Survival Strategies for Living with An Alcoholic


  • Author Felice Block
  • Published June 28, 2011
  • Word count 375

Millions of people suffer every day as a result of a family member who is an alcoholic.

In the year 2000, the American Journal of Public Health reported approximately one in four children under the age of 18 is exposed to family alcoholism, addiction, or alcohol abuse.

How many families live on your block? Now estimate one in four of those families; it's safe to assume some of these children and families are living down your street. Or maybe, it's your own family dealing with this problem.

Alcoholics and the people closest to them are in denial. Denial is your mind's natural way of shutting off a reality that is too painful to face. Denial helps them face another day.

Eventually, the havoc and emotional pain of living and loving an alcoholic becomes so strong that denial no longer works. Reality hits hard and they must face the problem.

Is it possible to live with and love an alcoholic? The answer is yes! Here are some strategies:

Stop Self Blame

Blaming yourself hurts only you and doesn't stop the drinking. There is NOTHING you can do to stop it.

Focus on Yourself

You've spent years nagging, pleading to no avail. It's time to heal thyself.

Empower Yourself

You can't control the alcoholic, but you CAN control how YOU respond to him or her.

Detach with Love

Let him or her experience the consequences of their behavior while letting go of resentments. It is unrealistic to think you can instantly give up your anger. Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.

Alcoholism is a Disease Not a Weakness

Educate yourself about the disease of alcoholism; read all you can, check out the Internet sites below, go to a 12 STEP meeting. You'll find you are not alone!

Isolation feeds the shame and pain you experience. Millions of people struggle with the same issues as you. Twelve Step groups can give the support you need on a daily basis.

Be Patient With Yourself

You didn't get to the intense pain you are in now over night. Likewise, healing won't happen over night. It is a slower process for some. Stay with it. Keep focused on your own recovery!

Internet Resources

Al-anon Alateen (Northern Illinois)

Al-anon Alateen (National)

Co-Dependents Anonymous

For more information about Felice Block, MA, LCPC, please visit her website at to learn about her counseling, public speaking, and training services.

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