Loving an alcoholic can be a deeply frustrating experience. There’s no way to control other people’s actions, but that doesn’t mean alcoholics’ partners need to resign themselves to feeling terrible all the time. Embrace positive change on a personal level and stop doing the following ten things.
- Accepting Blame
Alcoholics often blame their drinking on others around them, including their partners. Don’t buy it. The reason alcoholics drink is that they are addicted to it and it is no one else’s fault. Once they see that this is the case, it will be easier to get loved ones into Pacific Ridge alcoholism treatment, so don’t continue accepting blame.
- Taking It Personally
It’s equally common for alcoholics to promise their loved ones that they’ll stop drinking then fail to follow through. Don’t take it personally. True addicts experience changes in their brain chemistry that decrease impulse control so they aren’t really choosing to break promises.
- Performing Damage Control
It’s hard to see loved ones suffer, but stop trying to step in and do damage control for alcoholic partners. It will only encourage them to continue avoiding responsibility for their own actions and put off getting professional help.
- Trying to Cure the Disease
Alcoholism truly is a serious disease and even healthcare professionals who are trained to treat it often have a hard time helping those suffering from it. A romantic partner’s job is not to be a counselor and any attempts at helping an alcoholic quit drinking will almost always backfire unless they’re ready for the change, anyway. Focus on things that can be changed like personal attitudes.
- Covering It Up
Alcoholics often try to avoid drawing attention to their drinking problems to avoid having to take responsibility for resolving them. Loved ones who try to cover up unhealthy drinking habits or make excuses will only contribute to an alcoholic’s denial.
- Accepting the Unacceptable
Alcoholics are more likely to commit domestic abuse, so don’t make excuses for what seems like a minor incident. One minor incident can quickly escalate into a constant onslaught of unacceptable behavior directed toward partners or even children. Don’t set a precedent by making excuses for unacceptable behaviors.
- Creating Unreasonable Expectations
Keep in mind that what would be reasonable for someone without addiction problems may not be for an alcoholic. For example, it’s easy to expect that someone who promises he or she will not have more than a few drinks will honor that promise, but it’s not a reasonable expectation for an alcoholic.
- Living in the Past
Alcoholism is a progressive disease, so don’t live in the past. That goes for the bad as well as the good. Don’t allow yesterday’s disappointments to affect today’s decisions.
- Enabling Bad Behavior
It’s common for alcoholics to reach out for help only once they no longer have a system of enablers in place. When a loved one enables an alcoholic, it takes the focus off of bad behavior and reduces consequences for the person’s actions. Stop now. It’s not helping.
- Putting Off Seeking Help
Seeking professional help can feel daunting or even embarrassing, but it can dramatically improve the lives of those who love alcoholics. Try a support group for families of alcoholics or look for a counselor who can help. It might even convince loved ones to do the same.
The Bottom Line
No one can force an alcoholic to quit for good. Loved ones aren’t helping alcoholic partners by enabling their behaviors or attempting to force them to change, they’re just hurting themselves.