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Depression and alcoholism love companionship. How to help without joining the march down the rabbit hole?

H'm. Interesting question.

Depending on the circumstances, I suppose it could be argued that depression is a natural feature of a situation where people feel trapped, overburdened and helpless about it. If your friend is undergoing this kind of experience, and assuming that you don't have the specialist expertise or insight to help her/him change it (and if you don't, then for God's sake don't offer advice), then simply keeping up contact is a great thing to do. You may not feel as if you're actively helping, but you are not either abandoning, and that means more to the person than you know.

But alcoholism, although I suppose caregivers may well be at greater risk of it, is by no means inevitable. And if you have noticed it in a person who is responsible for the welfare of a vulnerable elder, you may not feel comfortable just overlooking it. Have you broached the subject with the person you're worried about?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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If you are getting together suggest activities that preclude drinking or limit it.

Go to a local market, walk through a park, go to a concert, or dance recital. If kids are performing there is not likely to be any booze.

Join an artistic group, painting, singing, scrapbook, quilting etc., together. Something that is active and different from what you usually do.

Your friend needs something that has nothing to do with the caregiving to bring joy into their life. As well as needing a good friend to open up to about how hard the caregiving is.

When my marriage ended abruptly, I joined a quilting group. I knew no one there and no one knew the story of how my marriage broke down. It was one place just for me. I did not make a single quilt in the first two years, but it gave me a much needed outlet. I also has friends I could call on who New the whole story and yes sometimes we shared a bottle of wine.

It is wonderful that you are looking out for your friend and also your own health. You may benefit from talking to a caregivers support group and or therapist for more suggestions
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Reply to Tothill
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A difficult question. One possibility might be to ‘babysit’ whoever your friend is caring for to allow your friend to get out for a while. Perhaps set up an expectation about what your friend will do during the break, so that it will be something good for their morale. It should help your friend in both ways, and it means that they won’t spend the time you are with them being miserable and sharing it with you.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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