Bottled-up is different from most approaches that are around at the moment. If we look at the major approaches currently available, they fall into two distinct categories:
1. you can’t influence an alcoholic
2. the only way to influence an alcoholic is to confront.
The first of these approaches (alanon) believes that alcoholism is a disease and a progressive one. It suggests that the drinker will only change when he hits bottom and that there is very little you can do that will influence or speed that process. So for your own peace of mind, you should admit that you are powerless over his drinking and let nature take its course.
The second of these approaches also believes that alcoholism is a disease. However it takes a very different view in respect of your power to influence the drinker’s decisions about changing. This approach views denial as being at the heart of the problem, that is the drinker’s inability to recognise or admit that he has a problem. So if the denial can be broken down then the drinker will recognise the harm that his drinking is causing and seek treatment or change. The way through this denial is ‘tough love’ usually in the shape of confrontation carried out by the spouse or by a family group.
A recent research study (Miller et al 1999*) compared the rates of drinkers entering treatments from people using these two types of interventions. It found that the first approach resulted in 13% of the drinkers entered treatment after 6 months and the second approach resulted in 30% entering treatment. However there is a third approach and that approach resulted in 64% entering treatment.
Bottled-up is in the tradition of that third approach. It strongly believes that you can affect his drinking, that you can affect how he drinks, where he drinks, when he drinks and even if he drinks. However different from the second approach this is not achieved by confronting, nagging, pleading, punishing or crying. It is achieved by rewarding improvements in behaviour and working towards change and even treatment.
In Bottled-up there is a program that is aimed specifically at you. It is a program to empower you to exert more control over your environment. It will help to reduce your anxiety and depression and make for a more cohesive and happier family life. It will help with communications with your drinker which will help to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and ultimately may result in him getting treatment. The Bottled-up approach is a counter-intuitive but very powerful way of behaving that is rooted in respect (for yourself as well as the drinker).
* Miller, W.R., Meyers, R.J., & Tonigan J.S. (1999). Engaging the unmotivated in treatment for alcohol problems: A comparison of three intervention strategies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 5, 688-697.