10 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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It might be hard to know what to do if you are attached to someone who suffers from alcohol use disorder (AUD). You want to reduce stress and frustration while also supporting your dear one and tending to your own needs. You may feel helpless to make any changes.

You are the only person who can alter the current trajectory of your contacts with someone who has an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

You may put the problem in a fresh perspective by changing your attitude and approach toward it, so it no more controls your ideas and life. Realizing that you have the capacity to make this transformation is liberating in some ways.

Here are some basic things you may do to help ease the stress and, in certain situations, better assist your loved one in beginning their road to recovery.

To begin, a word about terminology: While “alcoholic” is a common term, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests using the phrase “person with alcohol use disorder” to be more accurate and reduce stigma.

The term “alcohol use disorder” (AUD) refers to a medical problem that might be mild, moderate, or severe.

Get Rid of Your Guilt

It’s normal for somebody with AUD to try and blame their alcoholism on their surroundings or others, including family and friends. “The only reason I drink is because of you…” they frequently say.

Don’t fall for it. If your dear one is actually addicted to alcohol, they will drink regardless of what you say or do. It’s not because of you.

Don’t take anything too personally.

It’s easy to take unfulfilled lies and promises personally when somebody with an alcohol addiction claims they’ll never consume alcohol again but then returns to drinking as much as before. “If they truly loved me, they would just not lie to me,” you could think. 

However, if your close one has grown dependent on alcohol, their neurochemistry may have evolved to the point where some of their decisions come as a total surprise to them. They might not be in charge of their own choices.

Recognize when it’s time to take a step back.

Most family members of people who are addicted to alcohol try anything they can to get their nearest and dearest to stop drinking. Sadly, this frequently leaves those relatives feeling alone and frustrated.

You may convince yourself that there must be something you can do. However, no matter how hard a person tries, they will never be able to control their drinking.

You can sometimes allow a crisis to occur. Even if your dear one is in the midst of a crisis, you may want to assist them. A crisis, on the other hand, is frequently the period when you should just stay calm and do nothing. When somebody hits a crisis point, they may finally admit to themselves that they have an issue and begin to seek help. 

If friends or relatives rush in to “rescue” the individual from the problem, it may cause the person to delay seeking treatment.

It’s tough for those who care about someone who is struggling with addiction to sit aside and watch the disaster unfold. It can be hard to accept that the greatest part they can do in the scenario is nothing when they receive a DUI, lose their job, or go to jail as a result of their substance abuse.

You don’t have to start a crisis, but mastering dissociation will help you accept one when it occurs—a catastrophe that may be the only way to bring about change.

Recognize the fact that they will need outside support.

Substance abuse is a primary, progressive, and chronic disease that can be fatal in some cases. Your loved one will almost certainly require outside assistance, regardless of your experience or skills.

Remember that someone who is addicted to alcohol usually goes through several phases before they are prepared to change.

Any activities you do to “help” someone quit will almost always be met with resistance until they start considering quitting.

It’s important to remember that it’s not your job to “fix” their AUD. You just so happen to be in love with someone who will almost certainly require expert help to recover their health. It is their obligation, not yours, to take care of this.

Counseling, medication, and support groups are options for AUD treatment.

Accepting Unacceptable Behavior Is Not An Option

Accepting undesirable behavior frequently starts with a minor occurrence that you dismiss by saying, “They just drank too much.” However, the behavior may deteriorate slightly the next time and then get worse. You can find yourself accepting more and more undesirable behavior over time. You may find yourself in a full-fledged abusive relationship before you realize it.

Abuse should never be tolerated. In your life, you do not have to put up with bad behavior. You have a number of options.

If you have children, it’s also crucial to keep them safe from bad behavior. Do not put up with nasty or derogatory remarks directed at them. These remarks can have a long-term impact on a child’s mental health.

Protect your children, and don’t be afraid to keep them away from anyone who drinks and doesn’t follow your rules. Growing up in an alcoholic household can leave wounds that last a lifetime.

Set realistic goals for yourself.

When it comes to someone with an addiction, what may appear to be a legitimate expectation in other circumstances may be completely unrealistic. You could trust your loved ones when they pledge to you and to themselves that they will never touch another drop of alcohol.

However, for someone who is addicted to alcohol, that expectation may be unrealistic. It may be unreasonable to expect someone to be honest with you if they are incapable of being honest with themselves.

Keep your attention on the present.

The key to dealing with alcoholism in the family is to keep your attention on the current circumstance. Alcoholism is a sickness that worsens over time. It doesn’t hit a plateau and stay there for long; instead, it worsens until the individual with an alcohol issue seeks help.

Allowing past disappointments and failures to influence your choices now is a bad idea—circumstances have most likely changed.

Enabling them to continue their behavior is not a good idea.

In treatment circles, there’s a stereotype about an addict in denial yelling, “I don’t have an issue, therefore don’t tell anyone!” Someone with AUD usually doesn’t want us to know how much alcohol they consume because if they did, they could want to help.

If members of the family try to “assist” by covering up for their loved one’s drinking and finding excuses for them, they are winning directly into the denial game. This is nothing more than enabling. The best strategy is to deal with the problem openly and honestly.

When well-intentioned loved ones try to “help,” they often end up doing something that allows someone who is addicted to alcohol to remain on their terrible path.  Make certain you’re not encouraging their denial or preventing them from accepting the inevitable repercussions of their conduct.

What happens if you enable them? The exact answer varies depending on the circumstances, but two things usually happen: they rarely feel the pain, and it diverts attention away from their actions.

Only you experience the pain if your dear one passes out in the backyard and you gently help them inside the house and into bed. Instead of focusing on what they did, the focus shifts to what you did (moved them).

Conversely, if you do nothing at all and they start waking up on the lawn with neighbors peering through the window and coming into the property while you and the kids are blissfully eating breakfast, they will be left to deal with the consequences of their own actions.

In other words, the attention shifts from your reaction to their behavior. They will only feel compelled to change once they have experienced their own sorrow.

As a result of the natural repercussions, you may decide not to spend any time with the alcoholic. This choice is neither cruel nor unkind. It’s a measure of self-preservation.

It is not your responsibility to “fix” your dear one’s drinking habits, but letting possible outcomes occur can help a person move from the pre-contemplative to the contemplative stages of recovery.

Although the reflective stage ends with the choice to change, more processes such as preparedness, engagement, and later management and relapse are frequently required until the addiction is under control.

Don’t put off seeking assistance for yourself.

It may seem frightening to seek help for a loved one if you have been trying to cover up for them and not speaking about their problem freely for a long time. It’s also crucial to make sure you are getting the help you require. Lean on your friends and family for support, and if necessary, seek out a mental health expert to discuss your stress and what you are going through.

When you have someone in your life who has a problem with alcohol, a support group like Al-Anon Family Groups can be a great assistance.

The group might provide you with encouragement and social support from others who are going through similar experiences.

It can be exhausting and stressful to live with an alcoholic who is in denial. The individual may deny having an alcohol problem, be unwilling to admit their damaging actions, or sincerely believe they are not addicted to alcohol. However, it’s likely that their alcohol problem is having a bad effect on their health and the health of those close to them.

Here, we offer advice on some effective measures and information that you can utilize to help an alcoholic in denial.

  • Find out everything you can about the clinical symptoms of alcoholism.
  • Talk to the person about their alcoholism in an open and transparent way.
  • Define your parameters.
  • Make sure you take care of yourself as well.
  • Assist the individual in receiving the medical attention they require.

When someone you care about plainly participates in hazardous drinking or drug use and fails to admit it or refuses to take treatment, it can be tough to cope. It’s probable that when people are in denial, they don’t recognize their drinking as a problem. It can be helpful to let the person comprehend the repercussions of their behavior and what might happen if they don’t seek help. Start educating yourself on the hazards of harmful alcohol use, as well as therapy and rehab options, so that when the time comes, you can share this detail with your loved one in a kind and helpful manner. It’s critical to understand the reasons why your loved one or friend refuses to get treatment. The following are some possible reasons:

  • Denial
  • The Treatment Costs
  • Embarrassment and Stigmas of Addiction 

If you have discussed treatment with your loved one and they refuse to go, you might want to consider establishing limitations and boundaries in your relationship. Even if you talk to your loved one about rehab and they say they don’t want to go, you can still look into rehab clinics for them in case they change their minds. You might consider telling the person you won’t necessarily make any more excuses for them due to their alcoholism, or abstaining from calling your loved one’s workplace to inform them of their sick day (and they have just passed out or hungover from excessive drinking). Set clear expectations and boundaries, but don’t impose any penalties that you don’t intend to follow through on.

Investigate and educate yourself.

When it comes time to cope with the effects of addiction, knowing the trends and behaviors might help you be mentally prepared. The more information you have the better prepared you will be. We strongly recommend family members get therapy or start attending Al-Anon sessions to cope with the stress of caring for a loved one who suffers from alcoholism.

Organize an intervention.

This may appear to be a drastic move, but when a specialist is engaged and the procedure is carried out in a systematic and concise manner, intervention can be effective in bringing an addict out of denial. Bring along friends and family who care about the person, as well as a clinician who knows how to aid an alcoholic.

Refer them to a professional who can assist them with their drug addiction.

After a verbal intervention, it’s a great time to move to the next level and provide a survey or treatment alternatives to a loved one who is battling alcoholism. This will entail locating an addiction treatment center in your area that can provide a variety of services to help your loved ones obtain the treatment they need to live a stable and sober life in recovery.

Alcoholism is a major health problem of the 21st century. It has long-lasting effects on many organs like the liver and brain. Prompt and precise treatment with effective medically monitored detox is the way forward to get rid of alcoholism.

Luxury treatment programs for alcoholism have high-level expertise in treating alcoholics. The high staff-to-patient ratio enables to closely monitor each and every patient. Safe medical detox and management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms are offered by some of the renowned clinicians in the country. 

In addition to the high standard of medical care, the high-end facilities have the amenities of a 5-star resort. These include luxurious private accommodation, a swimming pool, sauna, hot tubs, fitness centers with dedicated personal trainers, and chef-prepared gourmet meals. Celebs, athletes, high-ranked officials, and executives can have absolute confidentiality, secrecy, and privacy while staying at these premium facilities for their rehab.

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, contact us today to start your journey of healing from alcoholism.

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