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How to Manage Your Relationship with an Alcoholic

A man struggling with alcohol abuse arguing with a loved one.

There’s no question that relationships can be hard to navigate. Whether it’s a friend, family member or significant other, there’s always a lot of give and take. When you add alcohol abuse to the equation, though, the foundation of even the strongest relationships can begin to erode.

Having a loved one with an alcohol addiction is an emotional journey. The “highs” give you hope for the future and the “lows” leave you devastated. You’re left asking yourself if there’s anything you can do to stop alcohol from causing any more damage to your relationship. While managing a relationship with an alcoholic is challenge, there are steps you can take to move forward in a healthy direction.

3 Tips for Being in a Relationship with an Alcoholic

1. Set Boundaries

It’s common for alcohol addiction to create a toxic dynamic in relationships. Your loved one’s dangerous behaviors could be having a direct impact on your life. Or, you could be unknowingly enabling their drinking. If you want to start mending your relationship, look into setting some boundaries.

The first step to setting boundaries is identifying where you need them. Start by writing down a list of behaviors triggered by your loved one’s alcohol abuse. Now circle the ones that have the most impact on your relationship with them. From there, you can set boundaries based on the behaviors causing the most stress.

Now that you have some boundaries in place, you’ll need to enforce them. It’s best to remain calm and collected during this part. For example, telling your loved one “I don’t like being around when you’re drinking” will go over better than losing your temper.

2. Find Help for Your Own Needs

There’s nothing wrong with finding support for the emotional distress you’re feeling from your loved one’s alcohol abuse. You might have complex feelings that an outside perspective could help you process.

Start by talking with a close friend or family member. Be honest about how your loved one’s drinking is making you feel. Having a safe space to vent your frustrations can help ensure you’re coping with them in a healthy manner and getting the personal support you need.

You can also talk with a therapist or addiction expert about how you’re feeling. They can offer you a truly objective opinion about your relationship. Professional opinions like this also help you from developing a codependency with your loved one. Codependent relationships have no clear boundaries and increase the risk of your needs being neglected.

Your therapist can create a treatment plan to improve your emotional health. Plus, they’ll teach you healthy ways to communicate your feelings to your loved one.

3. Talk to Your Loved One about Their Alcohol Abuse

Talking to your loved one about their alcohol addiction is intimidating, but necessary. Your concern could be the spark they need to start their journey to recovery. Plus, being honest about their behaviors can build trust in your relationship. Here are some helpful suggestions to make you more ready for this conversation:

  • Rehearse what you’re going to say: Take some time to plan what to say. Focus on being honest about your relationship. Avoid casting blame or criticizing their behavior.
  • Acknowledge their personal struggles: Tell your loved that you know they’re drinking for a reason. Maybe it is to cope with stress or another personal problem. Try to emphasize that there are healthier ways to manage their issues.
  • Offer your support: Let your loved know that you’re there to help them get treatment for their alcohol abuse.
  • Be specific: Create a list of all the ways your loved one’s drinking has affected you. Share that list with your loved one and have specific examples ready.

Help Your Loved One Break Free from Alcohol Addiction

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we understand your loved one’s struggle with alcohol abuse. We have lived through it ourselves, which is how we know that your loved one has the potential to reach lasting recovery. Our luxury alcohol rehab program can offer your loved one individualized treatment. Set in the scenic beach town of Treasure Island FL, your loved one will have the peace and privacy needed to heal at their own pace.

We’re committed to helping your loved one overcome their alcohol addiction. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your loved one reach lasting recovery.

Have Questions? We're here to help.

(727) 954-3908