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Families of alcoholics often have many questions for addiction specialists about alcoholism and isolation. Specifically, families want to know why alcoholics isolate themselves and if their concerns about the alcohol abuse and isolation are violating their loved one’s privacy. Herein, we hope to provide answers and support to you and your loved ones struggling with alcohol abuse.
Social Anxiety and Alcohol
Alcoholism can cause someone to struggle with basic social interactions and situations. Daily routines like interacting with a co-worker, speaking with an employee at a store, or even having a phone call with a loved one can cause fear and anxiety in an alcoholic. This fear causes isolationism that only worsens the drinking problem. It can further the cycle of alcohol abuse and increase growing mental health issues.
A common and effective approach to address alcoholism and isolation is intervening on the behavior and never ending cycle that is fearfully becoming the new way of living. Family First Intervention provides information, insight and support to you and your loved ones who are struggling with the alcohol abuse and isolation.
Why Do Alcoholics Isolate?
When a substance begins to take hold of a person physically and mentally, it becomes easier to turn to it rather than face the world and its obligations. Alcoholics often isolate because it feels to them as a more comfortable option. It allows the person to feel secure, even though the problem is growing and the situation is getting worse. A question for those affected by the alcoholic could be to ask themselves why they allow the alcoholic to isolate? Is there greater fear in the confrontation with the alcoholic than the fear of staying the same? If you are aware they are struggling with alcohol abuse and are drinking with problems worsening, you could be enabling and that can allow the addiction to continue.
Alcoholic Isolation and Enabling
Should Family & Friends Intervene When a Loved One Is Abusing Alcohol and Isolating Themselves?
Addiction thrives in isolation; an alcoholic can benefit from human interaction and changed behaviors which are outside their comfort zone. It is not so much the isolation as it is to why the isolation. If you are protecting the alcoholic’s feelings, you are most likely protecting yours. Avoiding the problem can provide a comfortable situation for an addict to continue and disable them from seeing the need to change. Not addressing the alcoholic’s isolationism can also send the wrong message allowing them to believe nobody cares.
Drinking Alone | FAQs & Family Alcohol Resources
Why Do Alcoholics Drink Alone?
Alcoholic’s have often described the progression to isolation in three phases. At first it is fun, then it is fun with consequences and then there are just consequences. When struggling with alcohol dependence it becomes a need over a choice. And for those with alcohol dependence, drinking is much like taking a medication to manage the symptoms caused by the medication. Due to the uncomfortable feelings, and at times suffering from seizure and death , alcohol is often consumed to keep one from experiencing the negative effects of alcohol withdrawal.
Managing Alcohol Withdrawals Alone
Managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms takes time throughout the day and the alcohol is frequently consumed alone to avoid the alcoholic having to explain or hide their actions. This does not always equate to the alcoholic wanting to spend more time alone, it can show the addiction has begun to take up more and more time becoming their biggest priority.
Hiding Alcohol Use
A saying among alcoholics and other recovering addicts is “you’re only as sick as your secrets.” This can imply that the action of hiding alcohol use is a strong indicator of a negative pattern of alcohol use.
If you find your loved one lying about alcohol use or hiding their use of alcohol, this could be a strong predictor that a dependence on alcohol is starting to form its roots. We suggest having a conversation with a professional about how to best face your loved one on the issue before it evolves into a severe alcohol use disorder and isolation.
Alcohol Addiction Recovery Options
Addiction recovery produces the most effective outcomes and can be a more comfortable experience the earlier you start. It is better to have a strategic and loving conversation with a professional present soon than a conversation about a dire situation as the result of the alcohol abuse and the severe consequences it has caused later.
Addiction And Loneliness
Alcoholics often drink to deal with negative emotions and feelings like fear, sadness, shame, anger, or loneliness. However, self-medicating with alcohol does not remove the causes of these feelings, it just temporarily numbs them. Without addressing the causes, an alcohol abuser will likely be caught in a cycle of drinking that causes more problems. As they progressively drink more to mask the increasing pain caused by the alcohol consumption, they often fall into a resentful state and feel they are a victim. This brings isolation and loneliness as they blame the world for their current state and assume nobody cares and has walked away from them.
Help for Alcohol Addiction
Those affected by the alcoholics cycle of insanity can benefit themselves and the alcoholic with a supportive and loving approach. With professional guidance, helping the alcoholic understand they are loved and nobody walked away, their behaviors caused others to back away, can help them move towards recovery for their alcohol problem.
Learn About Family Alcohol Interventions
Social Isolation and Alcoholism
Modern society has given us numerous technological advances that allow us to stay connected to each other even when we are alone: phones, internet, text messages, zoom conference calls, virtual meetings, and automated messaging systems. In the 21st Century, it is easier than ever to conduct business and daily social obligations without ever being physically present with another human being. This can be beneficial for those outgoing & with on the go personalities that are constantly busy looking for ways to limit social interactions for the sake of efficiency. This can be a dangerous enabler for those looking to simply isolate themselves from social situations.
Social interactions keep us and our behaviors in check with societal norms, and without these regular checks, our behaviors can become unhealthy or self-destructive. In short, it is unhealthy to isolate yourself and not participate in social interactions and prolonged isolation can lead to or worsen substance abuse and alcoholism.
If the above traits of reclusive alcohol abuse and alcoholism isolation are familiar, your loved one’s dependence on alcohol may be more advanced than you or they even realize. However, when the isolation behaviors are being formed is when it will most likely be the easiest to address. The quicker we address the habits of isolation and self-medication with alcohol by your loved one, the greater the opportunity for an effective solution. Families affected may find comfort in speaking with a family alcohol intervention counselor. Family First Intervention can help you to assess the situation and discuss a potential recovery plan.
How to Help Family Members Drinking in Isolation
Addicts, alcoholics and families often prefer to address the problems themselves. Unfortunately, many do not have the ability to know what solutions could be most effective or why. This is why those affected by alcoholism can benefit from an intervention to start the alcohol recovery process. Effective solutions are more likely to come from the family and a professional. Many believe they have to wait for the alcoholic and it is their sole responsibility to recognize the symptoms and ask for help. This approach may have you waiting longer than you’d prefer. Alcohol intervention can help your loved one see outside their comfort zone, where the alcohol dependency thrives. Alcohol treatment and relapse prevention can help both the alcoholic and the family who is affected return to a better way of living over time.
The good news is that you don’t have to face these issues alone. Starting with a family consultation and continuing all the way through the intervention process, Family First Intervention is able to assist with the process.
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