This Christian relationship help gives you answers to questions about dealing with alcoholism. There are many dilemmas you deal with when someone you care about that drinks too much. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise” (NIV). It is true that drinkers make many foolish choices that affect their lives and their loved ones lives negatively. The answers to most of these questions involve the principle of allowing the problem drinker to deal with the drinking and the problems it causes while you turn your focus onto living your own life and accepting the fact that you can’t force someone else to change. The person has to want to change themselves.
Here are the questions and answers:
Should you take the car keys? When alcoholics drive under the influence of alcohol, they endanger themselves and others. So while no one wants an alcoholic driving when drinking, the question of whether or not you should take the keys is not so simple. If an alcoholic will surrender the keys peacefully, take them; but most alcoholics won’t which puts you in the position of demanding or forcing and this can pull you right back into the insanity of trying to control the alcoholic and of arguing with a drunk person. You can only control whether you will allow yourself and your children to ride in the car and that answer is simply “No.”
Should you buy their alcohol? Some people buy their alcoholics alcohol so they will drink at home rather than at bars. This is another attempt to control the drinking. A better approach is to take your hands off and let the alcoholic buy his/her own alcohol because you won’t be contributing at all to the drinking. Giving the alcoholic money to buy alcohol or money to pay bills when they have spent it on booze is also enabling them.
Should you focus on getting them help? Many families have paid for expensive rehabilitation programs only to have the person drink again. Alcoholics Anonymous is the best program out there and has the benefit of being an ongoing support program. Some hospitals have inpatient detox centers and 30-day programs with after-care. Other programs are run by private organizations. The most important factor is the willingness of the drinker to stop drinking; the specific program matters less and a drinker often benefits from having to figure out how to get sober on his/her own.
Should you make excuses for their missed work, appointments, and events? The friends and loved ones around alcoholics worry about the consequences from their drinking, but the drinker appears not to worry. Well-meaning people begin to lie and make excuses for them. The truth is that this only allows them to continue to drink without having to face the consequences. This is called “enabling” and until it stops, they won’t hit a bottom and have a reason to stop drinking.
Should you call them an alcoholic? It doesn’t matter whether you call the person an alcoholic or not; the person has a drinking problem and you have a problem with the drinking. The only thing that matters is figuring out how you can live your life whether or not the person is willing to get help. It is okay to speak the truth and call it what it is, but don’t get hung up on whether the person accepts it or whether they are a true alcoholic or not.
This Christian relationship help gives you answers to questions about dealing with alcoholism. God has established the law of reaping what you sow (Galatians 6:7-8). Drinkers need to deal with their own problems. You need to figure out how to live your own life whether the drinker stops or not and you do this by ending enabling and trying to force change.
Next, if you need more practical tips and Biblical truths to help you change your relationships, get my FREE “15-Day Relationship Challenge” designed to give you back the power over your life.
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Karla Downing is an author, speaker, licensed marriage and family therapist, and Bible study teacher. Karla’s passion is to help people find freedom in Christ in the midst of their difficult relationships and circumstances through Biblical truths and practical tools.
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