The Best Ways to Help an Alcoholic Family Member

Alcoholism is an incredibly far-reaching disease. It will affect every member of a household in one way or another, and every time it does it makes it harder for the sufferer to recover. There’s nothing worse than watching somebody you love as they get taken under the influence of the drug, alcohol, or as it’s known to recovering alcoholics, the Spider. It’s called that because it’s incredibly good at playing tricks on people and pulling them into its web. It takes enormous strength to fight it.
First and foremost you need to give God this problem for yourself and for your family member. We need to rely on God's strength through it all. Some days might be harder which is why we need to keep the faith and hope in our heavenly father to take care of our needs during this process.
Don’t accept circumstances as they are – you need the strength to change them – but to do that, you’re going to have to accept somethings. Accept the problem, that this is a problem, a big one – and that means don’t let your instincts to hide it or cover it up kick in, even though it can be hideously embarrassing. Often, when you try to brush alcoholism under the carpet, you allow it to continue. Most of the time, it won’t be your embarrassment that you’re trying to protect yourself from but their embarrassment you’re trying to protect them from. They need to face some consequences and embarrassing situations if they’re going to realize it’s a problem. However, you also need to accept that recovery will be difficult for them, and you need to accept that in order to win this they’ll need to change, and the change will need to be accepted.
You need to get your timing right if this is going to be a success. Firstly, don’t even bother trying to rationalize the problem to them if they’re under the influence. You need to tell them what it’s doing to them, to you, and to the family, but choose a calm environment when they aren’t under the influence. A support network needs to know when the problem is at its worst, and they need to be able to hang in there and stay strong. You also need to know when they’re serious enough to get The Token Shop AA tokens for their first 24-hour chip.
It’s great that you’re so committed to helping somebody who’s capable of causing so much harm, but it won’t be any help if you become so worn out that you either can’t keep up the support or you begin to need just as much help yourself. There’s nothing wrong with protecting yourself from the disease – the best way might be refusing to bail them out of an arrest, or even refusing to have them in the house when they’re under the influence. Don’t take any form of abuse, and make your boundaries clear so that any abuse is obvious to both of you.

It isn’t a pretty disease, and it’s called the Spider for a reason – it isn’t just the sufferer who gets pulled into the web. One of the best things you can do is encourage them to get support from Alcoholics Anonymous, but be rational not manipulative. Be aware when you’re being manipulated into enabling or financing the habit, bailing them out of (or ‘padding’) embarrassing consequences or even accepting any abuse yourself. If you’re going to help them, then you need to stay strong, and if you’re going to stay strong, you need to maintain strong boundaries.


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