Guide to Living With an Alcoholic

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Guide to Living With an Alcoholic

Alcoholism is an illness that can impact people of ages, genders and walks of life. If you’re living with an alcoholic, you may sometimes struggle with how to act or what to do. There’s a fine line between helping and enabling, and it’s important to understand the difference.

Do: Protect Yourself

If you’re on an airplane and the air masks deploy, passengers are instructed to put on their own before helping others. This same principle applies to living with an alcoholic. You can’t help them if you’re also struggling.

Therefore, make sure you don’t spend all your time helping others, or worrying about them. It’s also important to take time to ensure your own health and happiness. Remember that helping someone recover from an addiction is challenging, and being mentally rested and prepared will make it easier.

Don’t: Enable Them

Enabling is any action that makes it easier for an alcoholic to continue being an alcoholic. It can come in many forms, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Offering financial assistance
  • Lying to others about a person’s alcohol consumption
  • Drinking with them, or providing them with alcohol
  • Making excuses to others on their behalf

Do: Learn More About Alcoholism

If you’re living with a person who struggles with alcoholism, then you need to understand addiction in order to effectively help. By learning more about alcoholism as an illness, as well as what factors contribute it to its development, you’ll be better prepared to help.

It also helps to learn more about the process of recovery. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to see the importance of rehab, and you’ll understand why an alcohol detox and further addiction treatment is so integral to recovery.

Don’t: Expect Things to Get Better Right Away

Even when you’re armed with information and ready to help someone tackle their alcoholism, addiction issue that can be fixed immediately. Your loved one may not be ready to seek help right away. If they are, they’ll still need to go through detox followed by a complete months of treatment. There’s no quick or instant fix for alcoholism. Anyone who promises such an approach can’t be telling the truth. True recovery takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.

Do: Offer Support

Finally, remember that your support is a critical way to help. Just being there, offering to help and being a voice of understanding can make a tremendous difference. Often, feelings of guilt, shame or isolation are the biggest challenges for those struggling with alcoholism. Especially as they begin the road to recovery, show your support for their efforts and their continued sobriety.

Living With An Alcoholic: Your Next Steps

If you’re working or living with an alcoholic, then the first priority should be to get them to acknowledge the need for professional rehab. At 1st Step Behavioral, patients can overcome addiction in Pompano Beach, Florida. Call (866) 319-6126 to learn more about alcoholism recovery.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.