26 Jun 5 ways to stop the effects of alcoholism on your family
While alcoholism may seem like a disease that only one person goes through, it impacts the whole family.
According to Health Canada, 3.1 million Canadians are drinking enough to risk immediate injury or harm. Another 4.4 million are at risk for longer-term negative health effects, including addiction.
These statistics become personal when one of those Canadians struggling is a family member.
The good news is there are ways to get your loved one to stop living a life revolving around alcohol. In this blog post, we talk about 5 things to do to help stop the effects of alcoholism on your family.
Stop blaming yourself
Alcoholics may blame their addiction and bad behaviours on others. Don’t allow the alcoholic in your life to place blame on you for the things they have done. This is not your addiction. If you place blame on yourself, you can end up becoming as addicted to the alcoholic as they are to their intoxicant of choice.
As a professional interventionist in Canada, Andy Bhatti says it’s common for families to become co-dependent on the alcoholic. When someone becomes codependent, they allow the addict to define reality. Sadly, an addict may not have a clear vision of reality.
You may begin focusing on what they are doing, where they are going, how much and how often they are drinking. You hopelessly attempt to create control over their addiction.
Remind yourself that you did not cause the alcoholism. There was no action you did or failed to do that turned your loved one into an alcoholic. Addiction is a disease.
Don’t enable your loved one
Your loved one may recognize codependency or enable characteristics that they can employ to avoid fighting and talking about their addiction.
It’s common for people who love an alcoholic to try and become a caretaker or fixer who cleans up the addict’s mess. You cannot control their addiction but you will need to stop enabling them.
Enabling behaviours occur when the codependent helps or encourages the addict to continue drinking, either directly or indirectly. An example of indirect enabling is hiding the addiction from family or children.
While you’re not the one who has an addiction, you will want to educate yourself on the harms of alcohol, alcoholism and treatment options. Once you start educating yourself on alcohol and how alcoholism is a multi-person disease, you need to educate yourself on treatment options as well as counseling options for yourself and your family.
Plan an intervention
Andy believes it’s important for families to step away and let the professional interventionists help the family and the addict.
In Andy’s experience, 80% of his clients struggling with alcoholism need to be medically supervised at detox and/or treatment facilities.
Interventions are one of the safest ways to get the person you care about into a drug or alcohol treatment centre.
Get help yourself
Once your loved one agrees to treatment, family members and friends will also need counseling. Counseling can help in all the areas of life that have been affected by the disease of addiction.
Andy suggests the family program on addiction and alcoholism he offers or contacting Al-Anon Family Groups.
Al-Anon offers group meetings where friends and family members of problem drinkers share their experiences and learn how to apply the principles of the Al-Anon program to their situations.
Andy’s personal counseling is available through personal one-on-one appointments or emergency counseling over the phone.
If you’d like to learn more about holding an intervention for a loved one and having an interventionist present, please call us. Andy Bhatti and his team offer interventions in Vancouver, Calgary and Newfoundland.