Women with Alcoholic Husbands: Ambivalence and the Trap of Codependency

Women with Alcoholic Husbands: Ambivalence and the Trap of Codependency

Women with Alcoholic Husbands: Ambivalence and the Trap of Codependency

Women with Alcoholic Husbands: Ambivalence and the Trap of Codependency

Synopsis

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Excerpt

The study from which this book evolved came out of curiosity about certain human experiences: How do persons deal and five with long-term serious problems? What is involved in the transformation of self-identity? And what are the dynamics in destructive/abusive relationships? For reasons largely of academic interest, familiarity, and opportunity, I decided that studying women married to alcoholics would be a fruitful avenue by which to explore these larger sociopsychological concerns. These interests then translated into related but area-specific questions: How do women who are married to alcoholics deal, on an everyday level, with their husbands' drinking? By what processes does a woman come to define her husband as alcoholic and herself as the wife of an alcoholic? And what meaning do these identifications have for her? I knew what the body of literature on women married to alcoholics said, and I knew what the alcoholism treatment industry said, but I wanted to know what the wives themselves thought and felt.

At that time I did not imagine the details nor chaos of intimate, lived experiences that I would come to see. I did not know that I would come to understand the women's experiences in terms of a "moral career." And, though a sociologist, I did not then fully apprehend the immense collective social implications of their otherwise highly personalized experiences.

Women with Alcoholic Husbands is about the lived experiences of wives from their own point of view and in their own words. I wrote this book for two reasons: first, to tell these women's stories, and second, to offer sociological insights into them. Women married to alcoholics have long been . . .

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