Alcohol Codependence

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is not only a problem for the patient and their family but is also a serious problem for society as a whole. Undoubtedly, it is difficult for an alcohol addict to cope with their illness on their own, especially when their condition has been prolonged, so the intervention of specialists and undergoing professional treatment is essential.

What are the symptoms of alcohol dependence?

Alcoholism is evidential when three or more of the following signs have been present in the last one year:

  • strong desire to consume alcohol, which takes place as an internal compulsion;
  • strong desire to consume alcohol, which takes place as an internal compulsion;
  • lack of possibility to control the quantity of use and its beginning and end;
  • drinking to relieve abstinence symptoms (anxiety, headache, tremors, nausea, etc.) with the idea that this will help to improve the condition;
  • falling into a state of abstinence;
  • development of tolerance to alcohol – the body becomes so accustomed to alcohol that much larger doses are needed to achieve the desired effect;
  • consumption of alcohol without regard to anything – it does not matter what time it is and regardless of social norms for acceptable drinking;
  • lack of interest in carrying out activities that were previously important for the person and gave them pleasure;
  • alcohol consumption, despite the visible bad consequences – physical, mental, social, etc.

How to help the alcohol addict and ourselves?

  1. Get rid of guilt
    It is normal, when your loved ones have a problem with alcohol, to blame you. They will often say, “The most common reason I drink is you!” Do not believe them. If your loved one is an alcoholic, they will drink no matter what you tell them. It is not your fault. Alcohol dependence has gained the upper hand over common sense and you need to act. There is no time for accusations but for decision-making.
  2. Do not try to control the addict’s drinking

    In many families with alcohol dependence, one of the partners tries to limit the alcohol of the other. Unfortunately, the result in these cases is the same – negative emotions, loneliness and frustration. You may think this is the way to go, but you had better look for a specialist to help you start solving the problem. When an alcoholic reaches a crisis point, it usually helps them to accept that they have a problem and should seek help. But if their family and friends rush to “rescue” them from the crisis, it could delay the search for help. Let the crisis situation happen. For those who love the addicted person it is difficult to stand idly by. But sometimes just such a situation is necessary for the addict to take matters into their own hands. Ultimately, the decision to change must be made by them.

  3. Do not try to treat it yourself

    Many people do not realize how fatal the outcome of alcohol dependence can be. It progresses, leading to a number of changes in the body and behaviour of the addict.
    Addiction is a brain disease. You are not a specialist, so it is better to seek help from a professional in this situation.The alcoholics go through several stages before they are ready for change. Only if the addict realizes that they need help, then it is time for it. In all other cases, your help will meet resistance and misunderstanding.

  4. Stop covering up or apologizing the unacceptable behaviour.

    Unacceptable behaviour most often begins with a small incident in a family that everyone forgets about. This could be the theft of a wallet, car or other item. It can be aggressive behaviour that has led to physical violence. After a time, this will be repeated but on a larger scale and so on until things escalate to the end. By keeping silent, we accept such unacceptable behaviour, which affects our lives and those we love. It is important to protect your children from such behaviour because it is unacceptable and harmful to them. Remember that you always have a choice. Make a decision and change the situation. The solution is to discuss the problem openly and take measures to solve it.

  5. Stop expecting them to become aware of the problem and that things will change

    Do not expect honesty from someone who do not trust themselves. Unfortunately, for alcoholics, promises do not work because they do not keep them. Promises to themselves, and what is left is for you. Save your lost time, nerves and faith in unreal things. It is better to seek help and a place for treatment to deal with alcohol dependence.

  6. You need to part with the past and live in the present

    The key to solving the problem of alcoholism in the family is to stay focused in the present. Alcohol dependence is a progressive disease, i.e. it deepens until the patient seeks help and takes treatment to deal with their addiction. You must not allow the disappointments and mistakes of the past to affect your choices today because circumstances have probably changed.

  7. Do not let the pain of their behaviour hurt you

    If your loved one faints in the yard and you gently move them to the bed at home, only you feel pain from what has happened. The focus is on what you did for them – you “moved” them – instead of “what they did to bring them to this state.” If you just let them wake up outside alone, be seen by the neighbours, feel uncomfortable and guilty, they will see the problem. It is cruel and often difficult to watch our loved ones suffer but this is the way to help them. Only when they experience their own suffering will they feel the real need to change and take matters into their own hands.

  8. Adequate self-care is an opportunity to help the addict

    You may not have complete control over the situation but at least you can make sure that alcohol does not completely take over your life and thoughts. Take care of yourself – this is the only way you will act in favour of the addicted loved one, who, after realizing the problem will need you as support during the next stages of the treatment.