Drinking too much is not only bad for your health, it likely affects the people around you. Our members share how they dealt with their own or a loved one’s drinking problem.

Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.

I have been affected by someone else’s drinking and have been actively involved in Al Anon for a year now. What a baffling and frustrating situation to be in! I hope this story will help others who may be in the same situation and have nowhere to turn.

Your loved one (a spouse, parent, child or friend) can’t control drinking, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You have tried — poured out and hid the bottles, screamed and yelled, sent them to rehab. Maybe it worked; maybe it didn’t.

It’s called insanity when you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. The good news is that you’re NOT crazy, and there is something you can do about it.

Alcoholism is a disease — we can’t control it, cure it or cause it. But as concerned family and friends, we can get help for ourselves. It sounds counterproductive, but there are 12-step recovery programs for us.

We can get better as we start focusing on ourselves and meeting with others who can relate. I thought my world was over and that I would never be happy again, but I miraculously found a solution, and it didn’t involve getting my alcoholic to stop drinking. There is hope, but it takes looking in the right places to find it!

— Kelley R.

I had an addiction problem. The biggest thing that helped me was support from all my family. Being able to get medical help at an excellent facility was also important. And you have to want to help yourself. Family is a big motivator, but you can’t do it for anyone but yourself.

— Marci T.

I am a 44-year-old adult and a child of a recovering alcoholic and addict.

I can tell you that the AA program and inpatient treatment saved our family. My father’s first day of sobriety was in 1988 when I was turning 16 years old. And I can also tell you how not getting help can be fatal. My sister-in-law passed away at 34 years old from alcoholism. 

With the alcoholism experiences that my husband and I have had, we decided to try to do something good with the knowledge we gained. We became foster parents and eventually adopted an infant whose mother used marijuana and meth during her pregnancy.

We feel that the first step to getting help is to be able to admit there is a problem. Sometimes this is harder for the family than the actual alcoholic. We need to work through the embarrassment and stereotypes to be able to get help.

— Christy W.

I have regularly consumed alcohol for about 40 years, usually daily, occasionally to the point of inebriation. After I spent a few days in the hospital with acute pancreatitis two years ago, my doctor told me to abstain from alcohol (except for special occasions), and I did.

I developed an appreciation for drinking water instead of alcohol by busying myself with projects around the house. I imagine others could do the same through exercise or other activities.

By discontinuing the alcohol and other sugary drinks, I now fluctuate between 20 and nearly 40 pounds lighter than my original weight of 238. Between the weight loss and retiring from a stressful job, my doctor reduced my blood pressure medication by half.

In addition to the health benefits, I save a considerable amount of money, and I feel and look better, too!

— Dennis D.

Most people know that people with a drinking problem can go to Alcoholics Anonymous. But Al Anon is the best place to go if someone else’s drinking is a problem for you. You can find a meeting close to home, and there are programs for children AND adults.

— Tanya B.