When people drink excessively, it not only affects their actions and their heath, but it also deeply affects those around them. Friends and family of an excessive drinker or alcoholic often change their lives to protect and/or accommodate what this person does and feels – in effect, “enabling” their loved one’s drinking problem.
Have you ever:
Made excuses for someone’s behavior or absences due to their drinking?
Had to change plans suddenly because of loved one’s drinking habits?
Done something for your friend or family member that they are completely capable of doing, but they couldn’t do at that time because they had too much to drink?
Called a person into work “sick”, because they were under the influence or too hung over to go into the office?
Tried to hide or throw away alcoholic beverages to get them to stop drinking – even for that day?
Made them feel guilty, or accused them of not caring about you and/or their family enough in an attempt to stop them from drinking?
Felt hopeless, frustrated and out of control because of another’s drinking problem?
These are oftentimes symptoms of being an enabler. We enablers mistakenly believe we are helping our loved one by protecting them, or shaming or accusing them in an effort to get them to stop drinking, but in fact we make the situation worse.
The first thing you need to understand is that you are not the cause of their problem drinking.
The second thing you need to understand is that you can’t “fix” the excessive drinker, nor can you force them to stop drinking or accept treatment.
What you can do is accept the support of programs available to help you with getting control of your own feelings of hopelessness and despair and give you the tools you need to learn a better way of life and find happiness – for you.
Learn about Codependency and/or seek assistance with a qualified Codependent Counselor. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program that can refer you to a local resource. A good website to check out is http://www.codependents.org/ .
A final note: While the one you care about needs your love and support, the primary person you should be focusing on is yourself. You will be able to be in helping your loved one seek help when you are experiencing well-being.