How Do You Deal With an Alcoholic?

It’s a classic tale I tell today about two friends who have lived next door for almost their whole lives. The younger friend, M, grew up with irresponsible alcoholics and battled depression, drug use and excessive drinking. The older friend, D, tried to help by offering to have her move in and get away from the toxic family environment. Except several years later M still battles depression and excessive drinking, no effort made to change her behaviors.

D, who is a wife, mother and college student, has dealt with M’s drinking, poor choices and the drama that comes with that for several years now. D has gotten increasingly more stressed out watching M skip college classes, invite underage co-workers over to get drunk, trash her area of the house, leave alcohol where it’s accessible to her daughters, be drunk in general around her daughters, drive drunk and throw continued pity parties for herself. After repeated attempts to help M address her alcohol dependency with no success D decided she’s had enough and asked M to break the lease and move out. M has simply been ignoring her ever since the request was made.

I have no advice to offer really. I support D’s decision because I don’t think M has any desire to change her destructive behaviors and it isn’t fair to D or her family to have to deal with the repercussions of M’s choices. I also know that there are specific and serious underlying triggers that cause M’s behaviors and I don’t know what she will do if D cuts her out of her life. Will this be M’s wake-up call? Will she use this as an excuse to try to end her life? Maybe she will just quit college and  move back in with her alcoholic parents. I don’t know. I don’t even know how D is going to get M out of her house if M refuses to acknowledge the eviction notice. I am just glad I am not the one who lives with an alcoholic. I don’t think I could handle it. Any advice?


10 thoughts on “How Do You Deal With an Alcoholic?

  1. I would like to hear the advice. We aren’t living with a person with an addiction, just the manipulating ex-girlfriend my oldest son feels responsible to take care of. Oh, I have so many stories of frustration with her. Unfortunately, my son feels like he is in the middle. Now, this is a subject that I could complain about all day. 🙂

    • Manipulators frustrate me so much. I try to cut them out of my life but when they are in the lives of those I love I feel helpless and then in turn I get annoyed or angry for them because they won’t end the toxic relationship. So many damaged people in the world, no realistic solution.

  2. That’s tough. If it’s really that bad for D she could get some movers to pack up her things when M isn’t around & then change the locks. That’s drastic but if her kids safety is at risk well, that should come first.

  3. How terrible for D! I don’t know what help is available in the States for alcoholics and/or their carers but here in the UK we have organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous. They can be called at any time of the day or night and offer advice and help. If there is anything like that where you live, D could phone them and ask for advice in how to deal with M.

    • I vaguely recall suggesting she attend alanon but I don’t know if she ever went. The latest update is that M is going to move back to her parent’s and go to rehab but I have doubts about the rehab part actually happening. I’d like to think this would be a wake up call but history would incline me to be distrustful of her actually making a positive choice. Either way it gets her out of D’s house so that’s a good start.

  4. If D could get M into Alcoholic’s Anonymous, it would be the best thing. Of course, M will have to want to go. Possibly, D could make M’s being able to live there conditional upon participating.

    It might be helpful for D to go to Al-Anon to learn how to deal with M. I have heard they are a great organization and their program works.

    • D had made that ultimatum before and M she would cut down her drinking but never did, now she says she’s going to go to rehab, we’ll have to wait and see if she actually goes though. Thank you for the suggestion though.

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