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5 Tips for Living with an Alcoholic

Are you in a relationship with an alcoholic? Have you tried everything you can think of to make him or her stop drinking and nothing has changed? I tried every trick in the book, thinking it would make the various alcoholics in my life change. I’ve yelled, cried, tried to control the drinking, lived a separate life, and left the situation. Each of my reactions came with a different set of additional problems. With help from a 12-step program, I have learned some keys to my own serenity while living with an alcoholic, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

Broken Bottle

I spent many years thinking I could somehow change or cure the alcoholics in my life. That is a misconception we may have in common. My goal is to help you start to find hope, healing, and freedom by showing the first steps to take. Living with an alcoholic is extremely difficult, but with the proper understanding, we can begin taking steps to free ourselves from our shackles.

1. Start a Recovery Program

I know what you are thinking right now. I used to think the same way. “I don’t have a problem so why do I need recovery?!” I spent the first part of my adult life with this thought process and as a result, those 25 years were spent in misery. It wasn’t until I found a 12-step recovery program that I began to see how I truly did need help. Living with an alcoholic has detrimental effects on our mental state. Over an extended period of time, we begin to feel shame, guilt, and brokenhearted. We lose respect for those we love and hold dear. We become depressed and believe there is no hope for the future. Attending regular group meetings through a recovery program helped me see that I am not alone in this struggle. I have been able to work through the 12 steps to realize there is hope on the other side of addiction. You can find out more about locating the right program for you here.

2. Understand the Problem

Although it is widely debated in medical circles, many believe alcoholism is a disease. According to the Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book", certain people have an allergy to alcohol, which, when consumed causes the alcoholic’s body to immediately crave and need more. An alcoholic does not intentionally develop into one. In fact, anyone who takes their first drink of alcohol is not likely aware of their allergy to it. As time passes, alcoholism develops and it is a progressive disease. The longer an alcoholic drinks, the more the alcoholic needs to drink. Quitting “cold turkey” will likely make the chronic alcoholic severely ill and cause him or her to give up trying to quit because it is unbearable. It is important for us to keep this information in mind.