How to live with an alcoholic family member

How to live with an alcoholic family member

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that South Africa has the highest level of alcohol consumption in Africa per capita‚ nearly double the continent’s average.


So many families have to deal with alcoholic family members, and it goes without saying that alcohol can ruin many people's lives.

"The most difficult part of trying to assist someone we love, whether there is either addiction involved  or just pure bad behaviour, is realising that we cannot change them. Sadly it is often our behaviour of trying to “control” them or “bribe” them into the correct behaviour that makes matters worse. We are in fact delaying the period of recovery (for both you and your problem person) and allowing them to remain in their current state for ‘just that little bit longer’," says Gordon Dewar, Director of TOUGHLOVE SA.

"We as the loved ones need to learn things like: confronting in love; letting go of our dreams for others; setting clear boundaries; allowing loved ones to live out the consequences of choices; stop enabling (making it easy for them to stay addicts); saying no and to stop tolerating unacceptable behaviour in our homes." 

"The most import thing any family member can do, is to join a support group which will equip them to deal with the situation in a loving manner," he adds.

And if you suspect that your family member is an alcoholic, look out for the following signs:

"Besides the usual signs of people being under the influence, these are some other signs that family and loved ones could look for, the lack of money, or always telling stories that they need money for certain things – It is costly to drink excessively. Behaviour changes – A person will often become more depressed and may withdraw from the loved ones around them. A change in their functional behavior especially in the workplace although some drunks are functional," concludes Dewar.

Also read: Five important reasons why you need to know your blood type

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