Living with an Alcoholic: Coping Strategies for Family Members

Living with an alcoholic can be a challenging experience, not just for the alcoholic themselves but also for their family members. Alcoholism is a disease that affects the entire family and can have a significant impact on relationships, finances, and emotional well-being. Coping with an alcoholic family member can be a difficult journey, but it is not impossible. In this article, we will provide you with coping strategies to help you navigate the challenges of living with an alcoholic family member.

Recognize the Signs of Alcoholism

The first step in coping with an alcoholic family member is to recognize the signs of alcoholism. Alcoholism is a progressive disease that can lead to physical and mental health problems, financial and legal troubles, and strained relationships. Some common signs of alcoholism include:

  • Drinking more than intended
  • Needing to drink to feel “normal”
  • Hiding alcohol or lying about drinking habits
  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Developing tolerance to alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking

If you notice these signs in your loved one, it may be time to seek professional help.

Set Boundaries

Living with an alcoholic family member can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. It is essential to set boundaries to protect yourself from their behavior. Boundaries can include setting limits on the amount of time you spend with them, avoiding certain situations where alcohol is present, and being clear about your expectations and consequences.

Seek Support

Living with an alcoholic family member can be isolating and lonely. It is crucial to seek support from others who understand what you are going through. Support can come in the form of a therapist, support group, or trusted friend or family member. Support groups like Al-Anon are specifically designed for family members of alcoholics and can provide a safe and supportive space to share your experiences and receive guidance.

Practice Self-Care

Caring for an alcoholic family member can be emotionally and physically draining. It is essential to prioritize your own well-being by practicing self-care. Self-care can include exercise, meditation, spending time with friends, pursuing hobbies, and seeking therapy. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is necessary to maintain your mental and emotional health.

Encourage Treatment

Alcoholism is a treatable disease, and recovery is possible. Encouraging your loved one to seek treatment can be a difficult conversation, but it is essential for their well-being and the well-being of the entire family. Treatment options for alcoholism include therapy, support groups, medication-assisted treatment, and inpatient or outpatient rehab programs. It is essential to remember that recovery is a process and may take time.

In conclusion, living with an alcoholic family member can be a challenging experience, but it is not impossible to cope. By recognizing the signs of alcoholism, setting boundaries, seeking support, practicing self-care, and encouraging treatment, you can navigate the challenges of living with an alcoholic family member. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available.

5 thoughts on “Living with an Alcoholic: Coping Strategies for Family Members”

  1. how does a person cope with the ongoing severe verbel abuse and the belittling that slowley chips away at your insanity. i need the tools to make sense of this bizar sitiation being married to a wife that refuses to see this as a problem.

  2. I can truly relate to tom. I am to be married to my boyfriend of whom I have been dating now for two and a half years. In this time I have noticed more and more the problems with drinking. We live together now. I had a hard time agreeing to do this, but I now am glad I did. I have seen the habits, been subjest to the abuse, and the lies and fighting. You name it. This coming Sat I am going to my first Al-anon meeting. He too refuses to see the problem and admitt to his anger.

  3. Tom, get into a good church and try going to a support group for YOU such as Al-anon. I know it’s hard with those we love. Take care of you and if you have kids they need you too. And pray, pray pray.

  4. I live with my Alcoholic fiancee. We have been together for three and a half years. I have a little 2 year old girl by him and a five year old son from my ex husband but my son does not know him he only knows my fiancee as his daddy. He has quit three times the longest time that he stopped was 6 months. He always finds an excuse to drink. Its very hard and very soul killing to deal with this and all I think about lately is how to let him go.. My kids are going to hurt from this, but I know it will be better for them if hes not here to teach them how to drink their life away. Its killing my soul and making me a different person. Its not fair to me or to my kids to put them through this any longer, I have given him support, I have never blown up at him for his drinking, but he is selfish and does not spend time with his family anymore, he is just getting worse. We go without while he drinks his last dime away. I’m praying for help, still not sure what to do. I feel hopeless and lost. I used to be happy now I don’t know how to make myself happy anymore. He has been drinking for over twenty years and his dad has put him in rehab two times. He has lost his family do to drinking, he choose to drink then to stay with his ex wife an son and her children. He has lost his drivers lic, he has lost his home, car and still will not change.


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