When you love or care about someone, you don’t want to see this person hurt. Whether emotionally or physically, you do not want to see them suffer and would do anything to prevent them from being so. This is understandable and normal in a family, spousal or dear friend setting. When that person you love and care for is an alcoholic, you wonder how to help them in the best way possible.
Someone with alcoholism is described as someone with an alcohol use disorder. According to the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), there are about 17 million adults, ages 18 and older, in the United States with alcohol use disorder, and one in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has alcohol use disorder. Someone with alcoholism has both a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. They may have problems controlling their drinking habits or choose to keep drinking even though it causes problems. These problems may interfere with their professional and social relationships or even their health.
How to Help an Alcoholic?
When people ask how to help the alcoholic in their lives, the answer they usually receive is, “Unfortunately, there is not much anyone can do until the person with an alcohol use disorder admits they have a problem.
While it is true that your loved one needs to actively seek sobriety and want to change, you don’t have to sit back and watch them self-destruct, hoping and praying that a light bulb goes off in their head. There are several things you can do to help, show your concern and support for your loved one struggling with alcoholism.
Learn about alcoholism – Before you do anything, it’s important to know whether your friend or loved one has an alcohol addiction. Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, is more than just drinking too much from time to time. Sometimes alcohol as a coping mechanism or social habit may look like alcoholism, but it’s not the same. People with alcohol use disorder don’t drink in moderation, even if they say they’re only having one drink. To learn more, read about alcoholism and its symptoms.
Programs for Families of Alcoholics
There are also programs and websites for further resources and information on helping someone with alcohol addiction. Explore them to learn more about the addiction and experience:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Practice what you’re going to say – Let the person you care for know that you’re available and that you care. Try to come up with statements that are positive and supportive. Avoid being negative or hurtful.
Prepare yourself for every response. No matter the reaction, you should stay calm and assure your person that they have your respect and support.
Pick the right time and place – Choose the right time to have this important conversation. Have the conversation in a place where you know you’ll have quiet and privacy. You’ll also want to avoid any interruptions so that you both have each other’s full attention. Make sure your person is not upset or preoccupied with other issues. Most importantly, the person should be sober.
Approach and listen with honesty and compassion – If the person does have an alcohol problem, the best thing you can do is be open and honest with them about it. Hoping the person will get better on their own won’t change the situation.
Tell your loved ones that you’re worried they’re drinking too much, and let them know you want to be supportive. Be prepared to face a negative reaction. The person may be in denial, and they may even react angrily to your attempts. Do not take it personally. Give them time and space to make an honest decision, and listen to what they have to say.
Offer your support – Realize that you can’t force someone who doesn’t want to go into treatment. All you can do is offer your help. It’s up to them to decide if they’ll take it. Be non-judgmental, empathetic, and sincere. Imagine yourself in the same situation and what your reaction might be.
Get Help with Alcoholism
If you or a family member has a drinking problem, please contact Allure Detox today. We can help put the problem drinker on the road to a richer and more rewarding life.