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Loving an alcoholic: How to help them and yourself

Loving an alcoholic: How to help them and yourself

Are you worried about a loved one’s alcohol abuse? It may be challenging to hear, but they may be suffering from alcoholism.

Addiction is an illness – it isn’t their fault, and it isn’t yours.

It can be just as hard living with an alcoholic – you may be accused of being an enabler, and suffer social isolation, guilt and shame. In addition, we have seen how alcohol abuse can affect families – it can lead to marital complications, divorce, and custody battles.

The effects of your loved one’s alcohol abuse will spread to you too, and you may be in denial or blame yourself for their addiction. Of course, they are suffering, but you are too.

Do not suffer alone. Call us now for 24/7 support.

We are here to help you every step of the way.

The Executive Rehab Guide is dedicated to helping those affected by drugs or alcohol – not only the addicts but also their families and loved ones.

Signs your loved one is suffering.

Living with someone abusing alcohol or drugs often means a complete focus on their needs and recovery options.

Seeing the one, you love struggling with alcohol or substance abuse can be heartbreaking. But, sometimes, it can be hard to notice or accept that they have a problem.

Warning signs to look out for:

  • Secretive about going out – who they are going with, not inviting you
  • Disinterest in hobbies 
  • Regularly hungover, moody, feeling poorly
  • Irritable and easily angered
  • Secretive

What you need to do now

Living with someone who is suffering is hard enough, without the inevitable pressures, you will be putting on yourself.

We have compiled a list of 5 things you should do to help come to terms with their addiction, and to relieve the guilt and shame you may be feeling.

1. Stop blaming yourself or taking it personally

The first thing to do is to stop blaming yourself for your loved one’s suffering.

It is common for those abusing alcohol to blame their circumstances or the people around them.

Don’t believe this! If your loved one is an alcoholic, they will be drinking regardless of you, so try not to blame yourself for their illness.

It is also so easy to take their addiction personally, especially if they relapse after promising to stop. Remember that it is not because of you, but because they are dependent and not in control of their choices.

2. Don’t try to control it or cure it alone

helping a loved one

It is natural to think that you can help solve problems on your own, but you cannot control it, because often, the alcoholic can’t even control it.

By pushing them to stop or get help, you may be delaying the recovery process.

Alcohol addiction is a serious mental illness. There is nothing you will be able to do to fix it. Only with the intervention of medical professionals will you see positive changes.

You shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to cure it and help them through it alone.

3. Don’t add to the problem by hiding it

You need to accept what is happening.

Denial is a common problem for those suffering from substance dependency and those around them too – spouses, partners, children and other close family members.

Being open and accepting that they are suffering will be a step toward helping them.

Most spouses fuel the denial of an addict by making excuses for them, or not saying anything to others.

Openness and honesty is the best approach, not only when discussing the problem together, but during treatment and therapy too. This will give you and your spouse the best chance at recovering from the disease, together.

4. DON’T accept irresponsible behaviour

While it is essential to accept that your spouse has a problem, it is just as important not to accept unacceptable behaviour.

Being too tolerant and making excuses for their behaviour will put you in danger of an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

It doesn’t matter about the circumstance or situation. Abuse is not acceptable.

Time and time again, we have seen how those dependent on alcohol turn violent on their partners. Addiction takes away the person you once knew, and replaces them with a shell of their former selves in need of medical care.

Don’t settle for violence, or suffer in silence. Get help now.

5. DO seek help

Denial, in the same way as being overly pushy about getting help, will only delay the recovery process, and will worsen the situation.

Communication is key – be open and honest with your loved one.

How can I approach the topic of treatment?

  • Discuss and talk with your loved one
  • Listen to their responses
  • Decide on solutions together
  • Be realistic about your decisions
  • Support your loved one without enabling them
  • Check in on your collective progress

There are so many treatment options out there to help you and your loved one. See affordable private rehab solutions here.

Don’t suffer in silence, don’t feel alone

We are committed to helping you, whoever you are and whatever your problems.

If you are struggling or worried about a loved one, please get in touch today. Speak to admissions officer, Alison McManus, to get the advice you need on 0808 1150 446.


Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by