A powerful theme in advice for families and friends is continuing to love the problem drinker unconditionally – being supportive, offering encouragement, and not abandoning him or her.
One husband says “Work with them to recognize that you care for them but that their behavior is harmful to themselves and others.”
A wife says, “Reassure them that you love them unconditionally – that you will be there for them, but that does not include picking up the pieces for them.”
A somewhat different but important message is to “be supportive and nonjudgmental – as much as you can without compromising yourself.”
A husband sums it up: “Love from family can be crucial to the alcoholic’s recovery. It does not necessarily include acceptance of the alcoholic’s drinking. Make it clear that it is the drinking and not the person that you do not accept.”
One way to show your love and support is to provide positive reinforcement for sober behavior. A partner suggests, “Find opportunities for pleasant relating when the person is sober. Express a desire for unencumbered relating, as in ’I can enjoy you more when you are sober.’” He adds, “But this is very unlikely to have any effect when the person is under the influence.”
|Another Chance: Hope and Health for the Alcoholic Family|