4 Tips for Coping With a Significant Other Who’s Suffering From Alcohol Addiction
The journey to healing and getting over an addiction is a difficult one. It can be especially difficult to watch a friend or loved one go through these struggles. When supporting someone who has an active addiction to alcohol, it’s important that you also take care of your own health as well.
Here are four important tips to keep in mind when taking care of both yourself and a loved one.
Ground rules should be set for your relationship with your friend or loved one; these boundaries gives them expectations that they should meet or lines they should not cross. In addition, these boundaries also help you avoid engaging in positive reinforcement for substance abuse.
Some example of clear boundaries include not allowing alcohol in the house, not allowing the person in the house when they’re intoxicated, no contact with friends who are also alcoholics, and not asking to borrow anything. If after setting these boundaries, your friend or family member still engages in this behaviour, it may be time to send them to a peaceful drug and alcohol rehab to get the help they need.
Providing Immediate Rewards
The brain of an addict is focused on the instant reward of drinking, and without it, it can’t function properly. Even when an addict has fully recovered, the compulsiveness to seek rewards from other places still exists. That’s why it’s a good idea to provide small immediate rewards that will keep the brain focused. Instead of planning vacations months down the road as reward for a person staying sober, provide rewards each day or for the weekend so that they have something to look forward to for the positive changes they take in their lives.
Getting Professional Input
Keep in mind that you’re not a trained therapist or professional, so even if you do decide to go it alone, it can be a struggle, especially because you’re so emotionally involved. It doesn’t hurt to seek help and advice from other friends and family, to seek help from trained professionals so that they can give you some guidelines to work with, or to attend peer group meetings for those friends or family members who are helping the addict in their lives. Not only do these sources provide you with the information that you need, you also won’t feel alone during those difficult times.
It takes time for an addiction to develop, so you should have no expectations that it will be cured overnight. Recovery should be your goal, but expect there to be relapses every now and again. The process may be easy for some people while it may be difficult for others. Everyone is different. What is important is that you keep your hopes up because even though your addict may not express it, they are thankful that you are trying to get them the help they need.
Always remember to focus on your safety first; if you conclude that you aren’t able to care for the addict in your life as well as you think, there is no shame in having them committed to a rehab facility, as long as you adhere to the laws in your state. It might be best for both your health and theirs.