In Loved Ones of Alcoholics, Relationships

Whether you suffer from the effects of alcoholism or not, detachment can be a valuable skill. It can increase one’s experience of serenity as well as improve dynamics within relationships. However, many of us find this difficult to do as learning to practice self-care and setting healthy boundaries can be uncomfortable and at times seem mean or selfish. More often that not, we have been taught that if we care about someone we will do whatever it takes to help. However, the kind of help we offer may not always be what fosters growth and forward momentum for our loved ones or ourselves. It may just in fact keep someone stuck and perpetuate our feelings of frustration.

However, it is possible to learn new and more adaptive behaviors by working with a psychologist and/or attending Al-Anon meetings. The following is an except from one of the many offered Al-Anon pamphlets that provides information about what can be learned:


• Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people

• Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery

• Not to do for others what they can do for themselves

• Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit

• Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds

• Not to create a crisis

• Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events”