How do you fix an alcoholic?
This topic is one that is asked by almost every newcomer to Al-anon. They almost always turn to someone and inquire, "How can I fix the alcoholic? How can I get him to stop drinking or at least cut back on the amount that she drinks? How can I get him or her to drink responsibly"?
The answer is disappointingly simple: you cannot.
There is a saying in Al-anon that is referred to as the Three C's:
You didn't cause it.
You can't control it.
You can't cure it.
If the alcoholic or drug abuser does not want to change his/her behavior, there is nothing you can do.
How do alcoholics affect families and friends?
Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects all those who have a relationship with the problem drinker. Those of us closest to the alcoholic suffer the most, and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behavior of another person. We react to the alcoholic's behavior. We focus on them, what they do, where they are, how much they drink. We try to control their drinking for them. We take on the blame, the guilt, and shame that really belong to the drinker. We can become as addicted to the alcoholic, as the alcoholic is addicted to alcohol. We, too, can become ill.
We begin to learn the basic Al-anon premise of taking the focus off of the alcoholic and keeping the focus on ourselves. As hard as it is to look at our own part in our problems, acceptance of our powerlessness brings relief from impossible responsibilities. We were trying to fix a disease, and someone else's disease at that.
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