Addiction Recovery - Relationships in Recovery - Relapse Prevention

Living With an Alcoholic? Here’s How You Can Help Them!

What is Living With an Alcoholic Like?

Living with an alcoholic can be difficult. However, there's ways to help them. Here's how to help a loved one struggling with alcoholism.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery

Relationships in Recovery

Relapse Prevention

October 17, 2023

An alcoholic is a person who has developed a physical or psychological dependence on alcohol, causing them to have difficulty controlling their drinking behavior. Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive disease that can severely affect a person's health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Signs of alcoholism may include a strong urge to drink, drinking alone, hiding or lying about drinking, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, and continuing to drink despite negative consequences. 

So, what’s a recovering alcoholic?

A recovering alcoholic is a person who has stopped drinking alcohol and is actively working to maintain sobriety. Recovery from alcoholism is an ongoing process that involves physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, as well as a commitment to making positive lifestyle changes.

In many cases, people in recovery from alcoholism participate in support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), as well as individual or group therapy to help them overcome cravings and learn new coping skills. It's important to remember that recovery is a lifelong journey, and a person in recovery may face challenges and setbacks along the way.

However, with the right support, tools, and strategies, it is possible to maintain sobriety and live a healthy, fulfilling life.

Alcohol Abuse by the Numbers:

As per reports by the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.5 million people aged 12 years and older had developed Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and less than 10% of those with a past-year alcohol use disorder obtained any sort of treatment.

Living With an Alcoholic: Who Is an Alcoholic?

An alcoholic is a person who meets the criteria for alcohol use disorder, a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition characterized by compulsive alcohol use despite negative consequences. Alcohol use disorder is diagnosed based on symptoms, including an inability to control alcohol use, continued alcohol use despite problems, and the development of physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit or cut back on drinking.

Alcohol use disorder can profoundly impact a person's physical and mental health, as well as their relationships, work, and other areas of life.

Recovery from alcoholism is a challenging but rewarding journey that requires time, effort, and a willingness to change. A recovering alcoholic has recognized that they have a problem with alcohol and is actively working to overcome it.

Living With an Alcoholic: The Steps to Recovery

The first step in recovery is recognizing that alcohol is a problem. This realization can be a challenging and emotional experience, but change must occur. Once a person acknowledges that they have a problem with alcohol, they can begin to take steps to overcome it.

Living With an Alcoholic: Alcohol Detox

The next step on the recovery journey often starts with detoxification, which involves the removal of alcohol from the body. This process can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable and is best managed with medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include anxiety, depression, irritability, and sleep disturbances.

Living With an Alcoholic: Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Once detoxification is complete, the recovering alcoholic can begin learning new coping skills and strategies to manage their alcohol use. This can include therapy, support groups, and other forms of treatment. The goal is to address the underlying issues that may have contributed to the development of alcoholism, such as trauma, stress, or mental health problems.

Therapy along with support groups, can help the recovering alcoholic understand the root causes of their alcohol use and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Other forms of treatment, such as medication, may also be used to support recovery.

Living With an Alcoholic: Recovery From Alcoholism

Recovering from alcoholism is not just about abstaining from alcohol but also about developing a new way of life. This can involve creating a supportive environment, identifying healthy habits and hobbies, and building new relationships. In addition, recovering alcoholics may need to change their daily routine, avoid situations where alcohol is present, and develop a strong sense of self-awareness and self-care.

Living With an Alcoholic: Mindset Matters

Recovery is not a linear process and can involve setbacks and challenges. However, it is possible to achieve lasting recovery with the right support and mindset. The key is approaching recovery with a willingness to change, a commitment to personal growth, and a desire to seek help when needed.

In summary, being a recovering alcoholic means acknowledging a problem with alcohol and actively working towards a healthier, sober life. Recovery involves detoxification, treatment, and developing new coping skills and habits. It also requires a commitment to personal growth and a willingness to seek help when needed. Recovery is a journey, not a destination, but with the right support and mindset, achieving lasting sobriety and a more fulfilling life is possible. 

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Living With an Alcoholic: How to Help an Alcoholic

Living with an alcoholic can be a challenging and stressful experience. However, success in alcohol recovery involves achieving and maintaining long-term sobriety and improving one's physical and emotional health and overall well-being. 

However, there are steps you can take to create a supportive environment for your loved one. Here are some key strategies:

Living With an Alcoholic: Encourage Treatment

Encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their addiction. This may involve counseling, support groups, medication, or a combination of these approaches. Seek professional help if necessary, and support your loved one as they go through the treatment process.

Living With an Alcoholic: Communicate Effectively

Open and honest communication is essential when living with an alcoholic. Encourage your loved ones to talk about their feelings and needs and be open and honest about your own. Avoid blaming or criticizing and work together to find solutions to any issues.

Living With an Alcoholic: Set Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries can help to manage the impact of alcoholism on your life. This may include setting limits on alcohol use, avoiding enabling behaviors, and protecting your own emotional and physical well-being.

Living With an Alcoholic: Seek Support

Living with an alcoholic can be isolating and stressful. Seek help from friends, family, or support groups. These groups provide a safe space to share your experiences and get advice from others who have been through similar situations.

Living With an Alcoholic: Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is essential when living with an alcoholic. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with friends. In addition, get enough sleep, eat healthily, and practice stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga.

Living With an Alcoholic: Avoid Triggers

Triggers are situations, people, or emotions that can lead to alcohol use. Identify and avoid triggers as much as possible. This may involve avoiding certain social situations or locations or setting up new routines to prevent triggers.

Living With an Alcoholic: Celebrate Small Successes

Recovery is a process, and it can be a long and challenging journey. Celebrate your loved one's small achievements along the way, no matter how small. This can help to reinforce their commitment to sobriety and provide motivation for continued success.

Living with an alcoholic can be difficult, but by taking these steps and building a supportive environment, you can help your loved one overcome their addiction and create a healthier, happier life for both of you.

Living With an Alcoholic: Problems During Recovery

Recovery from alcoholism can be a challenging process. Recovering from alcohol addiction is a complex process for several reasons. Alcohol use can cause physical changes to the brain and body, leading to dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped. These physical changes can make it difficult for individuals to quit using alcohol and may require medical assistance and monitoring during the detoxification process.

Alcohol addiction can also have psychological and emotional issues. This form of addiction has significant social and lifestyle implications too. These changes can be difficult and require significant support and resources. 

Some of the common problems faced by individuals in the alcoholic recovery process include:

Withdrawal Symptoms

When an individual stops consuming alcohol, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, anxiety, and insomnia. These symptoms can be very uncomfortable and make it difficult for the individual to stay sober.

Cravings for Alcohol

Individuals in recovery may experience intense cravings for alcohol, especially when they encounter triggers such as stress, social situations, or other reminders of their past alcohol use.

Social Pressure

Alcohol is a socially accepted and widely available substance, and individuals in recovery may face pressure from friends, family, or coworkers to drink. This can be challenging, as the individual may feel isolated or judged if they don't participate in these activities.


Relapse is common in alcohol recovery and can be a major setback in recovery. Individuals may experience shame or guilt after a relapse, making it harder to stay sober.

Emotional Difficulties

Alcohol use may have been a way for individuals to cope with emotional issues such as anxiety or depression. In recovery, individuals may need to find new coping mechanisms for these issues, which can be challenging.

Lifestyle Changes

Recovery may require major changes, such as avoiding certain social situations or finding new hobbies and interests. This cannot be easy and may require a significant adjustment period.

Overall, recovering from alcohol addiction requires addressing physical, emotional, and social factors that contribute to addiction. It is a complex process that requires patience, support, and commitment from the individual and their treatment team.

However, with support from family, friends, and healthcare professionals, individuals can overcome these challenges and lead a healthy and fulfilling life in recovery.

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Do you have more questions about living with an alcoholic? Reach out.

Living With an Alcoholic: Recovery Resources

There are various recovery options available for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Recovery from alcohol addiction is a long and complex process that may require a combination of approaches. Here are some of the recovery options available to an alcoholic:

Inpatient/Outpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient or outpatient rehab programs provide a structured environment for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction to receive professional support and treatment. Inpatient programs involve living at a rehab facility and receiving round-the-clock care. In contrast, outpatient programs allow individuals to live at home and attend therapy and counseling sessions regularly.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a one-on-one counseling session with a trained therapist or counselor. In individual therapy, individuals can explore the underlying reasons for their addiction, learn new coping skills, and develop a plan to manage triggers.

Group Therapy

Group therapy involves attending regular meetings with other individuals who are also struggling with alcohol addiction. Group therapy provides a supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences, learn from others, and receive encouragement and support.

12-Step Programs

12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), provide a structured program for individuals to work through the recovery process. A 12-step program involves working through the 12 steps with the support of a sponsor and attending regular meetings with other individuals in recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment involves using a medication, such as Naltrexone, to reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. This approach is often used in conjunction with therapy and counseling.

Holistic Approaches

Holistic approaches involve using complementary therapies, such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, to support the recovery process. These approaches focus on treating the whole person and promoting overall well-being.

It's important to note that not every recovery option will work for everyone. Finding the approach that best fits one's needs and preferences is important. Recovery is a lifelong process, and ongoing support is critical for maintaining sobriety.

In conclusion, various recovery options are available for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Some of the available options are inpatient/outpatient rehab programs, individual therapy, group therapy, 12-step programs, medication-assisted treatment, and holistic approaches. It's important to find the best approach for one's needs and receive ongoing support to maintain sobriety. Recovery is a lifelong process, and with the right support and approach, it's possible to achieve lasting sobriety and a fulfilling life free from alcohol addiction.

Living With an Alcoholic? Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center Today

The Edge Treatment Center is a family-owned rehab with a deep understanding of the recovery process. We get how hard living with an alcoholic can be, and how devastating this family disease is for the people surrounding the person dealing with alcoholism.

The Edge Treatment Center provides evidence-based help in the alcohol recovery process by offering comprehensive treatment and support services to individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. We offer medical detoxification services to help patients safely manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal and mental health services such as therapy and counseling to address the psychological aspects of addiction.

The Edge also offers support groups, medication-assisted treatment, and other services to help patients overcome alcohol addiction and maintain sobriety. 

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.