There is much evidence to suggest that alcoholism runs in families and that it may have some genetic components. Having a family history of alcohol abuse can be very difficult to overcome. Living with someone who has a problem with alcohol can be difficult as well. Fighting a family history of alcohol abuse can be an uphill battle for all involved.
The historical element makes it easy for you or other members of your family to slip into alcohol abuse without working too hard to get there. But alcohol abuse does not need to continue in your family forever. Your family can begin working together and taking small steps toward an alcohol addiction free life. These small steps can make a big difference in ending the cycle of alcohol abuse in your family.
Spend Time Talking About the History of Alcoholism in the Family
A fairly common story in families with a history of alcohol abuse is that of a productive adult with a family of his or her own and a parent with an alcohol problem. You, as the productive adult, have made great efforts in your life to stay away from a life of alcohol abuse. Particularly if your parent (or uncle or cousin or best friend) still has an alcohol problem and is still involved in your life, you will need to spend some time communicating with the members of your immediate family about alcohol abuse and what it means.
Talk about how the alcohol abuse has effected your life and the life of the person with the alcohol problem. Encourage your loved ones to ask any questions they have and answer them as honestly as possible. If they have all of the information and know that they can talk to you about alcohol abuse, you will all be better equipped to fight the alcohol abuse cycle.
Be Aware of Enabling and How to Prevent It
No matter how much you love the person with the alcohol addiction, there is no excuse for helping him or her sink further into alcohol addiction. When you enable the abusive habits of someone you love, it is counterproductive to his or her health and to your mental stability. You can avoid enabling by not providing alcohol for family functions or for family dinners at which the alcohol abuser will be in attendance. Make efforts not to purchase alcohol for him or her, or provide money for the purchase of alcohol. Saying no is likely to make you feel guilty. It is possible that when you say no, the alcohol abuser is going to try to make you feel guilty and like you are a bad person, but you need to remember that this is not true.
You are making the right decision by taking a stand and telling your loved one that you want him or her to be well and healthy for a long time. You are also saying that you want him or her to be in your life and that cannot continue if alcohol continues to be an issue.
Always Remain Supportive
If and when you are successful at helping your loved one get started down the path to recovery, your job is to be supportive. You can be supportive by letting him or her know that you agree with the recovery process, and you are thankful that he or she is getting help. Let him or her know that you are there to be supportive and that you encourage him or her to keep up with this very valuable decision. And because recovery is a process, you may need to be supportive even if the person you love falls off the wagon.
A relapse may happen in the life of the person you love with an alcohol problem. There is no one at fault. You or they did not do anything wrong. Relapses happen. But it is important for you to continue to be support about the recovery process and make it known that you encourage trying again. Alcohol abuse programs use all different methods for helping people recover from their addictions. If one approach does not work, maybe another one will. There are ways for an alcohol addict to take back the control over his or her own life.