Alcoholism is called a “family disease” because it affects the drinker and everyone close to the drinker. Living with an alcoholic is tumultuous and tiring. Family members often find themselves just as involved with the disease as the alcoholic. Follow these steps to help make living with an alcoholic as easy as possible.
Take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to make sure that you are alright. You can’t help your loved one with alcoholism if you aren’t operating at 100 percent. Your health is a priority.
Accept that it’s not your fault. You cannot control anyone else’s behavior and this is especially true of alcoholics. You can’t make a person stop drinking. You can’t force a person into recovery.
Learn about the disease. Understanding the nature of alcoholism will help you cope with the affects of your loved one’s problem. Read literature to learn the ideal role for you to play in that person’s potential recovery.
Seek help. There are support groups available for people in your position. Consult your local chapters of Alanon or Alateen. Speak with a counselor or a clergy person about your concerns. You don’t have done it alone.
Allow the disease to take its course. This is likely the most difficult step, but you have to stop enabling your alcoholic. Stop cleaning up the person’s messes. Don’t police your loved one’s drinking. Take a nonjudgmental but firm stance. An alcoholic needs to hit bottom in order to desire change.
Be patient. It is difficult to watch your loved one’s life be destroyed, but resist the urge to step in. Be there when your alcoholic is ready to recover, but don’t allow the disease to consume you too.