Q: I have been living with an alcoholic for 5 years now, he is not physically abusive, but he is verbally when he is drinking.
His parents have refused to help him or talk with him about his problem. They always tell me I don’t know how to advise you or help you. This shows me that they don’t care.
He has received help before and has been to prison twice because of drinking and driving. What can I do to try to help him out? He is a kind and caring person when he is not drinking. Please give me some pointers. Thank you.
A: I’m afraid you might think I’m like his family, that I don’t care.
What I think is that he knows that he received help before, so he knows that he can get it again. And for some reason you are kind of hooked into thinking that you have to solve HIS problem.
Maybe his parents have tried to help many times and learned eventually that it was all up to him. Maybe they never tried to help, since he was born. But you need to learn that’s it’s all up to him, regardless.
I strongly suggest that you look into “Alanon” groups if you haven’t already. They can help people who live with alcoholics to realize what they can and can’t do for themselves, and for the alcoholic. (I’m sure you can find a local group through the Internet, but, if not, call any “AA” group or call your local Mental Health Association.)
I admire your love. Sincerely. I just don’t want you to confuse love with allowing yourself to be mistreated. These things usually get worse over time.
We all need to love ourselves More than we love anyone else. Otherwise, things backfire.
Please put the responsibility on the only person who can change all this – the man with the alcohol problem.