Living with an alcoholic
WHAT IS ALCOHOLISM?
We don’t hear about alcohol addiction as much as we do drug addiction, and maybe that is because drinking has become an acceptable social activity within society in recent years.
However, that does not mean that it should be forgotten about. It affects a lot more people than you think, and also the people surrounding them.
Alcohol addiction is when somebody abuses the use of alcohol. When drinking alcohol starts to affect their life in a negative way. When you think of an alcoholic, you tend to think of a stumbling drunk mess, however that is not always the case. An alcoholic can be absolutely anyone, and sometimes it is not always noticeable straight away.
HOW TO SPOT THAT YOUR LOVED ONE IS AN ALCOHOLIC.
Living with an alcoholic can be an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.
Their unpredictable behaviour can create problems. One minute they can be absolutely fine and things seem to be under control, but when the alcohol takes over, that’s when things can spiral out of control. Unfortunately, nobody knows when this is going to happen, which is why it can cause some serious problems.
Emotional and physical abuse can be a lot more common when alcohol is involved. Alcohol can make people more aggressive, especially if arguments are happening often. Alcohol removes any self-control, which can then in turn lead to the abuse.
You will start to notice that things seem a lot more chaotic at home, and regular everyday things are starting to become hard work. As the alcoholic cares less and less about the things surrounding them, more responsibility will be put onto the partner.
You might start to notice your partner lying a lot. This could be anything from the amount in which they are drinking, to where they have been. This is actually quite common amongst alcoholics. They tend to hide how much they are drinking, and sometimes try to hide the fact they are drinking at all.
HOW TO HELP AN ALCOHOLIC.
If you notice a loved one of your is drinking too much, you might be thinking about the best ways in which you can help them. This is not always the easiest situation to approach, however, and you have to make sure you do it right, otherwise it can backfire.
Facing the problem together is important. The addict needs to know they are not alone with it. Alcoholics are often in denial and find it hard to accept they even have a problem. They might initially be angry or upset with you for suggesting it, but try not to take any reactions personally, and keep persevering, without pressuring them too much in one go. At the end of the day, you cannot force them to get treatment, but you can offer support, help and love.
Once they admit it and decide to get treatment, it is likely that they will feel ashamed or humiliated, which are both natural reactions. You have to show them that you are not ashamed of them and keep encouraging them that they are doing the right thing.
Be there for them, but remember you are not their counsellor. Most of the time alcoholism needs professional help, so try to encourage them to seek help in that direction.
Use positive language, and avoid harsh criticism. Try to avoid making judgement and using words such as ‘alcoholic.’
Choose your time to speak to them about the issue wisely. Do it when you are both in a good, positive mood, in a calm, relaxing environment.
Make sure you do your research beforehand, and ensure you know as much information as possible, so that you can offer them all the right facts and advice on what they can do, and where they can go to get the support they need.
The first step is focusing on helping them get the treatment they need. Once they start treatment, and stop drinking, they will require support all through the recovery process. Support is very important throughout. Knowing they have people there encouraging them will help make the journey easier
This could be supporting them by just being there for them whilst they receive treatment, or it could mean attending meetings with them, and actually participating in their recovery process. It could also be other things, such as removing all alcohol from the home, not drinking in front of them etc.
Trying to stop drinking without a professional medical alcohol detox can actually be dangerous for the individual. There can be some horrible side-effects during the withdrawal process, which is why seeking professional help is the best option.
The emotional side of the detox needs to be dealt with as thoroughly as the physical, which is exactly what a rehab centre can provide. The quality of the staff and the centre itself are hugely important.
Peer support is as important as individual counselling. Talking amongst like-minded people makes it that little bit easier for them. Those dealing with the feelings of failure, shame and guilt will start to understand that they are not alone, and realise that there are people around them with the same, or similar problems.
It can be difficult to choose the right rehab, which is what we are here to help with. We can discuss the individual’s situation in full depth, and work out exactly the right rehab for them. Working with some of the best rehabilitation centres in the UK, we can guide you in the right direction and team you up with the best centre to suit yours and their needs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF?
We understand that living with an alcoholic can affect you as much as it does them. Whereas sometimes they don’t see the problem, sadly you do, and watching them deteriorate and ruin their life is not easy.
Family and friends can be severely affected from their choices, and you might also require some kind of support. There are places which can provide you with the support you need to be able to deal with your loved ones drinking problems.
There are all different ways in which you might be affected. Please note that it is not just physical abuse which can be problematic. You could be affected on emotional, mental or material levels too. Living with an alcoholic can put a huge strain on the people around them, especially if you feel as though you cannot help.
You might start to feel guilt. Alcohol addicts are very good at passing the blame onto somebody else, and can even make you think the reason they have turned to drink is because of you. Please know that is not the case and it is the alcohol talking. If your loved one is an alcoholic, they are going to drink no matter what you do and say. It is not your fault. They have become reliant on alcohol, and nothing is going to get between them and their addiction.
Try not to take things personally. When a lot of alcohol is consumed, the control to make decisions goes out of the window. A lot of the time, it will be the alcohol taking, especially if you say something they don’t want to hear. Alcohol consumption can lead to aggressive behaviour, which wouldn’t necessarily happen if there was no alcohol involved.
Covering up for your loved one might have become a common occurrence, and may make it quite daunting to go to a support group to discuss it. However, there have been millions of cases where close friends and family members have sought out solutions to help themselves inside those meetings. If you are struggling with a loved one’s alcohol addiction, it is definitely something whichyou should look in to.
As I am sure you are fully aware, living with an alcoholic is not always plain-sailing. Even after they have decided to get help, relapses are common. It is important to remember that there are many alcohol addicts who have made a full recovery, and have taken control of their addiction successfully. If for any reason they do relapse, you just have to support and encourage them to try again. It is an ongoing process, but with the support and encouragement from yourself, the people around them and the rehabilitation centres, it is a definite possibility, and will be completely worth it in the end.
Give us a call today on 0203 955 7700 so we can help point you in the right direction.