Alcoholism is a disease that can rip families apart. If left untreated, it can take away everything from the afflicted person and everyone they care about. This progressive, physical, and psychological condition can also be fatal.
If you know someone struggling with an addiction to alcohol, you might already be affected by the experience. Stress and frustration are common feelings that arise when interacting with an alcoholic. You’re probably wondering how you can cope and help. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will help ease the situation. Remember, changing your approach and attitude will help you and your loved one in the long run. That’s the truth. Here’s how to deal with an alcoholic:
Do not accept unacceptable behavior
Accepting unacceptable behavior usually starts with smaller doses. Family members tend to brush off small incidents as “They just had too much to drink, that’s all.” However, over time, these incidents get bigger and bigger, with family members accepting all of it, leading to abusive relationships. Abuse is never okay and shouldn’t be tolerated in your life. Make the choice to not let even the slightest missteps fall to the wayside, especially if there are children involved.
Don’t turn a blind eye to their destructive behavior
Never cover up your loved one’s drinking problem or make excuses. Alcoholics typically don’t want anyone to know the extent of their addiction. Looking the other way only feeds into their denial game. You need to deal with the problem in an open and honest way.
Know that it’s not your fault
You didn’t cause the addiction nor can you control it. It’s typical for alcoholics to blame their circumstances on others. Don’t listen as they will drink no matter what you say or do. They have a dependency on alcohol, which means nothing will stand in their way.
Seek help from a support group
While it may seem daunting to reach out for help, it’s the best for everyone. Millions have found refuge in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. You’ll realize that you aren’t alone and that others have been through the same experience. It’s comforting to shed some of the burden you and your family have been shouldering onto people who truly care.
Consider professional counseling for yourself
Alcoholism touches everyone. The addiction weighs on you just as much as it weighs on your loved one. It’s time to stop letting their drinking problem dominate every facet of your life. It’s okay to take care of your physical and mental needs. You can lean on people like therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, members in your faith community, and support groups. At the very least, they’ll be able to alleviate some of your stress and anxiety.
Don’t accept the chaos that your loved one’s drinking creates
Some people can be addicted to the chaos of loving an alcoholic. Even when things are going well, they start accepting even more unacceptable behavior to shake it up. These toxic relationships don’t serve anyone. Disappearing for days, unanswered phone calls, broken promises, and broken plans are just some of the ways an alcoholic brings chaos. You need to set boundaries, diffuse arguments, and simply walk away.
Do not enable
Sometimes loved ones think they’re “helping” when they’re actually enabling an alcoholic to continue their unhealthy lifestyle. Anything that feeds into their denial and prevents them from suffering natural consequences isn’t helping. A lot of the time, it’s these consequences, like getting a DUI or losing relationships, that pushes an alcoholic to seek proper treatment.
Despite the pain and frustration involved in an alcoholic’s life, the disease is treatable. However, treatment needs everyone’s participation and cooperation for success. By knowing the real truth about dealing with this addiction, you’ll be improving the chances of a healthy recovery.
If you have any questions or want to get started on the path to sobriety, please call us at Center For Healing 888-500-9279.
Erica Franco Mortimer, MA, LPC, LCADC
Founder and CEO
Center for Healing
Erica is a licensed therapist with over twenty-years experience in mental health. Erica offers practical and straight forward advice to those struggling with addiction and their families. Having deep insight and understanding of addiction, Erica is able to offer guidance to those looking to regain control of their lives.