Watching someone, you love become a slave to alcohol really hurts. But, did you know that a lot of the things you might be doing to help the person could make the problem worse supposedly? Here are 5 things you should never do to an alcoholic under any circumstances.
What Not to Do to an Alcoholic
Many people who have an alcoholic in their life believe in the “tough love” approach. They think being hard on the person will make them see the error of their ways. Let’s take a look at why this is not a good idea.
Constantly nagging or lecturing an alcoholic doesn’t help them. While you might mean well, if you make them feel miserable and pressured it will only have the opposite effect, causing them to drink even more often so that they feel better when they’re around you.
Dealing with alcohol abuse can leave you feeling frustrated and disgusted. However, you should avoid the tendency to take those feelings out on the person by belittling them. Making them feel worthless will only add to the sense of shame that they likely already feel. They will try to bury that shame with alcohol.
Threatening someone will not help them to recover. If an alcoholic stops drinking for a time, say a few days, simply because you threaten them, the progress won’t last. Fear of being threatened is not healing; it’s damaging. Alcoholics will generally drown those fears by going back to the bottle for comfort. There is evidence to support this claim everywhere.
Resist the urge to be controlling. You can’t control another person’s actions, only they can. Trying to control a person’s drinking by counting how many drinks they have, watching over them, or hiding their alcohol, will backfire. This behavior will make them feel trapped, leading to them drinking in secret rather than in front of you.
Being an enabler is a mistaken kindness. If you’re always bailing out an alcoholic by buying their drinks, giving them rides home from clubs, paying drunk driving tickets, making excuses for missed work days, and so on, you are keeping them from facing the consequences of their drinking problem. This can cause them to live in a fantasy that everything is fine when it’s not.
Getting Professional Treatment is the Best Option for an Alcoholic
Alcoholism is a harrowing addiction for both the alcoholic and those who are around them. The best way to help an alcoholic, though, is not through nagging, belittling, threatening, controlling, or enabling. If someone you care about has a problem with alcohol abuse, talk it out rationally together, then get them help from a professional who can put them on the road to recovery.
verywellmind.com – 10 Things to Stop Doing if You Love an Alcoholic
cnn.com – Study Finds 1 in 8 Americans Struggles With Alcohol Abuse