More than 43 percent of Americans have one or more family members struggling with alcoholism. That’s a staggering number! An even greater number have a friend or a significant other who struggles with alcohol. The reality is that the majority of us have at least one person in our life who has a problem with alcohol. While it’s certainly common, many people do not have the skill set to appropriately cope with a loved one who has alcoholism.
The following are a few strategies to help minimize the stress, anxiety and conflict which often go hand-in-hand with dealing with an alcoholic friend or family member.
Tips To Cope When A Loved One Is An Alcoholic
1. Don’t Play The Blame Game
It’s a common family dynamic to place blame when a family member develops an addiction. Yes, it’s easy to point fingers at those who played a role in the problem. However, the reality is that there is never one sole cause for an addiction to develop. Often, it’s a combination of environmental, hereditary and emotional factors.
Advice: Rather than spend time determining who is to blame, it’s wiser to work together to get help for the loved one who is struggling with the problem.
2. Learn The Difference Between Help And Enabling
It is an incredible symbol of love and support to help guide and encourage a loved one to get help for an alcohol problem. Yet, the act of providing money, shelter, food, legal help or other forms of support that only perpetuate the addiction is not a healthy, productive way to offer help. In fact, it can make the problem worse by delaying the start of addiction treatment.
Advice: Set clear boundaries so that the alcoholic in your life clearly understands how you can help if they are open to getting treatment and what you are unwilling to do until they get the help they need.
3. Join A Support Group
Dealing with an alcoholic is not something to struggle with alone. It can be draining, frustrating and incredibly upsetting. This is specifically why support groups such as Al-Anon were established. In a group setting, you’ll not only gain the advantage of hearing how others are coping with problems that are similar to those you are facing, you’ll also have the opportunity to open up and vent your personal challenges.
Advice: Check out a few different groups to find one where you feel most at home. You can search for an Al-Anon support group near you, here.
5. Take Care Of Yourself
It can seem all encompassing to care for an alcoholic. However, you need to ensure your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are kept strong so that you can weather through this difficult time. Make it a point to get regular exercise, restorative sleep, healthy meals and downtime with friends who are positive and upbeat. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better positioned to manage the day-to-day challenges of dealing with an alcoholic.
Advice: Set aside time each day for self-care and be proud of taking this very healthy action. It shouldn’t take long for you to notice a positive change within yourself.
Are They Ready To Get Help?
Do you have a loved one who is struggling with alcoholism? The time for alcohol addiction treatment is now. With each day, their addiction gets worse. Serenity at Summit will treat your loved one with the respect and care that they deserve.