Family Recovery Series: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One.
Part 5: Talk about Your Concerns with the Alcoholic
Last month we talked about the importance of working together as a family so the alcoholic is less able to emotionally sidetrack family members with the fear that they might do or say something to cause the alcoholic to drink. All family members need to remember they didn’t cause the alcoholism, they can’t control it, and they can’t cure it.
If you’re new to this series, please read the first three entries:
Now, the fifth thing you can do to help an alcoholic loved one is: Talk about Your Concerns with the Alcoholic.
Denial is a symptom of alcoholism for both the loved ones and the alcoholic. We might think if someone is in denial, there is really nothing to be accomplished by talking to them. This is not the case.
It is most productive to have the conversation when our loved one is not under the influence, and when we can speak as calmly as possible about what we are experiencing. Our conversation will have more impact if it is done with love and concern.
An example would be to say “I love you and I am concerned about you.” Talk about what you are observing, the effect their use is having on them as a person and on your relationship. Talk about the link between their alcohol use and their growing problems. Tell them you think they need to get help.
We know this is not easy, but do not argue. It is quite possible our alcoholic loved one will not agree with us. That does not negate what we are experiencing. He or she does not need to agree with us for our experience to be accurate or true.
Remember, this conversation about our concerns is not an argument, and we can’t force the alcoholic to understand us. We may need to agree to disagree. That’s okay. Resist the alcoholic’s efforts to turn the conversation into an argument with winners and losers.
I can’t control my husband’s behavior; I can’t even really control my own! But I have tools now, and I can’t wait to get home and start using them. ~Wife
Next Month: The sixth and last thing you can do to help an alcoholic loved one: Consider an Intervention
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*Next Month: The sixth thing you can do to help an alcoholic loved one: Consider An Intervention.