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Help a Heavy Drinker Stay Healthier

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answered 08:50 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
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anonymous anonymous
Everybody talks about getting people to quit but what I need information on his helping a person that doesn’t want to quit stay as healthy as possible. My partner is a 46 year old unrepentant heavy drinker who does not deny that he drinks too much and who has no intention of stopping. I am worried that he will die young but if I make any small comments about his drinking then he gets very angry and to be fair he was clear about not wanting to change from the start of our relationship. What can I do to help him reduce the damage that alcohol does to his liver and body? For example he had this habit of taking Tylenol at night every night to prevent hangovers and I got him to stop this to protect his liver. Are there any other diet or lifestyle steps he can take that don’t involve him drinking less but that will help him stay healthier?

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds

Thank you for your question. You are right to realize you cannot make a person quit drinking. Your partner would have to decide to stop. From your letter, it is clear your partner has no intention of quitting. There are somethings your partner can do to help minimize the damage from alcohol. However, your partner has to be willing to do them.

Any of the normal things a healthy non-drinker would do to stay healthier may help your partner live a little longer. This means drinking lots of water, having a healthy diet with proper nutrition, exercising, seeing a doctor for regular check-ups, and good dental hygiene. In addition, taking a multivitamin with folic acid may help. I included a link which explains why folic acid is important. If your partner is not willing to stop drinking, perhaps taking a day off from drinking on a regular basis like once a week would help his body heal from the excess of alcohol. 

Another way you can help is to get support for the effect your partner's drinking has on you. Al-anon meetings can provide support for you and help you learn how to not enable your partner. Enabling is when you help a person continue an addiction, even if the help is unintentional. Examples of enabling include paying billings, giving the person money, calling them off work, etc. Enabling your partner will only make the drinking worse. People in the grips of an addiction need to experience the consequences of their addiction so they get to a point where they want to quit.

I hope this helps answer your question. Good luck.

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