How Can I Help an Alcoholic?
Alcoholism is considered to be a “family disease” because it affects the lives of not just the alcoholic but everyone close to that person. It’s also known to affect as many as 1 in 7 people. That means that there are a lot of people out there who know an alcoholic and whose lives are impacted by that person’s addiction. It’s a difficult situation to deal with and many people are left wondering, “How can I help an Alcoholic?”
How Can I Help an Alcoholic : Have a Conversation with the Alcoholic
Address your concerns with your loved one and make sure to choose a time when they haven’t been drinking because being under the influence of alcohol means that they are in an irrational state of mind.
It’s important to remain calm and be sure to state your concerns in a non-accusative way. Remind the person of the damage being caused by their drinking – to their health, to their relationships, at their job, and perhaps legally. Be specific. Remain as patient and uncritical as you can and don’t back down or allow them to play on your sympathies.
How Can I Help an Alcoholic: Stop Enabling
If your alcoholic loved one refuses to talk about the problem and refuses to get help such as going to rehab, you will need to consider what you are willing to do to help them and set healthy boundaries so that you don’t cross over into enabling them. Family members and other loved ones of alcoholics often struggle with maintaining healthy boundaries, often blurring the line between helping and allowing the problem to continue. Ways to avoid enabling include refusing to bail the person out of legal, financial, professional or personal problems. This includes not allowing them to stay rent-free in your home. As difficult as this might be, by continuing to bail them out of tough situations is to allow them to continue to drink.
How Can I Help an Alcoholic: Seek Information and Support
There are free support groups such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Family Anonymous that exist for people who are in the same or similar situation to you and seeking information on ways to help an alcoholic in your family. These groups offer meetings you can attend where you can share in each other’s experience as well learn about resources on how to help a loved one who struggles with substance abuse such as alcoholism.
How Can I Help an Alcoholic: Seek a professional’s input
Your alcoholic loved one might first agree to go to counseling before you are able to convince them to go to rehab. When it comes to full-blown alcoholism, counseling is most likely not enough to help your loved one to stop altogether and begin recovering. However, it can be a step in the right direction. Once your loved one starts seeing a counselor or therapist (make sure it’s someone with a background in treating substance abuse and addiction), this professional might help them see that treatment is what their situation calls for.
How Can I Help an Alcoholic: Arrange an Intervention
Gather other family members, loved ones, significant others, and friends together to discuss helping your loved one. Then arrange for a meeting with everyone and the alcoholic during which you can each address the person who struggles and speak about how their drinking is affecting the relationship. Ask them to seek help. This is known as an intervention. You can also contact an interventionist – someone who specializes in staging and facilitating interventions.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.