The transactional analysis perspective to alcoholism reviews majorly on the major causes that create the basis for the development and also the formation of the alcoholism or alcohol addiction. The instability of the functioning of the ego states of the patient and also the major psychological games that underlie the self-destructive scripts are also well described in the transactional analysis but are not described in the Alcoholics Anonymous. The chief directions of the psychotherapeutic aid are measured and thought to be linked to the bowl off and the abandonment of the alcoholic’s corresponding role. The transactional analysis which was evolved in the 1950s by Eric Berne sought to understand and treat the psychological difficulties through a cognitive-behavioral approach.
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The alcoholism behavior is understood as a repetitive pattern of the self defeating behavior (Steiner 1971). The game of alcoholism is known to be played by five players who include: the alcoholic who is the drug user or drinker; the persecutor who is the person who informs the drug user that he is irresponsible and drinks too much. This may include the parents, a spouse or a drug counselor. The rescuer who is a good natured person who takes the alcoholic and encourages him through kind comments to quit the behavior (Steiner 1971).
There is also the patsy, this is the person also referred to as a ‘Dummy’ who gives the money with very good intentions but also unconsciously know what would really happen later. The connection is the last person and this is the supplier of the alcohol. In this game and in reality, there is no alcoholism or even the alcoholic but there exist a role called alcoholic in the game (Mengis et, al, 2002). The five roles can engage five different individuals or one individual could take up several roles at quite different times (Mengis et, al, 2002).
The goal of this game of alcoholic is hangover. The drinking itself is only an incidental pleasure. To the alcoholic, the psychological torment and not the physical pain of the hangover is more important. In the morning after recovering from a hangover, the scolding by the self or another obliging person especially a spouse is the ultimate goal of this game. At this point, all his beliefs about himself, the other people and the whole world are played out in living color. Therefore the alcoholic moves down further the preordained path referred to as the life script (Wolfgang, 1995). This becomes the ultimate goal of this game and what all the stealing, drinking, cheating and lying are for. The actual use of the drugs is somehow incidental (Wolfgang, 1995).
The transactional analysis lacks the place for feelings and emotions of the alcoholic but the Alcoholic Anonymous takes it into consideration. The feelings and emotions of a human being are very essential because they take a third of the human functioning. The transactional Analysis rests on the assumptions that complete understanding of oneself would lead to cure of alcoholism (Ian 2000). If an individual understands his or her faulty cognitions and all the resultant behaviors and feelings, then they would stop them (Ian 2000).
The transactional analysis to alcoholism also uses the regression therapy unlike the AA. This is because many of the alcoholics use the drugs to support their defense instrument of regression. The regression allows the individuals to avoid the prevailing emotional difficulties by fully regressing to an early stage of development. It very easily allows the drug users to be like children to the points where their standard emotional development is stuck. When the drug user goes into the childlike state, this would mean euphoric, pleasurable, uninhibited, fun, irresponsible and not concerned with the day to daydifficulties. The drug actually allows the therapeutic process to be easier because it allows the psychotherapist to diagnose and observe the level of adjustment the client who is the drug user is at (Ian 2000).
Alcoholism Anonymous often known as AA is an international mutual aid movement which describes itself as a fellowship of women and men and its primary purpose is to remain sober and also to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. It was co-founded by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson in 1935. The AA urges its members to follow the twelve steps program of their character development. The twelve steps include admitting that one is a powerless individual over alcohol and that life hence turns to be unmanageable (Scott & William, 2003). They believe that another power which is greater than the person meaning superpower could restore the individual back to sanity. Making a deliberate decision to turn their lives and their will over to God whom they understand, is the other step. The next step involves making a fearless inventory through searching for the moral inventory of the alcoholic person. It is also very necessary to admit to oneself, to God and to another human being about the real nature of the wrongs involved in during the period of alcoholism (Scott & William, 2003).
The alcoholic should be ready to have God remove the defects of alcoholism. The next step involves asking God to remove the shortcomings brought by alcoholism. If there is anyone that one has harmed during the period, they are advised to list them in order to amend with them all. These amends should be made directly unless, if the direct intervention would harm either of the party. Continuation of personal inventory is encouraged and openly admitting when the thoughts of alcohol recur. The healing is always sought through meditation and prayer in order to improve the conscious contact with the Almighty God in the process of wanting to understand Him more. The last step is taking the message to others who are alcoholic as a result of spiritual awakening and cause the same to many others. The transactional analysis however does not have any steps to be followed. In transactional analysis to alcoholism, the description of the alcoholism is that once an individual has become an alcoholic, he or she will always remain to be an alcoholic. This means that it is a disease that has no cure but the Alcoholics Anonymous does not refer to the alcoholism as a disease but as a temporary condition that will eventually come to an end and mostly it is given the spiritual treatment and perspective (Scott & William, 2003).
The AA started as a leaderless group and it is based on that alcoholics require the support of the group in order to stop the behavior of drinking. Members of the groups that are formed are always encouraged to tell their story over and over again. The AA emphasizes responsibility and honesty as significant elements in the rehabilitation of the individuals. Alcoholic Anonymous is a therapy-by-the –Group whereas the transactional analysis is an example of therapy-through-interpretation. Though both of the theories and approaches are aimed at healing the alcoholism behavior, the two approaches are quite different in the manner that they carry out the procedures as explained above. In the transactional analysis, we find that there is the therapist who offers his interpretation and explanation to the victims of alcoholism after they have discussed their problems but in AA the self improvement attitude is encouraged especially in the different groups (Berne 1961).
There is the similarity of the two approaches which is the use of the groups. This is because the groups provide sense of security, dependability, validation, stability, a shared experience, aan opportunity for self-impact and definition, and finally the showing of initiation with each other. The alcoholics’ victims are mostly grateful and need to express their affection to each other. The helpful group leader helps members in expressing their gratitude and thankfulness. It is the trust, a shared relationship, consistent security and reliability, validation and the continuing responses to each person’s relational-needs that help to put to an end the shame, dissolve chronic stress, rectify the cumulative neglect and also heal the trauma.
The AA program provides the alcoholics with a clearly-defined program, clearly defined goal and a laid-out structure for obtaining their goals. The advantages of AA however do not serve everyone because of the approach that it uses and therefore the transactional analysis could help in the healing of the alcoholics better. Particularly the script of alcoholism, which we are now all so familiar with, can be done away with as well. The alcoholic himself can make a decision to change his life (International Transactional Analysis Associations 2006).
Starting from the argument that the alcoholism should be a game as well as an addiction, the primary priority is to discontinue the game. This requires, first and very foremost, an obligation to complete the sobriety for a substantial given period of time having the limits of one year at minimum. Discontinuing the drinking usually strongly weakens the apparatus of the game. The understanding of the game will help as well. Important questions include: how does the game obtain strokes for all the players; and how does this help to structure time?
As the game frequency and intensity reduces, it is a significant short-term strategy to discover better ways and strokes of structuring the time. AA becomes an excellent option for this phase; partly because meetings are plentiful, the people are very friendly and ample time can be passed productively (Scott T., Gerard J and William R. Miller 2003).
Diminishing the alcoholic game and the potential it has, other substitute starts to demoralize the life plan or script. This helps to trigger the existential crisis that is filled with depression and anxiety. In all likelihood the alcoholic patient will have problems in filling time and discovering a new reason to substitute for the life script. New relationships, friendships, goals, activities, free of the Drama Triangle responsibilities have to be rebuilt up to substitute the old script patterns. There may be drinking relapses, which need to be fielded, and the injured controlled (Wolfgang, 1995). The healing process may be painful; because the alcoholic is getting better he may feel shoddier and crave to return to the smog of alcoholism (Steiner 1971).
Nature and time will always weigh in. The Physical health improves. Exercise and diet improves the chances that natural history and environment will take its curative course. Various factors of the deeper matters that have been shunned by drinking will come to the front position. Childhood decisions and experiences illuminate present behavior. The short term decisions and goals are replaced by the long term ones. In time and with time, the alcoholism will be healed. The transactional analysis is interested in the psychological aspect whereas the Alcoholics Anonymous is most interested in the spiritual aspect of alcoholism and of the healing process.
The ways of structuring time by receiving and giving strokes that include ritual, pastimes, withdrawal, games, intimacy and activity and are very essential in the transactional analysis rather than in AA. Though there are differences in these two approaches both of them are efficient and effective in dealing with alcoholism (Mengis et, al, 2002).