I had been dealing with an alcoholic in the family for several years before I sought advice from a therapy group. Through attending hundreds of meetings, I learned many ways of handling myself in a self controlled manner. Below I have outlined a couple of things that will help you with the person in your life who is the problem drinker.
Stop Name Calling-This is one of the most freeing pieces of advice that I can give to you. If you have been calling the alcoholic names, you need to understand that this is only fuel for the raging fire. Put an end to this practice by biting your tongue. If your goal is to love the person that is struggling with an alcohol addiction, then calling them degrading things is no way to show love.
Before saying anything… checklist:
- Is it necessary to say?
- Will it be a kind comment?
- Is this a truthful statement?
If the answer is “no” to any of the above questions, then don’t say what ever your tongue wants to spew out.
If you can train yourself to examine the thoughts before they get shot out of your mouth and hit the family member right between the eyes, there will be less feelings of shame and guilt for you to deal with afterward. Also, if you take my advice in this area the alcoholic will have less to get angry about during a heated discussion.
Stop Reacting and Start Responding Properly-The alcoholic in your family knows exactly how to push your buttons in order to get a negative response from you. If you can make up your mind that you are not going to fight with the alcoholic, then you are at the beginning of the process.
Look, don’t accept everything that they throw at you as truth. Take a moment before responding to think about what they are saying about you. Is it true? This is what you should respond to. If what the alcoholic in the family is saying about you is not true, then tell them with a simple statement: “that’s not true.” Nothing else needs to be said.
If what they are saying about you has some truth to it you can respond with: “I’m sorry you feel that way,” say nothing more.
When we get caught up in the whirlwind of reacting to defend ourselves against all of the insults they send our way, we will continue to argue around in circles until the sun comes up in the morning. If we train ourselves to respond with self control, by using short statements, we will have fewer arguments. That’s good alcoholic family advice for the person who is not drinking.
Stop Obsessing Over Their Behavior-What are the things that you really enjoy in this life? Have you forgotten how to enjoy your life? Don’t be upset by this; it’s just what happens inside the family when they are dealing with an alcoholic.
Get your focus off of what they are doing and begin to do the things that you enjoy doing. If it’s going to the movies, then get a friend and have a great time away from the “family problem drinker.”
When I first began to learn this technique for getting my focus off of all the thing that the alcoholic in our family was doing, I would go roller bladding. I also got actively involved in church and Ala-non meetings. Between the two organizations, I could find plenty of fun things to help keep me happy and the focus off of the trouble the drinker was creating all the time.
I’ve so much good advice for coping with someone who is the family alcoholic. There are many articles on this website that will help you learn how to remain self controlled and happy. Yes, you can be happy and still live with an alcoholic. The key to all of it is getting the focus off what the alcoholic is doing and get the focus on you.