How to Deal With Alcoholism in a Loved One


This is the very first article is a series of Christian article posts titled 'Christian Relationship Help' which will be discussing ways of building the Christian relationship by offering advice, and bringing hitherto unminded issues to our attention; therefore helping us to deal better and have better relations with our neighbors and fellow Christians.

This particular Christian relationship help article will discuss how to deal with alcoholism in a loved one. Proverbs 20:1 says, "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise" (NIV), but you don't need a proverb to tell you that too much alcohol is a problem not only for the person who drinks but for the family members too.

Christian relationship help: How to Deal With Alcoholism in a Loved One
Helping one another in love, as Christ loved us first
Medical experts have deduced that alcoholism directly resulted in 139,000 deaths in 2013 up from 112,000 deaths in 1990. A total of 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol. It often reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years.

Principles to deal with alcoholism in a loved one

Here are some principles that will show you how to deal with a loved one whose drinking bothers you:

1). Face the Truth.

One of the common components of alcoholism is denial. The drinker denies there is a problem and the family often denies that alcohol is the problem. Facing the truth allows you to direct your emotional energy into figuring out how to respond to the drinking. You won't be making good choices about anything as long as you are in denial. And don't worry about whether your loved one is an alcoholic or just drinks too much. If it is a problem for you, then you need to deal with it.

2). Detach with Love.

It is easy to focus all your time and energy onto the drinker. You want to make the drinking stop by forcing your loved one to admit there is a problem and then to want to change. If it worked, it would be worth it; but it doesn't. It only robs you of the ability to enjoy your own life. Instead, you need to learn how to live your own life, while treating your loved one with dignity and kindness while allowing him/her to be self-responsible. You do this by recognizing that your loved one has the right to make personal choices, but also has the responsibility to deal with the consequences.

3). Set your Boundaries.

Once you admit there is a problem and then let go of trying to force your loved one to change, you will have to figure out what you will and will not do about the many difficult situations you are faced with as a result of your loved one's choices. It takes time to figure out what your bottom line is and even more courage to draw the line and then back it up with consequences, so be patient with yourself while you are trying to figure out your boundaries.

4). Seek medical help

Treatments are varied because there are multiple perspectives of alcoholism. Those who approach alcoholism as a medical condition or disease recommend differing treatments from, for instance, those who approach the condition as one of social choice. Most treatments focus on helping people discontinue their alcohol intake, followed up with life training and/or social support to help them resist a return to alcohol use.

Since alcoholism involves multiple factors which encourage a person to continue drinking, they must all be addressed to successfully prevent a relapse. An example of this kind of treatment is detoxification followed by a combination of supportive therapy, attendance at self-help groups, and ongoing development of coping mechanisms.

This Christian relationship help article offers you four principles that show you how to deal with alcoholism in a loved one. You may read the NEXT Christian relationship help article here: The Four Types of Emotional Manipulators.

God bless us all!

Also read: What Makes You A Christian? What Gives You That Right?

Author Bio
Written by Karla Downing with editing and contributions from Ikenna Adimekwe.
Karla Downing offers relationship help as a speaker, author, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Bible study teacher, and mentor for women and men in difficult relationships. She grew up in a dysfunctional family and found herself in a difficult marriage. Through her personal struggles and professional experience, she discovered Biblical and practical principles that she now teaches to others to change their lives and relationships.

1). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Alcoholism. Retrieved 2.12.2016 from