Alcoholism is a condition that people have been dealing with for centuries. However, few people realize what a huge impact having an alcoholic in the family can have on all of the family members.
In this guide, we will be discussing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism, what you can do to help your alcoholic family member and how to protect yourself. If you feel that the stress is affecting your health during this tough time, it is beneficial to take natural supplements that will not only boost your immune system but also provide some relief from anxiety.
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Symptoms Of Alcoholism
- Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss.
- Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings.
- Using drinking as an excuse to relax or to escape stress.
- Choosing to drink over other responsibilities and obligations.
- Distancing or isolating yourself from family and friends.
- Drinking alone or in secrecy.
- Feeling hungover when not drinking.
- Changes in your social group and appearance.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Family Member Is An Alcoholic
You Cannot Save Them
Sadly, no matter how much you love your family member who suffers from alcoholism you will never be able to save them. Alcoholism is not a rational disease; therefore, no matter how hard you try you will never be able to reason with them.
The first step you should take when deciding to help your family member is to acknowledge that their actions come from the disease and not from a place of malice. Unfortunately, to truly help your loved one you will need to take a step back from them.
Deal With The Denial
Alcoholism is an incredibly difficult condition to deal with. More often than not, there is a denial of the problem from all parties involved. When your alcoholic family member is faced with their problem, it can be incredibly difficult for them to acknowledge that they have a problem. On the other hand, it can be just as difficult for family members of the alcoholic to acknowledge the problem.
This denial usually comes from a place of fear. Fear that things will change or fear of the consequences of alcoholism. However, if you do have a family member who suffers from alcoholism the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to face reality and stop denying the alcoholism.
Stop Enabling Them
It can be quite common for well-meaning help to turn into something a little more insidious. Research has proven that if a family member continues to provide financial help to an alcoholic they will be less likely to get their addiction under control. There is a very significant difference between helping and enabling.
When you help a family member, you do something for them that they are incapable of doing for themselves. However, enabling occurs when you do something for someone else that they are capable of doing for themselves.
This includes giving them money, buying them things and cleaning after them. If you are in the habit of enabling your family member it can seem almost impossible to stop. Especially, when the end of the enabling is met by anger and resentment from the alcoholic. However, as long as you continue enabling an addict they will never be able to get better.
Find A Way To Talk To Your Family Member
When an alcoholic is directly confronted with their addiction, they will often resort back to denying that they have a problem. It is crucial that you talk to your alcoholic family member about their problem.
Find a safe space to talk to the family member who has the problem. IF you are scared of talking to your alcoholic family member, you can find a mediator to help you get the conversation started without it turning into a conflict.
Offer To Take Them To A 12-Step Program
Sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to get to your first 12-step meeting due to the fear of admitting your problem, not knowing anyone at the meetings or just getting there. If you find your loved one struggling to get to a 12-step meeting you should offer to take them.
That way you are sure they are attending the meeting and they feel comforted and supported by your presence. Although there is a lot of doubt surrounding the efficacy of 12-step meetings, we believe that they are effective because it is a place for alcoholics to come together and share a common goal.
Stick To The Principle Of Actions Speak Louder Than Words
More often than not individuals who suffer from alcohol addictions are very good at telling us what we want to hear. Remind yourself not to listen to the promises of your alcoholic loved one. You do not have to give up hope in them entirely.
However, to protect yourself from disappointment you should judge their success by their actions rather than by their promises and the things they tell you.
Try Not To Be Judgmental
When you have a family member, who suffers from alcoholism it can seem easy to have them sit down and listen to you tell them all the ways they should be changing their lives. Everyone in the relationship realizes the risks associated with this disorder.
Try to keep those thoughts to yourself until you have an appropriate opportunity to discuss it with them.
Join a Support Group
Al-Anon is a support group for the families of alcoholics. The organization, founded by Lois Wilson, wife of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson, offers a refuge for those who have been impacted by chronic drinkers. Here you will meet other people who are in a similar situation to yours.
When you attend these meetings, you will receive advice and will be able to share in a community of families of alcoholics.
Take A Little Distance
Sometimes you have to make a break when you notice a relationship becoming toxic. When you take a little time and distance away from your alcoholic family member it does not mean that you no longer love them.
There comes a time when you need to prioritize the happiness of your family and if that means taking a little break from the alcoholic in your life that is your right.