Protect Yourself From an Alcoholism Disorder in The Family

There are a few distinct ways that an alcoholism disorder can have devastating effects on the family. I’ve heard it said that living with an alcoholic can be compared to a mobile that hangs over a babies crib. If you just touch it everything hanging on the mobile is effected. The same is true when alcoholism is present in a family. All of the members that are interconnected with the problem drinker are impacted by their addiction.

It Was Their Choice

I have an aunt whose children are all involved in some sort of substance abuse. Their lives have been this way for several years. One of the things that is important for her to understand is that she did not cause their alcoholism. People who are addicted to alcohol somewhere along the way made a choice to pick up a drink. Now it has been proven by medical research that genetics plays a role in whether someone has an addictive personality, but the initial choice to drink alcohol is what started the addiction.

We Don’t Own Guilt

It’s important for us to not take on guilt that doesn’t belong to us. No one causes someone’s alcoholism dependence. It’s not your fault in any way that a disorder is present in your family. This is one of the ways you can protect yourself from the negative effects of this disease. What has happened is NOT in any way related to anything you have done or not done.

Setting Boundaries
When living with an alcoholic, it’s important to learn how to set boundaries. Unacceptable behavior is just that… “unacceptable behavior.” The key to protecting yourself from the anger and anxiety associated with having a relationship with an addict is in communicating to them what is acceptable and NOT permissible.

There are many ways of drawing borderlines in a loving way. If they are calling you degrading names, nicely ask them to stop calling you those things. If they are stealing from you, tell them you love them and you feel they need to get help, then sever the relationship. The idea here is to protect yourself from their uncontrollable alcoholic behavior.

Learn to Detach
The problem we run into is that we feel like we need to try to rescue the substance abuser. If you think about it for a moment, nothing that you have done has caused them to quit drinking. If we are not careful, we can get too involved in their lives trying to help them get better.

As our obsession with everything they are doing increases, the joy in living our own lives decreases. This is why we need to learn how to detach. The foundation of doing this is in realizing that they will not quit until they hit bottom on their own. There are many levels of detachment. To succeed, it takes learning from people who know how to do this.

As the phases of alcoholism progress in our family members so does our obsession with their behavior. If you do not learn how to protect yourself during this progression, you will find yourself experiencing some serious disorders yourself. Alcoholism in the family is a very destructive storm that needs to be handled in a precise manner. There are proven ways of dealing with alcoholics that work. Without help it will be too much for you to handle on your own.

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