Tag Archives: living with an alcoholic

confronting an alcoholic

Confronting the Alcoholic in Your Life

When confronting a person about their drinking, be sure to do it in a loving way. Don’t yell and accuse or threaten the person. Tell them that you are concerned about their drinking and that you are afraid that they may have a problem. After you confront the person about their drinking, they may try to control it. If you are still bothered by it, it is important that you do something to help yourself. You do not want to enable them or become obsessed with their drinking. Oftentimes, the alcoholic doesn’t want help. It is important that you get help for you and the rest of the family.

When the time is right, make it clear that you are always there to talk about his problems and possibly find a solution with him. In that conversation, you will have to try to motivate the drinker to change his situation. There are a few important items related to this:

1. Make the drinker feel positive about himself. Many drinkers think very negatively about themselves and find themselves useless. Don’t reproach, but give compliments about the things that do go right and the reasons why you love them and want to support them.

2. Take away the prejudices about treatment, such as the idea that people are always hospitalized, that therapy only consists of talking, or that others will judge him.

3. Give the drinker a perspective. Examples you can use are that he will have more money if he doesn’t drink, that he will have better contact with his family, that he will have better health, a better chance for a job, etc.

4. Listen also to possible problems that make the person keep drinking, but indicate that drinking will not solve these, but only make them worse.

5. If he doesn’t want to be helped or cannot be helped, ask him what needs to happen to convince him to get treatment.

Be ready to help. Collect information on various methods of treatment. If an alcoholic agrees to treatment you will have done the research and be ready to discuss options with him.

Why is he an alcoholic?

“Why?” is a meaningless question. No husband, wife or child have ever made their loved one an alcoholic – the alcoholic does it all by him/herself. The alcoholic may keep telling you its your fault but it’s not!  However, you may contribute deepening and strengthening the addiction. This is called ‘enabling’.

Below, is some advice I found from Al-Anon (an organisation for relatives of alcoholics, that collaborates with AA) which I found very helpful;

  1. Don´t try to control your alcoholic, no one can. You will feel a lot better when you stop trying.
  2. Do not take over his or her responsibilities – the alcoholic might begin to grow up when they have to take full responsibility for their addiction and the problem it causes.
  3. Refuse to be a victim – that role is equally destructive as the role of the alcoholic.
  4. Think more about yourself – take more responsibility for yourself and the other non-addicted people around you.
  5. Refuse to be an “enabler” for continued abuse through comforting the alcoholic, calling their job, to lie etc. Instead you should say “That´s your responsibility!”
  6. Don´t protect your alcoholic from the consequences of his/her drinking. “Pain is the biggest gift” – many alcoholics are not willing to do anything about the alcohol problem before they reach the bottom. If you protect an alcoholic from the pain you delay the recovery.

The only person any of us ever actually can hope to change is ourselves. If there is a change, relationships with other people will, with all certainty, also change. To change means that you will experience something new, different and unknown. Because of that we all are afraid of changes in some degree. If you accept the condition that the only person, in the problematic relation you can change is you, and that you are willing to actually make an effort in order to change, you have the power to change the direction of your life radically. The following six stages are fundamental when you want to liberate yourself from the destructive aspects of living with an addictive person:

  1. Stop taking responsibility for what your addictive relative or friend does. As long as you make it easy for the alcoholic to drink in an irresponsible manner, through cleaning up the tracks and carrying out his/her duties, you cannot begin to grow and change the way you want to.
  2. Stop letting yourself be abused, both physically and mentally by your alcoholic friend or partner. To let yourself be abused means that you strengthen the feeling of indignation, but it also brings insufficient personal strength, dignity and self-respect. Therefore, it is time for you to stop being a punchbag. Each time the alcoholic tries to abuse you, you must act, in one way or another, to prevent this abuse (even if it means that you have to go to the police or staying out of those situations).
  3. Get a life outside the addictive relationship. You need to break free from the isolation that the alcoholic has put you in. In order to feel better, do interesting things, have fun – try to change despite the fact that you´ve chosen to continue living with the alcoholic – you have to live your life another way. Do things together with others or on your own.
  4. Find and preserve new relationships. In close relation to stage three, is the requirement that you begin to develop new relationships. This can be particularly difficult since it requires that you take initiatives on your own. You must meet and get to know new people. You probably also will be forced to revaluate your bonds with old friends, relatives and family. Organisations like Al-Anon can be an excellent starting point in your search for new friends who are willing to share their strength, their understanding and their sympathy.
  5. Improve your physical shape. Constructive change must include that you protect your physical health and well-being. That means, among other thing, diet, exercise and hygiene.
  6. Make changes every day. It is important that you work with the five previous stages every day in order to get any results. It will take time and energy, but it´s worth it in the long run.

Good luck and take care of yourself.

alcoholism as a trap

Am I An Alcoholic?

How Do You Know The Person is an Alcoholic? What I believe is that if drink is causing a problem for other people then the person has a drink problem. When my husband went into rehab they gave him a questionaire which was supposed to assess if he had a drink problem, but the questions were so riduiculous that anybody who drinks alcohol would have been branded an alcoholic by the end of it. I have in the interm found the following questionaire which I think gives a more realistic assessment:  

If your loved one is admiting to a degree that their drinking is out of control, printing this questionaire and giving it during a time of sobriety (during a remorseful hangover would be good!) might give them the extra push they need to get help.

1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time of day?
11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
16. Do you drink alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic

.If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic

.If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic

(Questionaire by Dr. Robert V. Seliger for use at John Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD, in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic.)

Living with a Violent Alcoholic

If the alcoholic you are living with is phsyically abusive, get out. Put the kids and your essential belongings in the car, and go. Violence always gets worse and you should not tolerate any adult being violent towards you or your children. Violence never subsides. Once you’re on the roller coaster of physical abuse, it is very tough to get off. Fortunately my husband was never physically violent towards me. My sister was towards me and my mother and that is when I drew the line with her – I would no longer visit her when she was drunk. However deciding not to visit is a lot easier than deciding to leave your home but you must. Saying that you are staying for your children’s sake is a load of rubbish. Watching a parent being beaten or living in fear of being beaten is a lot more damaging to a child than living in temporary accommodation with one loving parent. 

You may have come to believe there is nothing out there for you; that you are undesirable and unworthy, and deserving of the abuse. you may feel to blame for the person’s drinking – you are not. They are the adult and it is them who decides to put the bottle to their lips.

If the alcoholic raises his or her hand to you, they will do it again, and harder the next time. Don’t kid yourself. Forget your pride or forget believing in empty promises made when sober that it won’t happen again. GET OUT NOW. It will be hard at first but better in the long run.

Tree alone in desert

Reaching Rock Bottom

They say that before an alcoholic can reverse their ways they have to reach rock bottom. I think the same goes for the spouse, partner or the loved ones of the alcoholic. My rock bottom was when my husband crashed the car with our one-year-old son in it, I had already decided to leave him earlier that day but the crash gave me the final push and strength I needed to stick by my decision. If it hadn’t happened maybe he would have persuaded me like all the other times that things were going to change. T

he crash stopped me softening to his threats of suicide should I leave him – so I left him, I walked out while he placed a loaded shot gun in his mouth, pushing my baby’s pram in front of me I got stronger with every step. I didn’t care if he blew his head off, all I knew was that no matter what happened my life was going to change, I was in charge of me again.

The result – I stood strong, he went to rehab and came out four years ago today and we are now one of the happiest couples ever. It was hard but it can be done.