Do You Love an Alcoholic? Ė Stop
Rescuing and Enabling (Part 1)
by Angie Lewis
Do you love an alcoholic? How can you live with an
alcoholic and love them at the same time? Very carefully. Itís true,
it is very difficult to live with an alcoholic, but people do it all the
time. Alcohol controls the mind and spirit of a person, so in affect as
long as the alcoholic is drinking you will not get much love in return.
Being married to an alcoholic is not a reason for divorce. It is reason
for helping your loved one with the disease. Alcohol addiction is called
the insidious disease for a reason.
It breaks up homes, kills lives, and keeps them from discovering
the Creator. Can it get
anymore insidious than that?
A person who drinks excessively is called an
alcoholic but that is not who they are. A person who drives a truck is
called a trucker, but that is not who they are. I believe alcohol
addiction to be a phase or transition of a personís life, meaning it
can be temporary. But many alcoholics become sober only to start
drinking again, soon after, why? It is because they think they are in
control of their addiction, but they arenít.
If a person truly wants to get sober and stay sober, they will.
The person behind the destruction and deception of
alcohol is a totally different person when they have been sober for six
months. A sober alcoholic can be a very loving and spiritual human being
who is able to discern right from wrong and able to live a happy and
abundant life. As long as the alcoholic remains drinking, his true
character remains hidden from others, and will be under the control of
the drink in every aspect of his life.
What can you do for the alcoholic in your life? The
first step in helping them is to first help yourself. Become
knowledgeable about the disease. Once you realize the impact of how your
actions may be affecting the alcoholic in your life, you can detach
properly from their destructive behavior.
Detaching can be difficult to do but if you love the alcoholic
and want to be supportive, detaching with love is the way to go.
Are you enabling your loved one to drink? Are you
rescuing them from their problems and responsibilities? Ask yourself
these questions to find out?
Am I doing anything that would enable the alcoholic
Am I doing anything that would facilitate the alcoholicís behavior?
Am I doing anything that would rescue the alcoholic from his problems?
Am I getting driven into the disease with the alcoholic?
The only way to truly be supportive is donít
rescue, donít enable, and donít allow yourself to get driven into
the disease with them. Here are some of the ways you enable the
You enable when you take up the slack for the
alcoholic by doing their chores, duties and responsibilities. You enable
when you give the alcoholic money or buy them booze.
You enable when you drink with them, or when you do anything to help the
alcoholic to continue to live his alcoholic lifestyle and not realize
that he has a drinking problem. If you do everything for him, how will
Here are some of the ways you would rescue the
alcoholic? You rescue when you sweep the alcoholicís messes under the
rug. The alcoholic NEEDS to be responsible for his own mess. You rescue
when you lie for them. You rescue when you bail them out of jail or pay
court fees for them.
Understand that the enabler/rescuer, which is you,
help the alcoholic to continue drinking when you unintentionally become
entangled within the deception of the disease with them. Remember,
alcoholism is an insidious disease, and it will trap you in its grip if
you allow it to. Donít allow this to happen, or there will be no hope
in the alcoholic to ever stop drinking.
How would you become driven into the disease with
the alcoholic? By trying to control the alcoholic and how and when he
drinks. By threatening the alcoholic with angry words and name calling,
you are driving yourself into alcoholism. Donít fuss, fight, argue,
plead or try to control the alcoholic Ė it wonít work!
When the alcoholic spouse tells you they are sorry
for anything bad they did against the marriage or you, they probably are
really sorry, but that does not mean that it wonít happen again. An
alcoholic canít control their actions once they start drinking. The drinking is what makes them out of control and under the
enslavement of the disease.
There is great hope for the alcoholic in your life,
if you take care of yourself first, by not enabling, rescuing or getting
driven into the disease. Once you are aware of what you should and
should not do, you will be free to set boundaries for yourself in the
home. An alcoholic will not abide by any boundaries, so it would be
fruitless to try. You are setting boundaries for your own spiritual,
mental, and emotional well-being, not the alcoholicís.
See part 2 on setting boundaries for you!