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Alcoholism And Family

Question:

I came from a family of alcoholics where my Mother, Brother, Sister and Grandfather are heavy drinkers. I have been struggling with my own drinking for 17 years now. I recently got a DUI and have been forced to live with them until I get my driving license back. Since I moved back in I have been drinking more and more heavily than ever before. With my childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse issues stemming also from my family, should I completely alienate myself from them after I move out? Is this what it would take for me to help myself to stay sober?

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Answer:

One of the greatest problems that people face when they are trying to recover from an addiction is the presence of certain cues from the environment that trigger a relapse into further drug or alcohol abuse. That is the problem you are facing now. The fact that you are living with the family that has a history of addiction and, from what you write, of abuse, puts you into a vulnerable situation. Let me explain.

People rarely become addicted to alcohol without help from others. These others are most commonly the family. There are always at least one member of a family where alcohol addiction exists who enables the drinking. By enabling what is meant is that someone is making it easy to drink. This is not to suggest that either the family or that family member is evil or bad. Rather, well meaning people are convinced that they are being helpful. For instance, someone might provide money for the drinker to drink for fear that they might steal money to buy liquor.

Then, there are those who enable by denying that anything is wrong. It’s amazing that with the evidence right in front of them, some people believe that nothing is wrong. In fact, there are those people who are addicted to alcohol who deny the fact that they have a problem.

In the midst of your family you may be facing some or all of these problems. It would really be much better for you to live with a friend so that space can be put between you and your family. By the way, keeping distant from the family does not mean alienating yourself. It means putting strict limits on when you will visit them and how long you will stay.

In my opinion, you really need to change your living arrangements even though you have a DUI. Either get you own apartment or live with friends and use public transportation or ask a friend to drive you.

Finally, get yourself into a rehab program so that you can get help in ending your alcohol addiction.

Best of Luck

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