Living with an alcoholic
Medical and psychological support is essential to help solve the difficult problem of alcoholism in the family.
The daily dealings with addicts and family members make us establish definitions that, although they are not always true, in most cases, they are not wrong. We usually say that every alcoholic is witty and seductive, and we also recognize in most spouses or couples of alcoholics, great strength, solidarity, patience, and loyalty that, in most cases, is betrayed by the addict.
The last to find out about their addiction is the addict and when they find out, he has already caused a long chain of damage in his environment, and those who live with him, have exhausted the resources available to achieve the improvement of the patient.
Here are some comments that will help you, if you think you are an alcoholic or your partner is a victim of alcoholism.
1.- Alcoholism is a real disease over which there is no control. It affects all those who maintain a close relationship with the patient. The causes of alcoholism are not in the weakness of character, immorality, or the desire to hurt others but in problems that can range from educational, psychological, environmental, or family.
Research about this disease documents countless cases in which the total recovery of the addict and that of the relatives (coaddicts) has been achieved through self-help programs based on the twelve steps of AA and in the alternative programs for family members (Al-Anon, Al-Ateen, Adult Children of Alcoholics Codependents Anonymous).
Once the alcoholic has accepted the idea that alcoholism is a disease, of which compulsive drinkers and those who care for them can find relief, there is no reason to feel ashamed of alcoholism, nor reason to fear it, The important thing is to look for the solution.
2.- It is very important to inform yourself and erase everything you think you know about alcoholism so that you can start learning the program. You will find information based on research and experiences. Read all you can on the subject. Ask for a list of books, look for them, and read them preferably as a family.
Attending AA open meetings will get direct information from recovering alcoholics. They are not afraid to attend meetings, nor do they feel strange. Talk to members after meetings. Talk about your difficulties with the people you meet there.
3.-Seek help now. Do not wait for the alcoholic to seek help before making a decision for your own benefit.
4.- Some things that should not be done when the alcoholic is drinking, to avoid violence and other problems, are:
– Don’t treat him like a child.
– Don’t watch him to know how much he drinks.
– Don’t look for the hidden liquor.
– Do not throw the liquor; He will always find more.
– Don’t lecture him about the drink.
– Never argue with him while he is drunk.
– Do not preach, reproach, threaten, punish, scold, or quarrel the alcoholic.
The alcoholic suffers from a feeling of guilt, greater than we can imagine.
Reminding of failures, abandonment of family and friends, and faults is a useless effort that will only worsen the situation. It is useless to say “if you wanted me”, to promise, to coerce or threaten. Alcoholism is obsessive by nature and cannot be controlled with willpower, or with the love of a couple or family.
Sometimes a crisis allows the alcoholic to “bottom out”; You can convince the alcoholic of your need for help (job loss, accidents, arrests). Avoid excessive care at those times. The crisis can be a trigger for recovery. Do not do anything to prevent the crisis from happening. Do not pay your checks without funds, or overdue bills, or apologize to the boss. The suffering you are trying to soften with such actions may be what the alcoholic needs to realize the seriousness of his situation.
As they say, there is no harm that for good does not come.