To help the alcoholic you love you first must help yourself. You will never be able to help the alcoholic until you help yourself. Alcohol addiction tends to involve everyone the alcoholic is in contact with on some kind of level. Those who are in the path of the alcoholic, usually a spouse, desperately need to know how to emotionally detach from the abuse of the alcoholic. In some cases the mental, emotionally and even physical abuse is so bad that couples must separate.
If the alcoholic begins to get mouthy, calling you names and putting you down, you must leave the room or the house. Remember, the alcoholic is sick and when they drink they are more apt to have emotional outbursts and flared tempers. Don’t allow this abuse to sit in your head where it festers and causes emotional problems for yourself.
Let it go in one ear and out the other, literally! You can do this when you understand that part of the sickness of alcoholism is the underlying emotional pain harbored within the alcoholic. Loved ones are usually a scapegoat and temporary outlet for the alcoholic to emotionally unload their demons on, so to speak. I know this first hand because I have been there and done that.
Remember, most of what comes out of the mouth of an alcoholic is the addiction talking. Never take what they say as the gospel truth. When the alcoholic drinks they think they know everything and they may try and get you to believe in the lies and manipulation they are forcing on you. This is how the loved one or enabler becomes sick with the alcoholic. They believe what the alcoholic tells them, at least for a while.
Alcoholics favorite quotes are:
“I am not an alcoholic”.
“I can stop drinking anytime.”
“I promise I will never drink again”
“You are the one with the problem, not me”.
“I only drink to unwind”
“Oh no, I don’t have a drinking problem”.
“I drink because you treat me bad”.
“I’ll stop drinking when you stop ____”.
Even though none of the above is true the alcoholic may truly believe that what they tell you is true. In their mind, if they are in denial, they may actually believe they can quit just because they say so, but unfortunately addiction doesn’t work like that.
One thing that confuses the alcoholic is when you start taking care of yourself, such as reading the bible, praying for them, going to ALANON classes and taking up hobbies. When they see that you are getting emotionally and spiritually well and not letting what they do or say distress you, they will really be miffed.
Walking away or going into another room of the home when the alcoholic starts on a rampage will really annoy them. They expect and even want for you to fight and argue back, scream, yell, cry, or drink with them, not walk away. Don’t give them a reaction except for letting them know that you are not going to go down with them into the alcoholism trap.
By all means, let the alcoholic know that you moving on with your life without them. Let them see you becoming emotionally and spiritually well. Nine times out of ten this stirs the conscience within them to start taking responsibility for their problem. They have to want to get sober for themselves and not for you or anyone else.
If you are separated from the alcoholic now because of abuse it is best to make sure the alcoholic has been sober for a full year before they move back into the home. He or she needs to be sober for a while to get used to dealing with life on life’s terms. Much healing needs to happen for the alcoholic.
Hopefully after a year of sobriety the alcoholic is not just sober, but has healed emotionally, spiritually and physically from the triggers that made them crave the drink in the first place. Deep inner healing needs to take place within the alcoholic before the alcoholic can actually manage happily without drinking. This is called total sobriety.
Emotional and physical addiction is the areas you will want to look into before total sobriety can be achieved. Know the difference. There is sobriety and then there is total sobriety. Anyone can become sober but not everyone can achieve total sobriety and that’s because they still need inner healing, whatever that may be.
Many sober alcoholics continue to go to alcoholic’s anonymous years after sobriety. What for? Because it is a crutch they hang onto to keep them from drinking. Other crutches might be another addiction such as sex or food. This is not total sobriety but just a person barely getting by without a drink. That’s sad.
God created us to be whole people with the ability to love others and be happy without being a slave to sin, which is what addiction is. We make ourselves become the people we are because of our past and future environments and events and people in our lives. How we manage these circumstances will produce in us the person we become.
If we handle our problems from our own understanding we will walk in err because our own understanding is almost always flawed. We need God in our lives! God does not make alcoholics – we choose what our life is going to be. How we manage life’s problems and how we have managed past problems in our life creates a certain lifestyle for us. This lifestyle is made through our choices.
Now this is important, listen well. Just as easily as we became alcoholic or slave to any addiction we can just as easily make ourselves become the child of God that He created us to be. But this is up to the alcoholic – they have to make that choice for themselves. All the people I have known that have truly gotten sober, never craved a drink and became productive happy people in society, God was always at the center of their sobriety.
The most important aspect of achieving total sobriety is to look at all areas of the alcoholic’s life instead of only focusing on the drinking. The drinking is only a symptom of alcoholism and a sign of something else going on within the alcoholic. They need inner healing.