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5 Ways to Deal with an End-Stage Alcoholic in Your Family

end-stage alcoholic

Even though final stage alcoholism is deadly, there is still hope for those willing to quit drinking. The consequences of alcoholism fall not only on the alcoholic but on the entire family. One needs patience, self-love, kindness, dedication, and a strong mind to survive a family member suffering from a drinking disease. Seeing someone you love practically killing themselves is a difficult challenge that can destroy your sanity and the happiness in your life. Many times, you might be wondering how to deal with such frustrating situation and overcome the daily struggles. Here are some tips to help you deal with an end-stage alcoholic.

1. Organize a Professional Alcoholic Intervention

If you have never tried the option of organizing an alcoholic intervention to help a family member, it won’t hurt to consult a professional and see the outcome. During the intervention, give actual examples and address specific situations to support your statements. Try to focus on the emotional, physical, personal, and professional problems that have occurred through the years and how they have affected your family. Talk about treatment options and tell him his final choice is either death or the path to sobriety. The psychological effect alcohol has on the brain keeps the person confused so don’t be surprised if he is in denial and resist therapy. Many times, end-stage alcoholics choose the option to die instead of getting sober.

In recent years, alcoholics, as well as opioid addicts acknowledge the benefits of medication-assisted treatment. MAT is a combination of FDA-approved medications and evidence-based therapies. The biggest concern of people who use medications for alcohol treatment is replacing one addiction with another. However, studies show that MAT contributes for extended periods of sobriety, helps the person stay longer in treatment and increases the chances of recovery. MAT, as imperfect as it is, saves lives.

Everything you Need to know Before Scheduling an Alcoholic Intervention

2. Facility Options for End-Stage Alcoholic

If the person was in and out of rehab through the years and reached the end-stage, the chances of a long-term alcohol rehab accepting him are extremely low or equal to none. The reason behind this is that many facilities don’t accept people that are not declared incompetent or are forced into recovery. So, the person must either volunteer to treatment or present an immediate threat to himself or others. Alcoholics are self-destructive and tend to ruin the lives of their family members, but unless they are struggling with a mental health disease that makes them an immediate threat to themselves or others, the chances of a facility accepting them in treatment are very low.

Most end-stage alcoholics suffer from chronic diseases. The combination of health issues and chronic alcohol use make detox a fatal risk which makes it harder for facilities to accept this kind of patients. On the other hand, regular nursing, physical rehab or long-term facilities are not properly equipped with detox care and can’t take in an end-stage alcoholic. So, it is extremely difficult for a family member to find a rehab center that will take care for a person that doesn’t want to be sober.

wet house homeless alcoholicThe “wet house” option for homeless alcoholics

The following might seem cruel to many, but taking care of an end-stage alcoholic is not a walk in the park. It is common for them to lose their jobs, family support, and eventually, end up on the streets. If you see that the person is not willing to quit and you don’t want him to sleep under a bridge, there is the possibility of reaching out to a so-called “wet house”. A wet house is a residential facility where chronic alcoholics live the rest of their days practically drinking themselves to death. The residents can be either recommended by the country after numerous failed visits to detox centers or apply to live there.

The purpose of these facilities is to keep alcoholics out of the streets. Also, the concept saves money to the state. The monthly cost of a resident staying in the St. Anthony house, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, is about $1,500, which is less than what taxpayers pay for a year of hospitalizations, detox treatment, and incarcerations. The original concept of wet houses comes from Seattle. In Seattle, the first residents were selected from a list of 200 predominantly male, most frequent users of the public hospital, jail, and sobering center in the city.

For More on Wet Houses Click Here. 

3. Take Care of Yourself

Dealing with a final-stage alcoholic is emotionally draining. Just watching him in that condition every day affects your mental well-being. Talking to others that are in the same situation tends to help because it shows that you are not the only one taking care for a final stage alcoholic. It gives you a reassurance that everything is going to be okay and that you are not at any fault for anything.

self love alcoholicsThere are a lot of blogs online written by family members that have been through this pain and offer support for others. You should become an Al-Anon member and talk to a therapist and explain all the struggles you have. It is crucial for you to take care of yourself not only physically but emotionally, so don’t let this stop you from leading a normal life, the life that you deserve to have.

Change your Focus for a Better Life

As a primary caregiver to an end-stage alcoholic, you should change the way you see things. Start taking care of yourself and focus on yours instead of his needs. Make yourself your primary focus just like the alcoholic makes alcohol his primary focus. So, instead of spending time worrying about somebody else’s drinking, you can:

  • Find a new activity.
  • Go for a run.
  • Read a book.
  • Start a blog.
  • Meet new people.
  • Volunteer.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Spend time with family.

The first step is accepting the situation you are in. If you don’t want to leave the person behind, you need to find activities that fulfill you and make your life interesting.

4. Walk Away

Taking this big step is the hardest thing to do. Even though you will feel frustrated, tired and indifferent, walking away from this person will not be easy. It might feel easy at the beginning when you feel these negative emotions, but there will be times when you will feel guilty you have left someone in that situation. If you want to leave, you need to understand it is not your fault. You are your own person and you deserve to live the life you choose. He is his own person responsible for his actions. It is not fair to you nor your family to suffer because of his bad choices, selfishness, and recklessness. So, if you want to leave, you should accept the outcomes and learn to live with them.

5. Accept How Their End Will Look

final stage alcoholic

Could I have done more? The hardest thing for an alcoholic survivor is not feeling ashamed or guilty through the entire process. Am I doing everything in my power to stop this situation? Why am I staying by his side? Why am I enabling this? Should I just leave? Should I just kick him out? So many questions, but you won’t find the right answer because there isn’t one. The truth is, you’ll have to find what works the best for you. The first step is accepting that they will have an inevitable, tragic end. Life goes on for you and your family. But the reality is that unless a miracle happens and the final-stage alcoholic stops drinking, you know what the future holds.


For more information please call this Toll Free 24/7 Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a completely confidential call. If you have health insurance it may cover up to 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now!

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