Top Tips for Dealing with a Loved One's Alcohol
When dealing with a loved one's alcohol abuse, it is a good idea to
Alcoholism is a painful disease that inevitably affects the entire family. In fact, alcoholism is often referred to as a "family disease" because of the toll it takes on everyone surrounding the person who is drinking.Dealing with a loved one's alcohol problem can be an emotional rollercoaster. Whether it's a spouse, parent, sibling or friend - you may be struggling with a number of painful emotions such as shame, anger, confusion, embarrassment, self-blame, hopelessness, and like you are all alone. The problem may be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. You might be afraid to trigger the alcoholic and so you start walking on egg shells when they're around. Many people dealing with a loved one's drinking will try to find ways to overcompensate – trying to make their loved one happy or proud, or taking over the alcoholic's responsibilities. Others retreat into isolation, never talking about what they really feel or experience.In the long run, denying that there is a problem or trying to personally manage the problem tends to do more harm than good. If you are struggling with someone else's drinking, it is vital that you get support and take care of yourself because the truth is that only the alcoholic can help him or herself.Recovery from addiction is a personal journey that the alcoholic must want to take. But you can take care of yourself, and it starts by recognizing that someone else's drinking is NOT Your Fault and it is not a problem that you can fix.You may not be able to change the alcoholic, but you can show up and take responsibility for your own life. You can detach from the alcoholic by stopping with the secret keeping or telling lies on their behalf.One supportive and free resource to help you cope with someone else's drinking is Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a 12-Step program where people who are affected by someone else's drinking come together for support. In many parts of the country there are meetings just for teens, and this program is called AlateenPeople who attend Al-Anon find that it helps them to understand and deal with addiction, it helps to maintain a positive attitude, people feel accepted and supported by the group, and they experience a safe place where they can confide their true thoughts and feelings.If Al-Anon isn't right for you, I hope you will find someone you feel comfortable talking with such as a supportive family member, a therapist or counselor, a clergy person or friend. I hope you will try to keep the focus on yourself and engage in activities that make you happy.