I Love an Alcoholic or Addict: How Do I Help Him or Her? The answer to this question involves issues pertaining to the one with the disease of addiction as well as those in relationship with that person. I’ll just comment on some of the ways the loved one can help the addicted person. Often the best way to help an addict or alcoholic is to stop trying to help the addicted person and to allow him/her to experience the pain and consequences that naturally flow from the irresponsible, negative behaviors of out-of-control drug or alcohol use. The focus for the loved one of the addicted person needs to shift from obsessing about the alcoholic or addict and how to fix or rescue him/her, to changing things over which the loved one does have control, namely, his/her own reactions to the alcoholic or addict. The 12 Step Programs for loved ones of an addicted person, Al-Anon, Nar- Anon, or Families Anonymous, have for many years taught the “Three C’s”: I didn’t Cause the addiction; I can’t Control the addiction; and I can’t Cure the addiction. In other words the loved one will work toward internalizing the truth of the matter: “I am powerless over the addiction of the person I love”, and, “I will work on me and how I react to the alcoholic or addict.” By ceasing to enable the alcoholic or addict to continue to drink or drug without experiencing the natural consequences of such use, the addicted person will be helped, for no addict or alcoholic begins to see the need to change without pain and consequences. So, I encourage loved ones of an addict or alcoholic to get help through therapy and/or the 12 Step Programs that focuses on change that the loved one can accomplish, thereby helping the alcoholic or addict. I invite comments on this important topic. Jan Williams, 11/21/2019.
Published by Jan Williams
Professional in the addiction field in the State of Maryland for 35 years. Held positions as Program Coordinator at the Addiction Unit at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Director of Treatment at three inpatient treatment programs, and Director of the Alcohol and Drug Education and Support Services Department at Loyola University. Worked at Loyola for 24 years, retiring in 2014. In long term recovery (42 years). View more posts