How to Support an Alcoholic in Recovery

Living with an alcoholic can be very difficult and emotionally draining. It is important to remember that the alcoholic is not in control of their drinking and that it is a disease.

It is important to get the alcoholic into treatment and to get the family into counseling or support groups.

It is important to remember to take care of yourself and to set boundaries when it comes to the alcoholic’s drinking. It is important to recognize that there is no “cure” for alcoholism, and that it is a lifelong battle.

It is also important to remember that you are not responsible for the alcoholic’s drinking and that it is not your fault.

Definition of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by an addiction to alcohol. People who suffer from alcoholism have an intense craving for alcohol and are unable to control their drinking.

Alcoholism can have serious and long-term health effects, including liver damage, high blood pressure, brain damage, and an increased risk of cancer. It can also have a devastating impact on relationships, work, and finances.

Treatment for alcoholism typically includes counseling, medication and support groups.

Overview of the Challenges Faced by those in Recovery 

Recovery from substance use disorder is a long and difficult journey. Individuals in recovery face a variety of challenges, including physical, emotional, and social obstacles.

These obstacles can include physical withdrawal symptoms, cravings, lack of support, financial instability, and difficulty finding or maintaining employment.

In addition, individuals in recovery may struggle with establishing and maintaining healthy relationships, managing triggers, and navigating the stigma of addiction.

Recovery requires an ongoing commitment and dedication to self-care, self-reflection, and accountability. With the right support, individuals in recovery can overcome the challenges they face and find lasting recovery.

How Alcoholism Affects Loved Ones

Alcoholism can have a devastating impact on loved ones. It can lead to a wide range of issues, including financial difficulties, strained relationships, communication problems, and even physical and emotional abuse.

  • The family members of an alcoholic often feel overwhelmed and helpless, worrying about their loved one and feeling powerless to help.
  • They may also experience feelings of guilt and shame, as well as fear, anger, and sadness.
  • Loved ones often feel they should be able to “fix” the problem and suffer when they can’t.
  • They also have to deal with the unpredictable behavior of their loved one, which can be difficult and unpredictable.

Ultimately, alcoholism can be very damaging to family relationships and can cause long-term emotional and psychological damage to those affected.

Ways to Support an Alcoholic in Recovery

  1. Educate yourself. Learn about the disease of alcoholism and the recovery process. You can find helpful information from books, websites, support groups, and counseling.
  2. Don’t enable. Provide emotional support, but don’t make excuses for the alcoholic’s behavior or cover up for them. Make sure to let them know that you care about them, but also be clear that their drinking is unacceptable.
  3. Encourage treatment. Let them know that there is help available and that you want to support them in getting it. Offer to accompany them to a doctor’s appointment or to a support group.
  4. Be patient. Recovery is a process that can take time. Don’t expect overnight miracles, but be supportive and encouraging throughout the process.
  5. Be available. Offer ongoing support, even when the alcoholic is struggling. Let them know that you are there for them and willing to listen and help in any way you can.
  6. Reach out for help. If you find yourself struggling to support the alcoholic in recovery, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources available both in person and online.

Avoid Enabling or Codependent Behavior 

Enabling or codependent behavior is a pattern of behavior where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility or under-achievement.

Avoiding this type of behavior is important in order to protect one’s own mental health and well-being.

To avoid enabling or codependent behavior, it’s important to set and maintain healthy boundaries. This includes: 

  • Setting clear limits and expectations with the other person and not giving in to their demands or requests.
  • Learning how to communicate assertively and resist being manipulated or taken advantage of.
  • Practicing self-care, such as engaging in activities that make you feel good and learning how to recognize and regulate your own emotions.
  • Recognizing that you are not responsible for the other person’s behavior and to avoid trying to control or fix them.
  • Seeking support from friends, family, or professionals if you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope.

How to Set Boundaries While Being Supportive

  1. Be honest and direct about your feelings: If you have been negatively affected by your loved one’s drinking, then it is important to be honest and direct about how it makes you feel.
  2. Express your needs clearly: Make it clear to your loved one what you need from them in order to maintain a healthy relationship. It is important to be firm but to also show understanding and compassion.
  3. Set limits and boundaries: It is important to set limits and boundaries so that your loved one knows what is acceptable and what is not. This will help create a sense of security and will ensure that you are not enabling bad behavior.
  4. Take care of yourself first: It is important to always prioritize your own well-being before anything else. If you feel like you are at risk of being taken advantage of or hurt, then it is important to remove yourself from the situation.
  5. Seek professional help: If the situation is becoming too difficult to manage on your own, then it is important to seek professional help. This could be through counseling or support groups.

Therapy and Support for Loved Ones

Therapy and support can be invaluable for families of alcoholics. Families of alcoholics often experience a wide range of emotions, including fear, guilt, anger, and helplessness.

  • Therapy can help these families to process their emotions and to learn how to cope with the issues that arise from living with an alcoholic.
  • Support groups offer additional sources of support and can provide a safe space for families to learn from each other and to share their experiences.

Therapy and support can help families to better understand their loved one’s addiction, to find healthier ways of responding to the situation, and to create a healthier environment for everyone involved.

Help for Recovering Alcoholics

Here are some of the most helpful resources for alcoholics:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): AA is an international organization offering support for people in recovery from alcohol addiction. AA meetings provide an anonymous and safe environment to discuss struggles and successes in recovery.
  2. Inpatient Treatment Centers: Rehab centers provide intensive, structured treatment programs for alcohol addiction. Treatment programs typically include detox, individual and group counseling, medical monitoring and educational classes.
  3. Support Groups: Support groups are an important part of recovery from alcohol addiction. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment to share stories, gain insight, and offer encouragement to each other.
  4. Online Resources: There are many online resources available to assist people in recovery from alcohol addiction. These resources provide information on recovery, support groups, and treatment options.
  5. Professional Counseling: Professional counseling can be very beneficial for people in recovery from alcohol addiction. Professional counselors can provide individual and group counseling, and help individuals create an effective recovery plan.

Healthy habits and Lifestyle Changes Needed for Recovery

  1. Make a commitment to yourself to get help and stay sober.
  2. Reach out to a support system, such as family, friends, or a 12-step program.
  3. Avoid triggers and situations that may lead to drinking.
  4. Practice mindful activities such as yoga and meditation.
  5. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals.
  6. Exercise regularly to help manage stress and anxiety.
  7. Get adequate sleep and rest.
  8. Participate in enjoyable activities and hobbies.
  9. Learn healthy coping skills to replace drinking.
  10. Reach out for help when needed.

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

The disease model of alcoholism is a medical model of addiction that views alcoholism as an illness or disease. It holds that alcoholism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and is characterized by a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.

The disease model suggests that individuals with alcoholism are unable to control their drinking, despite the harmful consequences that result from it. 

Living with a Recovering Alcoholic

Living with a recovering alcoholic can be a challenging and rewarding experience.

It is important to be supportive and understanding of the individual’s journey towards sobriety. Respect the person’s need for privacy, and encourage them to seek help if needed.

It is important to be aware of the triggers that can lead to a relapse, such as any events or settings that may serve as a reminder of the individual’s drinking past.

Encourage other activities that can help maintain sobriety, such as support groups, counseling, exercise, and spending time with friends and family.

Be open and honest about your concerns and expectations. Provide a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere for the individual to express their feelings. Above all, it is essential to be patient and understanding as the individual works to rebuild their life.

The Journey of Recovery

Do you have a loved one needing help for alcoholism? Is their alcoholism having are? If so, give Luxe Recovery a call to discuss the various treatment options we have available to help.

Our admissions team are happy to help you and your loved one on the journey to recovery.  

You can fill out this form or call us directly

    Accreditations & Memberships

    Luxe Recovery BBB Business Review

    License #191121AP Expires: 11/30/2025

    Luxe Recovery

    One of the Best Rehabs in California for Drug, Alcohol, and Mental Health Treatment.

    Scroll to Top