Alcoholism is a sickness which can eat away at a person’s lifestyle and relationships. If you know someone who has become an alcoholic, it is worth noting a few tips for how to deal with them. If they are your friend or family member or coworker, then you will probably be spending time with them, anyway. Since they may not necessarily act like themselves all of the time due to their alcoholism, here are some helpful hints on how to interact with them and be friends with them without falling victim to this disease yourself.
Recognise that they cannot be helped by you. The only person who can help an alcoholic is the alcoholic. Many people have tried, and failed, to rehabilitate a loved one themselves. And they have spent a great deal of time and money and effort and energy and heartache attempting this. Unless they choose to change themselves and do all of the work themselves, they cannot be helped.
Anticipate and create distance when necessary. Alcoholism rarely plateaus and gives you an even level playing field. In most cases, the alcoholic will continue to disintegrate until they have very little left or until they turn themselves around. For this reason, you must protect yourself and your friendship with them by creating distance between yourself and them when it is necessary. Keep in mind that, unless they alter their behavior, you will probably be creating more and more distance as time goes on.
Expect their behavior toward you to change. Alcoholism is an all-encompassing disease, and it affects everyone around it. Your friend may imagine that you are treating them with less than their due respect, they may become angry and even violent toward for no reason, and they may imagine scenarios with you in them which are not true. Their behavior toward you will change, because their ability to reason and remember correctly will be deformed. When they become antagonistic, that is a good time to quickly get up and leave.
They may not return from their sickness. If you love them, this fact will be especially hard to accept and believe. After all, surely they can return and be the friend that you know and remember so well. However, unless they take personal responsibility for their actions and actively turn their life around and work on it day by day, this may not happen. As much as you love and care about them, they may not come back.
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