Why a Normal “Prescription” Doesn’t Work in a Relationship with an Alcoholic
You see the devastation of the alcoholic in your life. You see him struggling with finances, his job and how he as a hard time keeping a place to live. You know he’s hanging around the wrong kind of people.
So you feel sorry for him. You know he’s caught up in his addiction. You love him after all. You want to help him. From time to time, you lend him money. You give him a ride or offer him a place to stay. After all, that’s what you would do for anyone else you love who’s struggling right?
Alcoholism is a strange anomaly. This disease is unlike most. The rules that apply to other diseases don’t work in alcoholism.
If your family member just had a heart attack, you would certainly stay over her house, cook her meals, take care of her kids and see to it that she got well enough to get back on her feet. Maybe you would take walks with her to help her get her heart healthy or buy her some organic fruits and vegetables to help her eat better.
Alcoholism, a multi-faceted disease, defies all logic. The prescription for healing in other diseases doesn’t work for alcoholism. In fact, the more you “help” your alcoholic loved one, the sicker he becomes. His disease will last longer with your helping hand.
It can seem completely counterintuitive for you as a loving person yourself.
Alcoholism is a physical disease. But it is also a mental, social and relationship-dependent disease. Alcoholics count on others to help them get large amounts of alcohol to keep the addiction going. Make no mistake, he is sick. But the only way he has a chance of surviving is if he feels all and every consequence of his drinking.
Statistics show that every alcoholic has an average of 8 people who enable him. The only way he will get well is if that number goes down to zero.
It’s like chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy attacks the bad cells and the good cells. In order for the bad cells to go away, some good cells must be destroyed as well. And until the pathologist sees the cancer cells hit zero, good cells will still be destroyed.
This is where you come in. If the alcoholic is your brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, lover or best friend, this is so hard to you. But as you stop enabling, you are helping him or her fight the disease. You are not fighting against your loved one. When you say, “No,” you are saying no to the alcohol. Remember that.
Stay strong and God Bless.
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