This is Sally, my sister …
She died in 1987, age 28 years old
She was diagnosed as a chronic alcoholic
This week (15-21 November) is Alcohol Awareness week and the theme this year is Alcohol and Relationships.
As a family it is tough when you have someone with alcohol dependency. It is difficult to watch your family member struggle especially when they are not accepting your help.
Even though, it was more than 30 years ago, I can still remember how frustrated and inadequate we felt as a family because we weren’t able to help her nor support her enough at that time.
Alcohol when it becomes a problem, can cause a lot of issues for the people that care for them;
- The deceit – trying to cover up the drinking, hiding bottles – we were finding hidden bottles 2 years after Sally had died; buried deep in her childhood teddy bear, behind the bath panel, around the garden ……
- Mental and physical abuse
- Drinking & driving
- Disappearing for days at a time – in Sally’s case, this happened several times and we lost her for several days in Germany on one occasion
- And then of course, there is the financial impact, impact on work performance and even stealing to pay for alcohol
The people that care for them are on constant alert. All of these actions (and more besides) have a potentially devastating impact on families and cause stress which can lead to more relationship breakdowns as a result.
We tried to do everything we could to help Sally to get control of her drinking. Nothing worked because Sally just didn’t want to stop drinking and she was in a downward spiral.
The fact is that unless someone wants to stop drinking themselves, they just won’t do it – however much someone else wants them to.
And so, it is important to look after yourself and the more you focus on yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to help support your loved one.
So how can we help ourselves to help our alcoholic partner, family member or friend?
- Learn more about alcohol disorders so that you can understand what the sufferer is going through.
- How can you help them? This TED talk by Johann Hari is a must to listen to Johann Hari: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | TED Talk
- Try not to nag or accuse as this can lead to arguments and potentially stop them coming to you for help or guidance in the future.
- Don’t judge
- Don’t try and coerce them to stop drinking – they will ask for help when they are ready
- Don’t drag up the past and make them feel uncomfortable about their behaviour. It is likely they will already be feeling uncomfortable enough.
- Offer support and be empathetic, compassionate and understanding
And very important, help yourself as you are feeling overwhelmed with thoughts, worries and anxiety as well as often taking responsibility for your loved one’s behaviours. And we often want to do everything we can to make an impact in order to force them to change, but the only person we can truly change is ourselves.
- Attend support groups, such as Al-Anon and meet others who can relate to your situation. It is also a great place to find hope.
- Here is a list of family support services from Alcohol Change UK A list of family support services | Alcohol Change UK
- Engage in an activity that you are passionate about, hobby, sport or other recreational activities – keep those feel good hormones coming …..
- Spend happy time with friends or family (not talking about the problems!)
- Focus on what you can control
How can hypnotherapy help you?
Hypnotherapy is a recognised form of relaxation therapy. It calms the mind and relaxes the body.
Hypnotherapy is a great tool to help you to overcome your worries, anxieties and stresses . It will help you to focus on what you can control. It will help you to find solutions to move forward with the situation.
It can reduce levels of stress and anxiety and bring the body back to balance. Regular sessions ease built-up pressure and tension, helping you to learn how to look after yourself better and cope as a relative of someone with alcohol dependency.
This relaxation therapy is comfortable and safe. It is beneficial for both the mind and body.
For more information, contact Jo on 07904 500307.