Anyone who says that alcohol is not a powerful substance has obviously never shared a living space with someone who suffers from alcoholism. If you suspect that your loved one is an alcoholic, it’s best to understand the signs of alcoholism. The effects of alcohol are many. Alcohol changes people according to individual personality traits. This is why some alcoholics become unreasonable and some higher-functioning alcoholics behave in strange calculated ways. Whatever the type of alcoholic you are living with, the stress can be tremendous.
Most of the time, alcoholics are erratic in behavior, have a skewed sense of responsibility, and make poor social and financial decisions. If someone is violent toward others because of their alcoholism, they should be lawfully removed from a living situation. If an alcoholic is seeking treatment, household members should be aware of certain struggles that they are experiencing.
Dependence on alcohol changes brain chemistry. It is common for someone who relies on alcohol to wake up and immediately have a drink. If you suspect your loved one is an alcoholic, it’s likely that he or she is consumed with thoughts of alcohol at all times.
The Mind of a Recovering Alcoholic
If someone has the disposition toward alcoholism, they are faced with internal problems that other people never have to overcome. Most people will have healthy coping mechanism for dealing with stressful situations. An alcoholic only has one coping mechanism for stress: alcohol. It’s important to realize that if your loved one is new to recovery, they may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with the stresses of normal life.
When someone is in recovery, retraining the brain and body to function normally without alcohol is difficult. It takes a long period of time and can require plenty of replacement stimulus sources. It’s important that the alcoholic in question finds healthy habits to replace his or her old destructive habit. It’s not enough to just stop drinking; a recovering alcoholic must fill his or her life with something new—whether that’s Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, volunteer works, new hobbies, or all of the above.
Another helpful tool for anyone who is living with an alcoholic is Al-Anon. Al-Anon is the sister organization to Alcoholics Anonymous that is meant for family, friends, and loved ones of alcoholics. It can be immensely helpful to be among a group of people who understand what you are going through and can offer you advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to listen.
It can be frustrating when you live with an alcoholic, but if he or she is willing to stop drinking, it’s important that you are supportive in this. This might mean driving them to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. This might mean not drinking yourself even though you are able to drink in moderation. This might mean being supportive and helpful in the event of a relapse.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment
If you are living with an alcoholic who is in active addiction, the most important thing is that you convince them to seek treatment for alcohol addiction. It is true that a person needs to want to give up drinking on their own, and if they are just doing it solely for you, recovery may not last. However, sometimes an alcoholic needs a push from a loved one to get into a treatment program. And while they are in the program, they discover that they want to get into recovery not only for their loved ones but for themselves.