What Not To Do
- Don’t attempt to punish, threaten, bribe, or preach.
- Don’t try to be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
- Don’t allow yourself to cover up or make excuses for the alcoholic or drug addict or shield them from the realistic consequences of their behavior.
- Don’t take over their responsibilities, leaving them with no sense of importance or dignity.
- Don’t hide or dump bottles, throw out drugs, or shelter them from situations where alcohol is present.
- Don’t argue with the person when they are impaired or high.
- Don’t try to drink along with the problem drinker or take drugs with the drug abuser.
- Above all, don’t feel guilty or responsible for another’s behavior.
What To Do
- Try to remain calm, unemotional, and factually honest in speaking about their behavior and its day-to-day consequences.
- Let the person with the problem know that you are reading and learning about alcohol and other drug abuse, attending Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Alateen, and other support groups.
- Discuss the situation with someone you trust — someone from the clergy, a social worker, a counselor, a friend, or some individual who has experienced alcohol or other drug abuse personally or as a family member.
- Establish and maintain a healthy atmosphere in the home, and try to include the alcohol/drug abuser in family life.
- Explain the nature of alcoholism and other drug addiction as an illness to the children in the family.
- Encourage new interests and participate in leisure time activities that the person enjoys. Encourage them to see old friends.
- Be patient and live one day at a time. Alcoholism and other drug addiction generally takes a long time to develop, and recovery does not occur overnight. Try to accept setbacks and relapses with calmness and understanding.
- Refuse to ride with anyone who’s been drinking heavily or using other drugs.