Recent Developments in Alcoholism pp 91-104

Part of the Recent Developments in Alcoholism book series (RDIA, volume 7)

Al-Anon and Recovery

  • Timmen L. Cermak

Abstract

The history of Al-Anon and its current demographics are reviewed. In order to understand 12-step recovery and psychotherapy for family members of alcoholics, the concept of codependence is defined with a set of diagnostic criteria consistent with the DSM-III-R definition of personality traits and disorders. At the core of codependence are denial and an unrealistic relationship to willpower. The therapeutic implications of considering codependence as a personality disorder are explored, as are the characteristics that make codependence unique among personality disorders: the central role of denial and the existence of a self-help organization to facilitate recovery. The dynamics of working the 12 steps on codependent characteristics are outlined. A synergistic relationship between psychotherapy and the 12 steps is described. Special attention is given the emergence of Al-Anon adult children of alcoholic meetings, and the future of codependence is discussed.

While the preceding chapters have explored the history and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous, an intriguing question remains: Why do the principles of AA generalize successfully to the family members of alcoholics? This chapter explores the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups in an effort to understand why the Twelve Steps of AA have retained their healing power in this arena as well.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism, Second Edition. New York, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1984.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Personal communication with Director of Al-Anon CPC (Cooperating with the Professional Community) Division, September 1987.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    An Al-Anon/Alateen Member Survey. Prepared by Wolf/Altschul/Callahan for Al-Anon Family Groups, New York, 1984.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cermak TL: Diagnosing and Treating Co-dependence: A Guide for Professionals. Minneapolis, Johnson Institute Books, 1986.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Johnson VE: I’ll Quit Tomorrow. New York, Harper and Row, 1973, p 30.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition-Revised, Washington, DC, 1987.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vaillant GE: Adaptation to Life. Boston, Little, Brown, Boston, 1977.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Millon T: Disorders of Personality. New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1981.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timmen L. Cermak
    • 1
  1. 1.Genesis, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California-San Francisco Medical CenterSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations