When you love an addict or alcoholic, you have probably watched him or her deteriorate…
Loving an Alcoholic: Tips for Siblings to Stay Supportive
An individual’s alcoholism touches the lives of everyone they care about and loving an alcoholic can be difficult after years of a seemingly endless cycle. Their drinking sprees can instill feelings of fear and distrust in those closest to them who have tried what seems like every possible way to get them to stop.
It may seem as though you’ve tried everything, but it’s important to remain encouraging of your alcoholic loved one while they attempt to get sober. When they have the support of those who care about them most during this difficult point in their life, it’s easier for them to remain sober and on a path of recovery. Loving an alcoholic doesn’t have to be impossible, even when it may seem like it is.
Here are a few ways you can be supportive when loving an alcoholic:
- Maintain honesty and open communication.
When you’re able to be honest with your alcoholic family member, loving an alcoholic isn’t so difficult. If you don’t feel restricted on what you’re allowed to do or say, you’re able to be yourself around them without being concerned about their response. This works both ways, though — make sure they can be honest with you as well about how they’re feeling.
- If they’re in treatment, attend family group.
Family group is an important part of many treatment programs and when you take part, it shows you are supportive of their efforts to get and stay sober. Family group is a great opportunity to also work on honesty and open communication in a safe environment as the sessions are usually led by a therapist or facilitator. If your loved one is one of the few without family at family group, imagine how that would make them feel.
- Encourage activities that don’t involve drinking.
While you don’t have to change your entire life for your alcoholic loved one, activities that don’t involve drinking are a fantastic way to make them feel comfortable with the group. Try having a sober holiday together. Holidays are some of the most difficult times for alcoholics, and if you’re willing to have a sober celebration with them, they’ll realize how supportive you are of their recovery efforts.
Loving an alcoholic includes showing your support for them. Again, you don’t have to alter your life to fit their new lifestyle, but even the smallest of things can encourage them to stay on their path. Your loved one will appreciate it and you’ll appreciate their new, sober way of life.