15 Tips for Living with an Alcoholic
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, around 86 percent of people 18 or older use alcohol. Of these people, around 7 percent will have an alcohol use disorder. Although 7 percent might not seem like much, it does mean that chances are you will encounter someone with alcohol use disorder.
It is possible that you will wind up living with one. Alcoholism is extremely hard on the people who are around the alcoholic. Fortunately, there are some things that can help you deal with the alcoholism without ruining your relationship.
1. Do Not Try to Discuss their Addiction when they are Drunk
Discussing something as serious as addiction is not possible with someone who is impaired. It will only start an argument. The last thing you want to do is argue with a person that is drunk. The arguments can turn violent very quickly.
2. Avoid using Negativity to get them to Change their Behavior
Negative reinforcement and nagging do not work to help someone change their behavior. The more that pressure someone the more likely they are to go the opposite direction.
3. Stop Blaming yourself and Do Not Let the Alcoholic Blame you Either
Blaming yourself is futile, as is allowing them to blame you for their problem. Many alcoholics will try to divert the blame to you. Their choices are never your fault.
4. It is Not About you, Do Not try to Make it About you
Just like blaming yourself or allowing them to blame you, you cannot personalize their addiction. The truth is it is their addiction and really has nothing to do with you other than you are around them.
5. Get Out Without the Alcoholic
Having your own life away from the alcoholism is extremely important. It helps you distance yourself from the disease. It is healthy to get out without the disease following you.
6. Set Some Boundaries and Keep Them
The person you are with is an alcoholic, they need boundaries. You cannot let them take what you are not willing to give, setting boundaries helps to prevent this.
7. Do Not Cover for The Addict
The mistakes of the alcoholic are the alcoholics alone and do not reflect on you. There is no reason for you to constantly cover up what they are doing. Not covering for them might also lead them to seek treatment.
8. Make Sure that you Protect Yourself if the Alcoholic Becomes Violent
Alcoholics are often violent. There is no reason for you to be abused. If you are in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic get out until they agree to seek treatment. There are domestic violence organizations that help people in this situation.
9. Find your Own Support Network
You need a support network of people who you can talk to about the alcoholism. This network can be made up of your friends and family or you can join a support community such as Al-anon. A support network should consist of people that you can turn to when you need to about the alcoholism and your feelings. It is important that they are nonjudgmental and listen to what you are feeling.
10. Do Not Drink Too Much Because of Them
Drinking too much because of the person who is an alcoholic will lead you to become an alcoholic yourself. Try to avoid keeping up with the alcoholic when they are drinking, it will not help you understand them any better.
11. Try to Keep a Loving Home Despite the Alcoholism
If there are other people in your home, do not cater just to the alcoholic. Treat the alcoholic as you would any other member of your family. Invite them to the same events and exclude them from the same things that you exclude other family members from. This keeps the alcoholic from being isolated and makes them more likely to seek treatment.
12. Talk about the Alcoholism in an Open Manner
Do not hide the fact that the person in your home is an alcoholic. If the discussion warrants it, discuss alcohol or alcoholism normally. Avoid being too emotional about it but do not hide the fact that they are on alcohol or drugs from anyone either.
13. Do Not ask the Alcoholic to Make Important Decisions when you Know they are Drunk
If someone is drunk then they should not be making any important decisions, their thought processes and judgment are impaired. They can easily make a major mistake if they make the decision at all. The action is often futile and can cause an emotional outburst.
14. Find things to do with the Alcoholic that Do Not Involve Alcohol
Doing things that do not include alcohol encourages the alcoholic to slow down on their drinking. This helps them have a chance to experience fun that does not involve alcohol. This does not mean that you can expect the alcoholic to be completely sober when you go, it just means that you are in a place where they do not serve alcohol, doing an activity that does not involve alcohol.
15. Encourage the Addict to get the Help that they Need
Even though talking to them when they are drunk is a bad idea, you do need to make your desire for them to get treatment known. Whenever possible encourage them to get the treatment that they need. For more information on treatment for alcoholism or drug use call 800-683-3270. We can help.