It can be quite grueling for the family of someone who has the dual diagnosis (of psychiatric disorder along with alcoholism) to recover from emotional damage. By the time the alcoholic is safely ensconced in the alcohol rehab or a treatment program the rest of the family is stressed out and often badly traumatized events.
Often members of the family feel angry at the person for costing the family a lot of money or tearing them apart. Often siblings or spouses may resent the person from stealing focus from other happier issues in the family.
Another big problem is guilt. Sometimes family members feel guilty as they may feel they somehow caused the problem in the first place. Coming to terms with how you feel or anyone else feels can take a great deal of time.
The best thing for a family that has been damaged by the chaos that can be caused by a dual diagnosis with alcoholism should try to take the following healing steps –
- Have a meeting and admit as a group that it is time to be more positive and get help for whatever is going on –
- Stop blaming each other for what is ultimately wrong with the alcoholic
- Close ranks and do not let friends or distant family members interfere; find a qualified counselor to help deal with what is doing on
- Seek out a support group that contains members that are also dealing with dually diagnosed relatives
- Joining Al-Anon, NA or ACA groups may also be helpful to family members who need to understand more about how alcoholism is impacting the family
Ultimately it is not important for family members to realize that they cannot cure nor do anything else about the family’s substance abuse. They can, however, stop covering it up and try to work as unit to make life run smoothly again and stop empowering the alcoholic’s disease from controlling them.