon, J. (2012). Alcoholism and Clinical Psychiatry. London: Springer. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=nbTdBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA57&dq=Alcoholism+and+Clinical+Psychiatry&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjC0Yjnmt7oAhUNyIsBHWK6BC8Q6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Alcoholism%20and%20Clinical%20Psychiatry&f=false
Stimmel, B. (2002). Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and the Road to Recovery. Mankato, MN: Psychology Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=NhafwMN7F3gC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Alcoholism,+Drug+Addiction,+and+the+Road+to+Recovery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZ3c79mt7oAhUSvJQKHQwtAKUQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Alcoholism%2C%20Drug%20Addiction%2C%20and%20the%20Road%20to%20Recovery&f=false