Detach, separate, walk away
Somewhat at odds with the message of continuing love and compassion is the more “tough-love” message that comes from many people – some of whom give both suggestions.
A more compassionate approach may be in order in the beginning, but a time may come, particularly after you’ve tried to help repeatedly and failed, when you need to walk away from the situation. One suggests, “If it’s adversely affecting you, don’t put up with it. It’s hard to do, but sometimes losing the people you love is what it takes for the message to sink in.”
Another advises, “Decide how much you are willing to put up with. Let the person know what will happen if he doesn’t stop. And whatever you decide, stick to it. Don’t make idle threats.” Regretting that her limits were “pretty blurred” when he was drinking, his wife suggests that you need to “set limits for yourself and be prepared to act on them. This will help you survive and communicate that there is a serious problem in the house.”
It’s essential, as one guy emphasizes, for loved ones to “firmly withdraw from the alcoholic if he threatens the family’s or any family member’s security or well-being.” Likewise, a counsellor stresses the need to separate from a drinker who is physically abusive.