Guide to How to Deal With an Alcoholic

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Alcohol addiction is a disease that can rip families apart. If left untreated, it can take away everything from the afflicted person and those they care about. If you know someone struggling with an addiction to alcohol, you might already be affected by their circumstances.

You’ve probably encountered the stress and frustration that commonly arises when interacting with an addict, and you’re likely wondering how to deal with an alcoholic loved one.  In this article, Avenues Recovery explores several  steps you can take to help ease your situation.

7 Pointers on How to Deal With an Alcoholic

Remember, you can’t control another person’s drinking habits or addiction. Intervention is tricky. However, changing your approach and attitude will help you and your loved one in the long run. Below are some examples of ways to proceed when unsure how to handle an alcoholic family member.

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1. Do Not Accept Unacceptable Behavior

Accepting unacceptable behavior usually starts with smaller episodes. Family members tend to brush off small incidents as “They just had too much to drink, that’s all.” However, over time,  alcohol abuse incidents can escalate, with family members continuing to accept what’s going on. This can ultimately lead to abusive relationships. Abuse is never okay and should not be tolerated. Make the conscious choice not to let even the slightest missteps fall to the wayside, especially if there are children involved.

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2. Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to Destructive Behavior

Never cover up your loved one’s drinking problem or make excuses for their behavior. Alcoholics typically don’t want anyone to know the extent of their addiction. Looking the other way only feeds into their denial game. The problem needs to be dealt with in an open and honest way, and the addict needs to take responsibility for their own actions.

3. Know That It’s Not Your Fault

A very important point to remember when unsure how to deal with an alcoholic close to you, is that 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 or feel guilty, 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.

4. Seek Support for Families of Alcoholics

While it may seem daunting to reach out for help, everyone can only gain. Millions have found refuge in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous [1]. You’ll realize that you aren’t alone and that others have been through and are going 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, and are able to offer real help and support.

5. 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 own 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, and help you work out how to cope with it yourself.

6. Don’t Accept Chaos

Some people can be addicted to the chaos involved in loving an alcoholic. Even when things are going well, they start accepting even more unacceptable behavior to shake it up. These toxic relationships are highly damaging. Disappearing for days, unanswered phone calls, broken promises, and broken plans are just some of the ways an alcoholic causes chaos in their life. The best thing to do is to set boundaries, diffuse arguments, and simply walk away.

7. Ensure You’re Not Enabling an Alcoholic

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 major consequences, like getting a DUI or losing relationships, that pushes an alcoholic to seek proper drug detox treatment.

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Summary: How to Deal With an Alcoholic Family Member

Despite the pain and frustration involved in an alcoholic’s life, this disease is treatable. However, treatment needs everyone’s participation and cooperation for it to succeed. By knowing and learning the best way to handle an alcoholic loved one in your life dealing with this addiction,, you’ll be helping to give them the best possible chance for a full healthy recovery.

If you have any questions at all, or are searching to start your path to sobriety, contact us now at Avenues Recovery or call us on 603-212-1778 .

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