Family Recovery Series: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One.
Part 2: Get Support for Yourself.
Last month we talked about the importance of understanding the disease of alcoholism so we can respond to the disease in ways that really help. When we understand alcoholism, we don’t have to take the behavior of the alcoholic personally. We are then better able to set healthy boundaries around the effects of the disease for ourselves and our loved ones. Understanding alcoholism doesn’t mean that setting healthy boundaries will be easy. Facing alcoholism on our own is too much for most of us.
This month, we are going to talk about the second thing you can do to help an alcoholic loved one:
2. Get support for yourself in order to set healthy boundaries.
This idea usually is confusing as we think “I am not the one with the problem.” The reality is the problem does not just belong to any one individual, it belongs to the family. Addiction is a family problem that requires a family solution. Our Family Program is built on the belief that each family member has been impacted by their loved one’s use. Alcoholism involves not only the use of alcohol but also the family’s reactions to that use. Research suggests the way family members can support long term recovery is through education about alcoholism and addiction and involvement in their own recovery. When we are in relationship with someone struggling with drug and alcohol addiction our lives are negatively impacted. We can experience anger, confusion, pre-occupation with another, and underlying all of these reactions are fear.
We need to learn to separate our own growth and happiness from our loved one’s sobriety. This does not mean physical separation, but it does mean emotional detachment. Attending Al-Anon meetings and meeting with others who have experienced similar situations and have found a way to serenity is very helpful. Participants in our Family Program often experience the first glimmer of hope that, despite the difficulties their loved one’s addiction brings, they can still live happy, satisfying lives. This realization allows them to emotionally detach from the disease while still loving their loved one.
This has been an amazing experience. I have arrived here feeling stressed, fearful and a bit angry- and I left feeling empowered, loved and strong.
~Wife of an alcoholic, participant in The Retreat Family Program
It is important to remember that you are not alone. We are always here to help. For More Information Download our Free Family Brochure!
*Next Month: The third thing you can do to help an alcoholic loved one: Set Limits and Stick to Them.
Don’t want to wait until next month? Download our free PDF: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One.