Louise: The Real and the Ideal
In central New Jersey there are many persons, groups, and institutions that offer help to alcoholics who wish to stop drinking. Though they vary in competence, cost, and commitment, they are in abundance and they make themselves visible. Local community mental health centers will make room for the alcoholic who truly wants to achieve abstinence, even if they prefer other kinds of patients, who are generally more interesting. The state hospitals have outpatient clinics where alcohol problems are addressed. Several private psychiatric hospitals provide both detoxification and treatment services of varying lengths, depending on the patient’s ability to pay and motivation to stop drinking. Some general hospitals also have detoxification facilities; a few offer outpatient treatment as well. Central New Jersey is also blessed with a multitude of psychologists and psychiatrists who provide treatment to alcoholics on a private basis. Other professionals with varying degrees and kinds of training offer marital, family, and pastoral counseling, social casework, and other services to alcoholics and their families. In addition, the State of New Jersey has organized a network of facilities, where alcoholism counselors focus directly (and, usually, first) on cessation of drinking. Several Alcoholics Anonymous groups also meet regularly in the region, making it possible for a well-motivated alcoholic to spend practically every waking hour at one AA meeting or another if he or she so desires.
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