If you have an alcoholic in the family and he or she is trying to recover then there are 12 attitudes you should avoid taking towards the problem or it could make the problem worse. Whether the 'problem child' in the situation is actually your child or a spouse, there is a big risk of sabotaging your own best intentions if you are not careful about how you deal with the drug addict or alcoholic.
1. Do not encourage shame by portraying this as a family disgrace as recovery from addiction is a disease that can be recovered from.
2. Don't nag or lecture the alcoholic. This will only increase their need to lie and make promises that cannot be kept.
3. Do not take a martyr-like attitude that gives the alcoholic to feel the guilt and shame that triggers drinking
4. Don't use 'if you loved me' as an appeal as this only increases the guilt that triggers drinking.
5. Avoid threats (including ones to take them into alcohol treatment) unless you intend to carry them out as this badly complicates any trust that is between you
6. Don't hide their drugs or alcohol as this only pushes them to a state of desperation
7. Do not use alcohol with the alcoholic if you want him or her to stop
8. Do not try to protect the recovering alcoholic from situations where drinking is involved as they must learn on their own to say no
9. Do not demand that the person recover immediately and totally during alcohol treatment; there are going to be relapses no matter what happens
10. Do not be jealous of those in alcohol treatment who may also be trying to help your loved one stay sober, even if they are taking up a great deal of his or her time
11. Do not save the alcoholic. Instead let him or her suffer the consequences of his or her actions.
The one thing you should do is offer as much love, understanding and support that you can during the recovery. Be patient as alcohol treatment really can take some years to be effective. You should avoid being controlling, critical or cornering the addict in any way, especially if they are a rebellious teen or a teen that has a dual diagnosis of ADD, schizophrenia or bi-polar mania. The teen addict is especially rebellious and resistant to most good intentions seeing them as meddling and smothering rather than actually helpful.