You know alcoholism is a disease. It’s a disease that relies heavily on people giving a “helping hand” so that the alcoholic can continue to drink and feed his illness. It is not his fault. It’s the nature of the disease. Statistics show that an average of 8 people enable an alcoholic so that he continues to drink or use. 

What is enabling? 

Enabling is doing something for someone else that they can normally do for themselves under normal circumstances. For example, a normally functioning adult, under normal circumstances, can do his or her laundry. She can drive herself to her job. He can call his work if he’s sick. Do you get the picture? 

When you step in to do something for your alcoholic loved one that he should be doing for himself, you are enabling him to continue with his addiction. In order for him to get better, he must feel and experience each and every consequence of his actions. He cannot do this if you or anyone else is stepping in to remove his consequences. 

You’re a nice person and nice people do things for others right? 

That is true. However, alcoholism is a strange and baffling disease that is not only physical, emotional, and spiritual, but also behavioral and social. As long as someone else is doing something for him that he should do for himself, the disease will stay. It’s weird, but that’s the way this disease works. 

If you want a chance that he will sober up and get into recovery, when you stop enabling, it’s more likely to happen. 

Here are 10 ways to stop enabling:

  1. Do not lend or give him money at all, not even a dime. 
  2. Do not pour out his drinks.
  3. Do not buy her alcohol or drugs, never ever, never, never. 
  4. Do not make excuses for her behavior. It’s her behavior, not yours. 
  5. Do not call him in sick at work or lie to cover up his behavior. 
  6. Do not ridicule him, make fun of him or humiliate him. 
  7. Do not let him live at your place rent free. 
  8. Do not pick her up, clean her up, get her undressed or move her to a bed. Let her wake up in her own vomit, on the floor, or in the car. 
  9. Do not ever think or believe that this is your fault. 
  10. Set healthy boundaries and keep them. 

Finally, you are not punishing your alcoholic loved one. You are not being cruel. You are helping him realize the impact of his own actions. By stepping aside you are actually helping him get better. He may be angry but, “So what?” Anger comes when he sees his world unraveling before his eyes and that’s is what needs to happen as he’s hitting bottom. He needs to hit his bottom to get better. 

#alcoholism #enabling #health 

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Many myths and misconceptions surround the disease of alcoholism, one of which is that it’s not a disease. Rest assured, according to the medical definition of the word disease, it is most definitely categorized as a disease and has been recorded as such in American medical books since the 1800s. Let’s demystify alcoholism by these facts. Please share this with friends and family members who are skeptical about alcoholism. 

  1. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, and fatal disease

A chronic disease is defined as one, which is ongoing and doesn’t go away on its own. Examples of chronic diseases are diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is progressive meaning, if left untreated, it will get worse over time. Finally, alcoholism is a fatal disease. The progression of alcoholism will lead to an untimely death. 

  1. Alcoholism does not discriminate between gender, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, level of education, or career choice. 

Anyone can become an alcoholic. Studies show that alcoholism hits harder with certain genetic predispositions and/ or certain ethnicities. Men seem to be more predisposed to alcoholism than women.  The Irish seem to be more predisposed than Asians. But all in all, no one group is completely excluded from being a victim to alcoholism. 

  1. You do not need to drink every day to be an alcoholic. 

Most often, drinking alcohol daily is not seen until late stage alcoholism (Stage 3 alcoholism). Binge drinking once weekly or even once monthly can qualify you as an alcoholic. Binge drinking means drinking more than 5 drinks in a period (a day or evening, for example) for a man or more than 4 drinks for a woman. One drink is a 12 oz glass of beer, 8-9 fluid ounces of malt liquor, a 5 fluid oz glass of wine or 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits. 

  1. You can have a job, have a home and pay your bills and still be an alcoholic. 

Many people think that in order to be qualified as an alcoholic they need to be homeless and eating out of trash cans. This is a common misconception. More often than not, alcoholics are high-functioning for a long time. 

  1. Alcohol misuse contributes to 88,000 deaths in the United States each year. And 1 in 10 deaths in all working adults are due to alcohol misuse (abuse). 

Alcohol misuse is a contributor to over 350 diseases and disorders. 

  1. Approximately 21 million adults in the United States suffer from Alcoholism or medically referred to as alcohol misuse disorder. However, only 10% are receiving treatment for alcoholism. 

Take into account that these numbers include those who are diagnosed. There are many more who will never be diagnosed by a medical professional. Do you see that your loved one is not the only one? Alcoholism is a very common disease, though it still lurks in the darkness. 

  1. One-third of all alcoholics die by suicide each year.  

Other alcohol-related untimely deaths include: accidents and injuries, liver disease, cancers and heart attacks. 

  1. Abstinence is the only way to arrest the disease of alcoholism. 

Alcoholics who want to get better and enter recovery must stop alcohol consumption and must not consume any other mind-altering substance. If an alcoholic goes back to drinking or using after a period of abstinence, the disease often comes back faster and stronger than before. 

  1. Alcoholism does tend to run in families. 

There is hard scientific evidence of a genetic link to alcoholism. Environmental factors, such as growing up in an alcoholic home, seem to contribute to the behavioral factors in alcoholism. 

  1. Early intervention and prevention work to get people on the road to recovery. 

Education and awareness start with you. You can help lift the disease of alcoholism out of the darkness by helping others understand the nature of the disease. You can help them know that it’s not shameful or a moral failing but a disease that can be treated. 

#alcoholism #addiction #alcoholic #recovery #sobriety #AlcoholicsAnonymous #AlAnon #ACOA

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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.

#addiction #alcoholic #alcoholism #ACOA #AlcoholicSpouse #AlcoholicHusband #recovery #sobriety

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