When A Family Member Dies of Alcoholism

 In Alcoholism

When a family member dies of alcoholism, it is always extremely difficult, no matter what the circumstances.

There’s such a deep sense of loss, grief and other emotions like remorse, disappointment, anxiety, and helplessness. It can be especially tough when family members die of alcoholism or drug addiction.

Oftentimes, people are plagued by the sense that they could have done more to prevent such tragedy.

As published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 88,000 people – approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women –  die from alcohol-related causes every year.

And here’s what that means…

It means that alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

The number of those who pass away should send a clear message that early intervention is best.

You never know when it’s too late to tell your loved one you care.


The Biggest Regrets

The regret and remorse that result in not taking action can be difficult to process.

It’s common to feel sad and disappointed that you didn’t do more to prevent your loved one’s death.

Families often get stuck wondering, “what if?”.

What if they could have done more? What if they could have made them stop drinking?

With 18 million Americans are currently dealing with and affected by Alcohol Use Disorder, it sadly makes sense why these questions are so commonly dealt with by families with alcoholic members.

Generally, the biggest regrets that families share with us is waiting to seek professional help.

Families realize that they should never have tried to deal with the situation on their own.

That being said, it’s probably difficult to accept how serious alcoholism is.

Once a family realizes the problem, they don’t even know where to begin or how to deal with it.


Realizing that Alcoholism Needs to Be Addressed Immediately

Alcohol and all of the complications that are associated with it are dangerous.

When an addiction to alcohol is developed, a person’s entire life can spiral out of control.

There are almost always drastic impacts on their career, friendship, parenting, and overall health.

Families also share that they regret being too carefree with their loved one, and not setting boundaries.

Looking back, they wish they could have taken action and the outcome was different.


Watching Your Loved One Waste Away from Alcoholism

Alcoholism has an impact on the drinker’s life and everyone that is in it who cares.

If you have a loved one who is losing their fight against alcoholism, you know it’s difficult to watch.

And here is what you ultimately watch…

You watch them waste away.

You watch them shut down.

There’s nothing more terrible than watching someone you care about slowly kill themselves.

It’s something that you’ll ever forget.

The worst thing about the situation is…

Certain steps can be taken to prevent someone from dying of alcoholism.

In a world where alcoholism deaths are on the rise, alcoholism intervention can be life-changing and life-saving.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that alcoholism affects not only the drinker but also their entire family who has to step up and take care of them in their darkest moments.


Families Often Blame Themselves

Grieving is a natural part of the healing process.

Losing someone you love at some point during your life is inescapable.

But premature loss is a horrible thing to go through, especially if addiction or alcoholism is to blame.

Being patient with yourself and allowing yourself to work through your grief is important.

There’s no wrong or right way to grieve, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Everyone deals differently with loss and it’s important not to judge how others deal with it.

Some people may carry their grief on their sleeve, crying and having outbursts.

Others may shut down, or express their grief in private.

Regardless, you can’t tell a person how to grieve or how to feel after they lose someone.

Hopefully though, these sad and devastated loved ones may start to work through some of their blame, depression, and disappointment.


It’s Not The Family’s Fault

More often than not, devastated families blame themselves for their loved one’s death.

They struggle to let go of the sense that they could have done more.

No matter what has occurred, it’s important that they realize it’s not their fault.

Alcoholism is tricky and may need to be managed, approached, and recognized in different ways.

The focus should be kept on the fact that alcoholism is a disease.

Early intervention is always key, but even so, it’s not the family’s fault.

Family members are as much a victim of alcohol addiction as the alcoholic was.

It may not always be clear right away that your loved one’s life is at risk and could be lost if the proper measures are not taken.

However, with startling statistics like 25.1% of adults aged 18+ who had at least one heavy drinking day with 5+ drinks in the past year, it’s clear that sooner intervention is better.


If Your Loved One is Still Alive, Please Don’t Wait to Get Help

If you have a close family or friend who is affected negatively by alcoholism, it’s so vital that you seek help right away.

You would rather have tried to get help than live with the knowledge that you didn’t and maybe your loved one could have been saved.

As is often discussed in alcohol abuse support groups, if you try to wait for a loved one to get help themselves, you could be waiting for a long while.

Alcoholics feel like they need to drink constantly to make it through the day, and it’s not very likely that they will have the resolve and self-control to go get help all by themselves.

With each and every day that goes by, your loved one is putting themselves at risk of serious injury, illness and even death as their body slowly deteriorates and shuts down.

Because alcohol abuse is especially damaging on the body organs and the overall body system as a whole, those who are abusing alcohol will experience higher rates of cancer.

Plus, people who are dependent on alcohol are much more likely to die in a car accident than others who live a sober lifestyle.

If someone you know and love is affected by alcoholism, please don’t underestimate the urgent need for proper and professional medical attention and treatment.

Addressing alcoholism as soon as possible could be the difference between life and death, so please give us a call and let’s talk this through.



[1] Alcohol Facts and Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

[2] Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholismandalcoholabuse.html

[3] FastStats. (2019, February 26). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/alcohol.htm

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