Advertising
Advertising

6 Things You Need to Know If You Love a Recovering Alcoholic

6 Things You Need to Know If You Love a Recovering Alcoholic

Fighting addiction is a long and arduous process. Not only does it take courage to admit to being an addict, but taking the first step toward recovery is just as difficult. First of all, the addict himself needs to have both the need and will to go through it. Then, the loved ones need to do the same. Having each other’s support is highly important during a recovery.

Unfortunately, alcoholism is nothing new to the world, and each year we have statistics showing which country has the heaviest drinkers. More than 3 million annual deaths are related to alcohol consummation. This translates to 5.9% of all deaths, according to WHO (World Health Organisation). Moreover, people don’t just die from drinking too much alcohol, e.g. as a result of liver failure, but also from accidents cause by their impaired mental capacities, e.g. large number of car accidents, fires, or falls. Evidently, these statistics paint a very dark picture.

Nevertheless, even though alcoholics face many serious issues, they can still get out of the gutter. With a little bit of help from support groups, and friends and family, they could become healthy again. So, long as they are willing, a second chance could be around the corner. And if you are close to a recovering alcoholic, whether it’s a friendship or a love relationship, you need to understand how to deal with the situation. Here are some of the major things to know.

Advertising

1. Some problems can linger on even after the drinking stops.

As mentioned in the introduction, fighting any addiction is a process. Even though they have decided to give up alcohol, new problems could arise during the recovery process. These may or may not be related to wanting to drink again. For example, social communication could be a problem for the recovering alcoholic, and things like being unable to concentrate or be attentive. Additionally, sleep problems could occur, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, which in turn may lead to more serious issues.

All of these are possible and totally normal. It is important to know that nothing can be, nor should be, done by force. You should have patience and help them gradually crawl back into a normal routine. Moreover, you can always seek help from a professional such as a therapist.

2. Relapse can happen in moments of weakness.

This is one of the things you need to be on the alert for. The worst thing that could happen is for the recovering alcoholic to go back to his old habits. However, there are a few signs to pay attention to in order to prevent a relapse. A sudden change in behavior, such as aggressiveness or seclusion, could be first signs of giving up.

Advertising

Also, if your partner starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, once again, you should take extreme action and put a stop to it. But try and approach them in a calm manner. Any judgment or rash movement could scare them and push them away even further. You could also suggest going to an AA meeting or spending more time with their sponsor. If you are really scared or have major doubts, you can always make them take a drug test, to be sure they haven’t relapsed.

3. They will sometimes use their condition as leverage.

They will be fragile and prone to moments of sadness or depression, from time to time. They will likely use their condition to manipulate you. The important thing here is not to fall for their tricks.

They might say they are unable to do something because they are having a hard time. Or perhaps, blackmail you into giving them something because of the hardship their recovery carries. Either way, do not accept this and be strong. You will probably feel sorry for them, but you should actually push back and defy them.

Advertising

4. Love and support aren’t enough—you need to seek out professional help.

When times get rough, and when you cannot handle the situation by yourself, reach out to someone. Maybe talking to a friend or consulting with a therapist could help you relieve the excess stress. Perhaps, going to AA meetings regularly could get you through the rough patch. And you could attend those meetings together.

This would give you a different perspective on how your loved one really feels, and what are the issues at hand. In the end, you could have a couple’s therapy, if the problem is in your romantic relationship. All in all, do anything you can to help both of you.

5. Pulling them away from a bad environment may seem like you are suffocating them.

As said, you need to go above and beyond while supporting your partner. They could become weak and succumb to a temptation, such as hang around people with bad influence or bars—actually, any place that could trigger them. You shouldn’t be too hard on them in your quest of helping.

Advertising

Maybe you should keep them away from these conditions in the beginning, but as they progress, you could start involving them in social events like going out to clubs or having a drink in front of them. Be careful to do this step by step; it will be hard for them, for sure, but it is a necessity that cannot be avoided.

6. They are not the only ones who need support and understanding.

The same way your loved one needs help during this period, you will need it, too. Helping someone overcome an addiction is a demanding task, both physically and mentally. The first thing you will need to do is educate yourself on alcoholism and its consequences, as well as how to help an addict. What is more, you need to stay active all the way through the process.

Nevertheless, if you start feeling exhausted or lonely, misunderstood—ask for help. There are various support groups for friends and families of recovering alcoholics. Being in touch with people who are in the same position as you could be of great benefit. Not only will you get encouragement, but you will also be able to express yourself and your concerns along the way.

Although things can get quite difficult, it’s important to remember why you love that person and understand that he or she is going through the most difficult time of their lives. However, you should also set boundaries and find some support for yourself as well. Be strong, and take things one tiny step at a time.

More by this author

Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

10 Things To Remember If You Love A Sociopath The Smart Ways to Save Money Fast (Even If You’re a Big Spender) 5 Secrets to Being Confident and Earning People’s Respect How To Get a Killer Gym Body Without Going to the Gym 10 Sustainable Health And Fitness Habits Everyone Can Adopt

Trending in Communication

1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

Advertising

The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

Advertising

If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

Advertising

In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

Advertising

It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

More Articles About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next