How to Cope with an Alcoholic
There are about 14 million alcoholics in the U.S. alone. Alcoholism is a disease that does not only affect the alcoholic but also affects the entire family. Tell the alcoholic how his or her behavior affects you and that you want him or her to get help. However, don't nag or threaten. That won't help. Don't issue ultimatums unless you really mean it. For instance, don't say you'll take the kids and leave unless you are really prepared to take the kids and leave if he or she doesn't stop drinking. Step 2 Be willing to support the alcoholic if he or she wants to get help. You can help him or her find local AA meetings. You can even attend a meeting with him or her, as long as it's an open meeting. Don't keep alcohol in the house for yourself if someone in your family is trying to stop drinking. Ask the alcoholic what else you can do to help. Be aware, though, that you can't do everything for him or her. He or she has to be willing to do the work. Step 3 Don't be an enabler. Don't make excuses for the alcoholic or try to protect him or keep secrets for him. That means you should not call his boss and say he's sick when he's really too hung over to go to work. Make him call his boss himself. Step 4 Don't give an alcoholic money if he or she is going to use it to buy alcohol. Don't bail her out if she spends her paycheck on booze and then doesn't have enough money to make her car payment. Obviously if you are married there are some expenses you will need to pay, like your mortgage, because you don't want to lose your home. But if your spouse's car gets repossessed because he or she spends the car payment on alcohol, let him or her deal with that. If your spouse is spending lots of money on alcohol, you might want to get a separate bank account that is just in your name to use to pay the bills. Step 5 Get help for yourself. Consider joining a self-help group like Al-Anon, which is a group for family members of alcoholics. The group will teach you ways to keep yourself sane while living with an alcoholic. It will encourage you to focus on things you can control, like your own behavior, instead of trying to control the alcoholic's behavior, which you really can't control. You might also want to see a counselor. Step 6 Consider whether you really want to live with an alcoholic. The answer to that question may depend on whether or not your spouse is willing to get help for his or her problem. But you do not have to remain in an unhealthy relationship . You can talk about your options at a self-help group like Al-Anon or you can see a counselor who can help you with your decisions.