How to Deal With an Alcoholic Loved One
Alcoholism is a disease that involves the uncontrolled use of different forms of alcohol, but there are a variety of different ways that alcoholism can manifest. There are high functioning alcoholics who are effectively able to keep their secret hidden. There are low functioning alcoholics that are clearly drunk all the time and struggling with deep seated issues.
There are binge drinking alcoholics who drink themselves into a stupor on a regular basis. Each alcoholic is completely unique, depending on when, how and why they drink. What is the same from alcoholic to alcoholic, however, is the fact that every single person with alcoholism is hurting more than just their own selves.
Alcoholism is a type of disease that is going to impact not only the alcoholic, but many additional people as well. Family members and friends of someone who is an alcoholic can find themselves in situations and social settings that are potentially dangerous or downright uncomfortable. If you have a loved one, such as a friend or a family member, who is currently struggling with the disease known as alcoholism, rest assured that there is help out there for you. Here is a look at some coping strategies that you can employ in order to deal with having a loved one who is an alcoholic.
Dealing with an Alcoholic Loved One
Open up the lines of communication between yourself and your loved one. Talk to the person who is struggling with an alcohol abuse problem. The best time for you to do this is in a personal or private setting when your loved one is completely sober. You need to be willing to sit them down and explain to them what is happening. They need to understand what this disease is doing to them and what it is doing to you and the rest of the people around him or her.
Make sure that you approach the situation with the right attitude. When you are talking about the addiction known as alcoholism, you are going to want to have a positive and uplifting attitude. You want to make sure that your loved one understands that you want to support their efforts to heal and get better. You want to make sure that they understand that you are going to be there by their side in order to offer encouragement whenever they require it.
Make sure that you are consistently setting clear boundaries with your loved one. It is absolutely essential that you support them, but you can support them without actually supporting the addiction that they are suffering from. When your loved one is under the influence of alcohol, you should not let them be around you. You should actively choose not to support any unhealthy habits or environment for either of you, because supporting the bad things is what is going to lead the alcoholic to think that their behavior is acceptable.
Go out of your way to find options for professional counseling and therapy, which you can obtain from a number of different sources in your local area. Experienced counselors that have worked with alcoholics and families of alcoholics in the past are going to be able to help you address all the complex issues that come in hand with alcoholism. The effects of this disease can be extremely devastating if you do not get your family and your loved one the help and support that they need so desperately during this time.
Participate actively in a support group made up of other families that are going through the same type of crisis event. What this will do is help you communicate with other people who have been through similar situations in the past as well as individuals who are currently going through similar situations. You will find a lot of support and understanding in a support group such as this one, where everyone in the group understands exactly what you are dealing with and why. Support groups will be invaluable in helping you as well as your family through this process.
Participate in a professional intervention program. There are intervention programs out there, which are typically guided by professionals experienced in the ins and outs of alcoholism. You can invite along the friends and family members of your loved one who have all been impacted negatively by the alcoholism. When these family members, friends, and other people gather to create a wakeup call, it often creates the final push that an alcoholic needs in order to get the help that they are in desperate need of. An intervention program might be absolutely necessary for you to show your loved one that they have a problem, but that there is absolutely help out there that they can take advantage of.
Immediately work to stop or correct any behaviors that are making it possible for the alcoholic to hide their alcoholism. For example, if you are lying to your family members, friends, employers or your co-workers in order to protect your loved one from the stigma of the disease, you may actually be doing him or her a disservice rather than being helpful. If your loved one is hiding their alcoholism rather than getting help, then bringing everything out into the open might be the best possible thing for you to do.
Do everything that you can to educate yourself about alcoholism and what it is like to be an alcoholic. There are a wide variety of different resources that are available to you if you are willing to look for them. The more that you know about alcoholism and what it means to be an alcoholic, the more you will be able to support your loved one as they go through this very trying time. When you are educated about the subject of alcoholism, rehab options, relapse and similar subjects, then you can pass that knowledge on to your loved one in a caring and understanding way. It is important to be an ally and a source of information and resources during this time.
Spending your life with someone who is an alcoholic can be difficult and even overwhelming. You may feel helpless and if there is nothing that you can do to help your loved one to overcome their addiction. The best thing that you can possibly do for yourself is to approach the situation with an open mind and an understanding heart so that you can help your loved one get the care and assistance that they desperately need.
Alcoholism is a hard affliction to deal with. Someone who is struggling with alcoholism is going to need a lot of help and a lot of support. If you truly care about this person, then you should be prepared to put all of your time and attention into helping them. You can become a powerful ally in your loved one’s fight to overcome alcoholism and addiction if you are willing to dedicate yourself to their care. This is a point in their life when they really need you, so make sure that you are there for them.