Many alcoholics admit that the beginning of their addiction was an ordinary way to kill negative feelings related to failure, stress in everyday life, or problems in relationships with loved ones. Unfortunately, many of them fall into addiction almost unconsciously, increasing their doses over time and not feeling the negative effects their alcoholism has on the environment.
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More frequent quarrels with the family, lack of a sense of responsibility for their mistakes, weaker disposition at work and professional life, financial problems. Alcohol can lead to many problems not only for the addict himself, but for his whole family. However, how to help an addicted person from the immediate environment?
The Alcoholic In The Family – What Is Codependency About?
It is normal human instinct to worry about the safety and health of a loved one who has become addicted to alcohol, but in the long run it leads to a serious problem – co-addiction. Many families in which alcoholism is present will not be able to cut themselves off from the addicted loved one and, consequently, will suffer from it.
Shame in front of one’s own friends and the environment, a sense of responsibility for the addiction, experiencing psychological (and often physical) violence, uncertainty for each new day, feeling of helplessness, loss of control over one’s own life, lack of strength for further struggle – all of the above symptoms appear in families addicted people on the agenda. If, instead of fighting, you give up and adapt to a destructive, harmful lifestyle with an alcoholic, you will become a codependent person.
How To Help An Addicted Person In The Company Of Relatives?
The main problem of addicted families is not that they are not aware of the addiction of their loved one, but the powerlessness they feel about alcohol addiction. Addicts often do not acknowledge their situation and, preoccupied with their own internal struggle, do not want to hear about treatments, therapies, AA meetings, or even family pleas to stop drinking.
Unfortunately, when trying to deal with the problem of alcoholism in a loved one, we often resort to statements and conversation techniques that in practice may harm and further aggravate the existing conflict on the basis of addiction. So what is worth saying and what statements are worth paying attention to?
Call alcoholism by its name. Admitting illness is often the hardest stage of addiction for an alcoholic. The problem here is even noticing the disease in front of itself, therefore a family that sees the problem and tries to fight it should always refer directly to alcoholism, not using the terms “greater attraction to alcohol” or “too frequent drinking”.
Such situations will create conflicts, it is inevitable, but ignoring the problem is only a way of prolonging everyone’s suffering. Even if the alcoholic does not see his addiction as a problem, he must be called what he is – alcoholism that needs to be treated.
Not making excuses for the alcoholic. Attempts to control the addict’s behavior, meetings with friends, organizing their time or enforcing promises of sobriety and blackmailing them with departure or other consequences in fact rarely result and much more often are only the cause of conflict, further breakdown of the family and, what is worse, often make them feel guilty for the addiction by people in the family, not the addict himself.
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The alcoholic should not be excused because there are no people who are biologically forced to drink – falling into addiction is not the fault of the family, because the alcoholic had a choice and when looking for a solution, he reached for alcohol.
It is also not worth lecturing, asking or blackmailing an addicted person, especially when they are under the influence. It is much better to talk calmly and soberly about what happened while the person was under the influence and how those around him felt as a result. It’s not much, but it often stimulates the imagination better than any threats.
When All Methods Fail – Specialist Help For Alcoholics
In practice, only a very small group of people addicted to alcohol or other stimulants can deal with the problem on their own. In most cases, however, outside help will be necessary and it is worth deciding on it as soon as possible.
Convincing your loved one to treat alcoholism will not be easy, but conversations supported by support and firm opposition to drinking may bring the desired effect. As a family of an addicted person, it is also worth going to a therapy for close alcoholics.