Living with a loved one’s alcohol problem can be an emotional roller coaster. First and foremost, it’s vital that you take care of yourself and get support. You will need to have people you can talk honestly and openly with about the situation.
Truths about Alcoholism, Alcohol Abuse and Recovery
- You cannot force someone to stop abusing alcohol. The choice is theirs alone.
- A problem drinker cannot stop drinking without help.
- Recovery is an ongoing process that requires time and patience. The underlying problems that led to the problem drinking take time to unpack.
- You’re not alone. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse affects millions of people from every social class, race, and culture.
When supporting a problem drinker, there are many things you shouldn’t do.
Don't attempt to punish, threaten, bribe, or preach.
Don’t use emotional appeals. They may increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
Don't cover up or make excuses for the alcoholic or problem drinker.
Don't take over their responsibilities, leaving them with no sense of importance or dignity.
Don't hide or dump bottles, throw out drugs, or shelter them from situations where alcohol is present.
Don't argue with the person when they are impaired.
Don't drink with the problem drinker.
Don't feel guilty or responsible for their behavior.
Do seek help from a group like Alcoholics-Anonymous.
Do seek out trusted friends, a therapist, or people in your faith community.
Do get help. You need support, too.