When someone suffers from alcoholism, their life will suffer considerably. Alcoholism leads to a variety of negative consequences when it’s left untreated, from physical impairments to damaged relationships.
Unfortunately, in some cases, those suffering may be reluctant to seek treatment.
If one of your loved ones struggles with alcoholism, you may wonder what you can do to make things better. Here are some tips you can use to help your family member.
Understand That Alcoholism Is A Disorder
Alcoholism stems from an addiction. Your loved one is not damaging their own life or the lives of others on purpose. Although the individual’s choices may have led them to develop the disorder, the disorder itself is not a choice.
Remember that your loved one is struggling and will likely need professional help in order to stop drinking. Do your best to view your loved one as someone struggling with an illness rather than someone engaging in destructive behaviors on purpose.
Address The Problem With Love
Many people struggling with alcoholism don’t realize the severity of the problem. Even when they’re fully aware of the problem, they may still be reluctant to seek treatment for it.
Confront your loved one directly about their issues with alcohol, but make sure that the entire encounter is as low in intensity as possible.
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Never try to talk to your loved one about their use of alcohol when the individual is drunk. Talking to a drunk person about alcohol use will never be productive.
In addition, it’s also important to avoid any expression of anger or judgment when you approach your family member. Remain calm and compassionate when speaking, and be sure to listen to your family member as well.
Be Prepared For Resistance
In many cases, someone who struggles with alcoholism will be resistant to the idea that a problem exists, especially the first time it’s mentioned.
Be prepared for the idea that your loved one may reject what you say. Don’t respond to this resistance with anger. Instead, express compassion and love, making sure your family member knows that you’ll be there to help when they’re ready to face this disorder.
It’s rare for someone with alcoholism to affect only their own life. The family members of people with alcohol use disorder almost always suffer because of their loved one’s condition.
For example, if you have a family member who abuses alcohol, you may find yourself the target of violent outbursts, or you may deal with calls from the local jail when your loved one gets caught driving drunk.
Although you may not be able to eliminate the impact on your life entirely, you can limit it by setting firm boundaries with your loved one. Do not allow your loved one to abuse you. If your loved one repeatedly gets picked up by the police, consider leaving them in jail.
Do Not Enable Your Loved One
Although it’s important to be compassionate and loving toward a family member struggling with alcohol abuse, you should not be an enabler.
Enabling your loved one’s harmful behavior will only make it easier for the individual to keep drinking. Do not hide your loved one’s behavior from family or friends to save face, and resist the temptation to fix the many problems your loved one’s drinking creates.
Find The Support You Need At The Bluffs
As a family member of an alcoholic, you’ll suffer a range of consequences. Seek support from professionals and/or others dealing with the same issue.
When your loved one is ready to seek treatment for alcoholism, provide as much support as possible. Help your loved one select a quality treatment program, and be sure to provide ongoing support as they move through the recovery process.
To learn about how we treat alcohol use disorder at The Bluffs, contact us today.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help