For those whose lives have been affected by a loved one struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to remember that alcoholism is a life-altering disease, not a lack of self-control. It’s a disease that wreaks havoc upon the addict’s mental and physical state. It also takes a toll on the lives of their spouses and family members. When long-awaited sobriety finally comes, family members may face uncertainties and worries as to how to best support a loved one who is now sober. Consider these tips for living with a sober alcoholic.
Prepare for Intense Emotions
Recovery can be a roller coaster of emotions for the sober alcoholic as they learn to live without depending on alcohol. Your loved one may face periods of intense emotions like anger or sadness as they learn to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. The best thing you can do in the midst of this is be ready and willing to listen to their frustrations and be sure not to blame yourself for their emotional difficulties, whether it’s anger or sadness.
Focus on Communication
Developing communication and listening skills can go a long way in supporting your loved one’s recovery. Listen first. It may be helpful to repeat what your loved one is expressing to let them know you understand their perspective, and so they feel heard in the conversation. Respond clearly and patiently, without placing blame or criticizing.
Take Care of Your Own Health
When living with a sober alcoholic and supporting your loved one, be sure to take care of your own health as well. Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat healthy foods. Counseling may help you approach the situation with more peace, as well. Caring for yourself can enable you to better support and encourage your loved one in their recovery and sobriety.
Understand Relapse Risks and Signs
Living with a sober alcoholic, you should be well-aware of any signs of relapse. Catching these early will help you to better support them through the ups and downs of recovery and get them the help they need as soon as they need it. Signs of relapse may include a loss of interest in hobbies that they previously enjoyed, a change in behavior, sudden moodiness, spending time with friends they would previously drink with, or talking excessively about alcohol.
Focus on Forgiveness
You and your loved one may have a great deal of frustration, anger, and hurt built up between you as a result of alcoholism. Recovery is the best time to work on addressing these issues by focusing on forgiveness. Doing so will help you acknowledge the reality of the past, let go of it, and move forward together in a life without the damaging influence of alcohol.
Consider the Sanctuary Recovery Foundation
If you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC. We would love to talk to you about how we can help. Contact us today for more information.