What Can I Do To Help An Alcoholic?

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

It is hard to sit back and watch a family member or friend struggle with an alcohol dependence. If you are reading this article, it is likely you are looking for a way to help your loved one who is using alcoholism as a means to cope. The person may or may not want your help, but your are searching for ways to guide him toward recovering from the addiction. Here are some ways you can do to help your loved one with his alcohol dependence issues.

To start, learn as much as you can about addiction. It will aid you to know how to best guide your loved one. There are many reliable websites online to look at to educate yourself about addiction.

Set a specific time to talk to your family member or friend. Decide on a neutral place or a place where the two of you can talk openly about the subject. Make sure you will be able to have the person’s undivided attention and distractions are few. Do not have this conversation when the person has already been drinking. If the person has already been drinking, then he will only be more agitated.

Be honest with the person you care about who is suffering from addiction. If your relative or buddy has an alcohol problem, whether he can see it or not, you should talk with him about it. An alcoholic is typically not willing to bring up his problem addiction because he is ashamed and embarrassed by it. It is often easier to deny he has a problem than talking about it. If the person is dependent on alcohol, then there are possibly numerous ramifications to stopping alcohol use for him, both emotionally and physically. You can approach the person to let him know how worried you are about him. However, do not be surprised if the person reacts negatively to you bringing up your concern about his alcohol use. Instead, be prepared for the resistance you might receive. Also, keep in mind you cannot force anyone to change or want recovery, but you can help him understand why you believe he needs help for his alcoholic tendencies. Do not be judgmental and be sincere when you are talking to your loved one about this topic. Try to put yourself in his shoes and think about how you would want someone to talk to you if a loved one was talking to you about these issues.

Rehearse what you will say before speaking to your family member or friend. Practice positive ways of saying what you want to say, rather than phrasing them in a negative connotation. Prepare yourself for negative responses you may encounter in return. Practice how you will handle the conversation if the person get angry. How will you remain calm and bring the conversation back to a less negative place? Practice with a friend if that will help you feel more relaxed about having this type of conversation with your loved one. Practicing will aid you in feeling more confident while communicating with your loved one about this topic.

If the individual is willing, ask him to make a firm commitment to make a change. Realize the person may mess up along his path to sobriety because committing to change is often very difficult, but asking him to make a commitment will allow some leverage to hold him accountable.

Request others family members or friends to get involved and talk to the alcoholic about his addiction and have them tell him why they see it as a problem. You can seek professional help for yourself and ask your loved one to seek professional help as well. By getting professional help yourself, the counselor can help you learn new ways of talking to your friend and perhaps develop a better plan with you of how to push your loved one toward the path to recovery. Helping a loved one get over an addiction can be taxing on a person’s life, so make sure you are seeking help for your emotional and physical help as well. A counselor can help you deal with the stress you are feeling about your loved one’s addiction too. There are also many support groups set up to help family members and friends of addicts, so those groups might be a good thing to look into to help you deal with your feeling about your loved one’s addiction also. Providing counseling for your loved one will allow a professional to assess his addiction and provide a plan to move forward. A professional can also help the person understand why he needs to go to a treatment facility if necessary and calm his fears related to his recovery process.

Know that it is important to always be there for the person, even throughout the treatment process. Keep in mind, treatment for drinking is not always foolproof the first go around. It may take several tries for the person to remain abstinent from booze. Addiction is a disease and fighting the battle of sobriety is often very difficult. Have patience with your friend or family member when he is recovering from this disease. Encourage him when he messes up instead of shaming him and support him and praise him when he is on the right track. It is also a good idea to find out what he learns throughout his treatment process and help him stay on track with his goals. Be invested long-term to help him continue on his path of recovery. Remember to be supportive, but refrain from being codependent. Do not get so wrapped up in your loved one’s recovery that you lose yourself. If you believe you are codependent, seek help from a professional to overcome these issues in your life too.

The best thing to do when your family member or friend is dealing with alcoholism is to educate yourself. Next, you should rehearse what you want to say to him and, then, talk to him about how it affects your life as well as his life. Ask him to make changes in his life and to get help for his problem. More importantl, be there for him while he is going through the difficult recovery process and removing alcohol from his life. Constantly remind him you are there to support him through his journey to better his life and to have freedom from drinking.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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