Loving someone with an addiction to alcohol has its challenges and struggles. People who love alcoholics are often confused about how to deal with the emotional needs of their addict in recovery. A big issue for people is not knowing how the alcoholic will respond to honesty, love, and support. If you are in a relationship with an alcoholic, getting the love and care you deserve will be challenging. A person close to an alcoholic can feel powerless and depressed due to their destructive behavior.

Can an Alcoholic Love Someone?

Alcoholics can show deep and genuine love to other people. They can be giving and loving partners, parents, sisters, brothers, friends, sons, and daughters. They can want you to be happy, want the best for you, try to protect you. However, alcohol addiction is a dreadful disease. It hijacks normal brain chemistry and prevents an individual from functioning normally.

An alcoholic may genuinely believe that they love someone, but the affection does not last long when there is no alcohol in their system because of their disease. At the same time, an alcoholic may leave their partner for a drinking buddy who can be found at any bar.

In many cases, when an alcoholic gets to their bottom and realizes they have a problem, they already have a distorted view of the world and people around them. Selfishly, they don’t realize the amount of hurt and pain they inflict on others. They are consumed by their addiction and feel justified in their destructive behavior.

I’m In Love With an Alcoholic – What Can I Do?

If you have a loved one with alcohol problems, you may be wondering how to help them. Alcoholism is not a hopeless condition, and many things can improve the outcome for your loved one.

The alcoholic’s behavior can take its toll on everyone, including children. The stress of living with an alcoholic can cause distant relatives and friends to avoid your family. As painful as it is to admit that you’re in love with an alcoholic, doing so will help you understand the problem and begin to take steps to resolve the situation. Before you can begin helping, you must accept that:

  • They need help
  • You can’t fix them
  • It’s not your fault
  • You can’t help them by yourself
  • You need to find help and support for yourself

While you can’t take it on as your responsibility to treat someone with addiction, you can encourage them to seek treatment. Al-Anon meetings near you are peer support meetings for people worried about someone with a drinking problem. Al-Anon family groups are great for spouses, partners, and even friends who have difficulties processing their loved one’s addiction. 

Helping a Loved One With Alcoholism

Family and friends of alcoholics can feel powerless about what to do to help their loved ones. One of the most important things is not enabling the alcoholic’s behavior. This means that you don’t make excuses for their drinking or hide it from others. It also is important not to preach to the alcoholic. Instead of warning them about the dangers of alcoholism, focus on how their actions affect you and others around them.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides information on how to help someone with alcoholism:

  • Offer support, understanding, and empathy.
  • Make statements about your concerns and observations in a non-judgmental way. Do not lecture or preach.
  • Create a safe and non-threatening environment by expressing concern for your loved one’s health but avoiding any comments that might put them on the defensive.
  • Take an active role in helping your loved one plan treatment, but do not compel or force them into treatment.

If someone you love needs help with an addiction, you can encourage them to get help by letting them know that you care and support them in seeking treatment. Do not enable their alcoholism. Stop making excuses for their actions. Tell them that you love them but won’t continue with the relationship until they recover from their drinking problem. 

With your support, they can find the journey to long-lasting recovery. Just remember to set boundaries, so you take care of yourself as well.