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Question
Posted by: Daisy | 2011/02/15

Alcoholic family member

Hi Doc,<br>I need some advice. I have a family member who won''t admit that she''s an alcoholic. She''s very unapproachable, and doesn''t want anyone to know that she has problem(s). How do I approach her, with out being offensive?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its almost part of the definition of being an alcoholic that they deny it. they convince themselves that their heavy drinking isn't alcoholism, even when this is utterly obvious to everyone else. I find its often easier to talk abour Problem Drinking, than to argue about their private definition of alcoholism - if they drink more than most people, and it causes problems, that's problem drinking and needs attention.
And they can't be helped until they admit to themselves that they DO have a serious problem about alcohol and that they need proper help to stop drinking. Until then, there's nothing useful we can do. And as you may have found, arguing isn't productive. One should try calmly to point out that everyone else recognizes she has this serious problem, and wants to help. But sadl;y, if she refuses to go along and sincerely seek and collaborate with proper help, htere's nothing useful to do. Eventually, after they have become somehow scared by what's happening. they may change their mind and become open to help. Check out also if your local AA has an Al-Anon service of advice and support for families of alcoholics.

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Our users say:
Posted by: GieGie | 2011/02/17

Why would you want to approach her? What concern of yours is this " problem"  of hers?

Reply to GieGie
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/02/15

Its almost part of the definition of being an alcoholic that they deny it. they convince themselves that their heavy drinking isn't alcoholism, even when this is utterly obvious to everyone else. I find its often easier to talk abour Problem Drinking, than to argue about their private definition of alcoholism - if they drink more than most people, and it causes problems, that's problem drinking and needs attention.
And they can't be helped until they admit to themselves that they DO have a serious problem about alcohol and that they need proper help to stop drinking. Until then, there's nothing useful we can do. And as you may have found, arguing isn't productive. One should try calmly to point out that everyone else recognizes she has this serious problem, and wants to help. But sadl;y, if she refuses to go along and sincerely seek and collaborate with proper help, htere's nothing useful to do. Eventually, after they have become somehow scared by what's happening. they may change their mind and become open to help. Check out also if your local AA has an Al-Anon service of advice and support for families of alcoholics.

Reply to cybershrink

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