Finding Support as a Loved One of an Alcoholic

Mother consoling her daughter

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

Watching someone you love struggle with alcoholism can be an overwhelming experience. Whether this person is a spouse, a parent, a child, a distant relative or close friend, alcoholism can wreck havoc and confusion on your relationship with this loved one in your life.

You have likely encountered a myriad of emotions as you have observed someone you care for deal with alcoholism, including anger, frustration, sadness, resentment, confusion, and more.

A Difficult Process

It can be difficult to process all of these emotions, and you might even feel isolated or alone in this journey. If you are caring for a person who is suffering with alcoholism, you might even begin to feel burnt-out and exhausted in the continual giving of you for this loved one.

Traveling the ups and downs on the road of alcoholism can even cause you to feel detached, depressed, or anxious as you encounter your loved one and their struggles on a daily basis.

Finding Support for Yourself

If you have a loved one in your life who is struggling with alcoholism, it is crucial that you consider support for yourself during this period of time. Because of the fear, stigma, and shame that often surrounds alcoholism, it can be hard to reach out to others for help and support, but staying silent will only complicate things for you.

While you might find it harder to talk with your friends and families about these struggles, there are wonderful support groups that you may find beneficial. Support groups for loved ones of alcoholics can be a place of comfort, encouragement, and solace for you during a time that is often turbulent. Being able to talk and share with other individuals who have experienced something similar to what you are going through can be incredibly supportive.

You Are Not Alone

Two men in living room talkingWhile you might feel as though you are the only one who is enduring the struggles and challenges of caring for an alcoholic, there is actually an entire community of people who can likely relate to your situation. Reaching out to a support group for loved ones of alcoholics can give you the encouragement you need to endure this journey.

You might also find that others who have walked this path before you can give helpful advice and feedback for any circumstance you might find yourself in.

If you are interested in finding a support group that you can become a part of, considering searching with Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon, which help establish connections in the community of recovering alcoholics. Remember that you are not alone in this process, and your continued support of your loved one can make all the difference in their recovery journey.

Community discussion – share your thoughts here!

What challenges have you faced as you support a loved one who has struggled with alcoholism? How did you overcome these challenges?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 13th, 2015
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