A woman shares her feelings about alcoholism with her loved one.

How to Live with a Recovering Alcoholic

You may have had sleepless nights thinking about the pain your loved one is going through with their alcoholism. It may have been difficult for you to accept and a challenge to find out what you should do next.

While it may feel like there’s nothing you can do, the truth is your love and determination can have a tremendous impact on your loved one’s recovery. The support of family and friends can help your addicted loved one conquer their addiction. Here are a few ways to ease the struggle with living with a recovering alcoholic and get your loved one the help they need.

1. Listen to Your Loved One

Listening does not require anything but opening yourself up to what your loved one has to say. Sometimes it can be hard to listen to what your loved one wants to tell you when you know they’ve justified hurting themselves in the past. However, it’s vital you listen to what they have to say because there might be hidden, painful reasons they decided to start drinking in the first place.
Listening can help you:

  • Find out why they are justifying their drinking. Oftentimes, alcoholics are in denial about having a problem and will have their reasons for drinking. Talking to them will help you discover why they started drinking in the first place and how to help them stay on the path to sobriety.
  • Help you resolve conflict. Oftentimes, you’ll end up fighting someone because you believe you know what’s best for them. However, by listening to their side of the situation, you will be able to understand their pain and work through a solution without baseless accusations.
  • Allow you to evaluate your own feelings and develop empathy. It’s hard to watch someone go through addiction because you may feel betrayed and stressed. However, speaking to your loved one will help you realize they are struggling and need to find a path to recovery.

2. Educate Yourself About Alcohol Addiction

Many people know alcoholism is harmful to their health. However, it’s important to learn the psychology and physical difficulties that comes along with it. Educating yourself about alcohol addiction will equip you with the knowledge you need to understand what is going on with your loved one physically, mentally and emotionally as they work through their recovery.

Here are a few ways you can educate yourself about alcoholism:

  • Go on the internet. There’s tons of credible resources available to people who want to learn about the causes and effects of alcoholism. Look for professional periodicals, research reports, and websites that specialize on the topic for the best information.
  • Talk to an expert. An expert from a rehab center or a professional psychologist will be able to answer any questions you may have about alcoholism. They have expert knowledge in the field and deal with people on a day-to-day basis who have similar behaviors to those struggling with alcoholism.
  • Rent Books or E-books on alcoholism. A book is a great way to learn about alcoholism from accredited professionals in the field. Spend some time each night reading or download audio versions to listen to the books while you’re driving.

3. Avoid Confrontation When Your Loved One is Drinking

There’s a great deal of guilt that comes along with being an alcoholic. When your loved one realizes their habits are affecting their health, financials and well-being, then you can approach them about the idea of change. One strategy is to wait until you find them trying to quit drinking to begin offering your support and advice.

Don’t be hostile or accuse your loved one of anything – especially if they’re in an intoxicated state of mind. It’s important to remain patient, wait until your loved one is sober and tell them your side of the story with love and care; hostility will only add to their guilt.

Working through alcoholism can be a challenge, but always let them know you are there for them if they need to talk. It can be hard to watch from the sidelines, but know that this endeavor is one your loved one needs to be willing to face.

4. Take Care of Yourself

It’s easy to get worked up about helping your loved one through their addiction. However, getting too wound up in the problem can cause you to stress out and potentially harm your relationship with them and the rest of your family.

When you feel like you’re pushing too hard or making a chaotic situation worse, take a few deep breaths and back away. Take some time to let your emotions calm down by focusing on your hobbies and leisurely activities, job or school and taking care of the rest of your family. When your loved one is ready to talk, they will let you know. You can even suggest family or group therapy if you’d like to help everyone say their piece about living with an alcoholic.

5. Set Boundaries and Do Not Enable

Sometimes when people go through addiction, they end harming more than just themselves. It’s important for you to affirm what your boundaries are and maintain them. You want your loved one to know what your position is and what you will (and won’t) tolerate during their path to recovery.

For example, if you want your loved one to be sober while in the house, hold them to it. If you don’t ever want to see them drinking and driving, revoke the car keys as soon as you catch them. If you find them drinking after you made your position clear, give the designated consequence and stick to it. If you don’t deliver the consequences, then your word is paper-thin and your loved one will continue to drink. Sometimes a way to get someone to change is to tell them no.

5. Understand That They Must Want This

Sometimes it’s hard to get someone to change their life. No matter what you say or do, you cannot force them to go through rehab and change. It must come inside of your loved one to take the first step towards recovery. You should support them when they decide to change and assist in any way you can.

Ranch Creek Recovery Has Outpatient Treatment

If your loved one is ready to break free from their struggle with addiction, Ranch Creek Recovery is here for you. We offer an outpatient rehab program that is designed to help your loved one maintain their normal routine while recovering from alcohol addiction. Through our holistic approach, we’re ready to help your loved one take back control of their life and put addiction behind them.

Contact us today or call us at 877.997.8931.