After spending another Christmas with a partner who drinks too much, you may be feeling exhausted, worried and concerned about what to do next.
Alcoholism is a destructive disease, and the person suffering with it will likely be blind to the damage that they have caused. But, the erratic, dangerous and damaging behaviour will have taken its toll on you and others close by. If you are feeling confused, angry, upset and worried about the year ahead, that is completely understandable.
Within this blog, we will outline the support that is available to you and your significant other, and the steps that you can take to look after yourself at this difficult time.
Have you witnessed these common alcohol behaviours?
A person suffering with an alcohol addiction will often present behaviours such as:
- Acting defensively when their alcohol intake is mentioned in conversations
- Neglecting responsibilities, such as missing work and forgetting childcare duties
- Neglecting their personal hygiene and appearance
- Drinking in secret, including hiding alcohol in secret places
- Going missing for long periods that are not accounted for
- Finding excuses to drink, ranging from having a hard day, being stressed, receiving good or bad news, or wanting to celebrate
- Engaging in actions that are irresponsible, unsafe or illegal
You likely witnessed some of these behaviours over the festive period. You may have also found that their actions worsened, as it can be a time when addiction behaviours do become more pronounced.
Ways to cope with alcoholic behaviour
If you are looking to take action in the New Year, we have outlined some practical steps that you can put in place to stop alcohol addiction from having such a damaging impact on you:
Set clear boundaries
Setting boundaries can help you gain back control of your life. Create a list of their behaviours that are unacceptable. This could include being verbally abusive, stealing and driving intoxicated. Create a list of actions that will be taken if these boundaries are crossed. This could include walking away, refusing their phone calls, leaving the home or even calling the police.
Setting these boundaries can be frightening but by sticking to them, you will remain in control and stop the addiction from damaging you so much.
Look after your own health and wellbeing
Learn to place value on yourself again and remind yourself that you are more than the spouse of an alcoholic. You can do this by reconnecting with friends or family members, and restarting activities and hobbies you once enjoyed. If you find that your focus starts to shift towards the addicted partner, bring it back to yourself. Remember, you are important and deserve to have your own time.
Go to support groups and seek professional support
There are a number of support groups available to families of alcoholics, such as Families Anonymous and Al Anon. These types of groups provide the opportunity to meet other people who are dealing with similar situations. You will have the chance to share your story, vent your feelings and speak about your fears.
Find support in Woking
Here at Life Works, we help to support individuals and families dealing with addiction. If you are seeking support for yourself or a loved one, you are welcome to talk to one of our team on the phone or come in for a visit and a free assessment. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have and also to be able to take a look around the clinic for yourself.
If you would like information on treatment and rehabilitation programmes, please call: 0808 159 5652 or click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.
This blog was reviewed by Siobhan Ward (BA(Hons) Graphic Design, MSc in Addiction Psychology and Counselling, PgDip in Addiction Psychology and Counselling), Addiction Programme Lead at Life Works.
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