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Alcoholism is a family disease because it affects close family members and friends. However, those friends and family can be vital to a successful recovery.
The first step in helping an alcoholic is acknowledging the problem and identifying the signs. These signs include:
If you notice a combination of the above signs, it may be time to seek professional help. Without proper treatment, their alcoholism can worsen and affect everyone around them.
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Helping a loved one deal with their addiction can be overwhelming and confusing. Fortunately, there are ways for you to approach the situation.
Here are 10 tips to help stop someone from drinking:
Remember, alcoholism is a disease, so it’s essential to treat it as such. Informing yourself about alcoholism helps you understand and recognize behaviors related to alcohol abuse.
Understanding what alcoholism is can help you sympathize with what your loved one is going through. You can even be there to assist them when an emergency happens.
You can also help guide them to sobriety by doing things like:
Alcoholism can be a difficult conversation, so make sure you have a plan. More importantly, don’t try to discuss the issue when they’re intoxicated or emotionally unstable.
Avoid making them feel attacked, judged, or shamed. So, avoid harsh or accusatory language.6
When you approach them, be honest about your concerns and show that you care about them. Try not to push them too hard. You can change the subject if the conversation makes them uncomfortable or irritated.
Make sure they feel comfortable talking about their drinking problem. Your loved one may be too shy or afraid to speak to you about it, so make them feel safe.
You can do this by being sympathetic. Put yourself in their shoes and show them that you understand what they’re going through.
When you communicate openly, you’re providing a safe and understanding space. They’ll be willing to have a deeper conversation about your concerns when they're comfortable with you.
Your loved one may be suffering from anxiety and depression, and they’re using alcohol to cope. However, telling them that they’re suffering from depression may sound accusatory. Instead, ask them gently what they think could be contributing to their drinking behavior.
Try to mention some common causes of alcoholism they can relate to. This may help them open up to you.
Someone struggling with alcoholism will choose alcohol over everything. With that in mind, don’t make them agree to a “quit day.” Doing so will give them more pressure and stress.
The last thing you want is to see your loved one frustrated when you’re trying to help. The best thing to offer your loved one is an option for treatment.
Research the types of alcohol treatment programs available near you.7 Make sure you consider these options and choose the right one for your loved one.
Drinking around an alcoholic encourages their urge to drink. On the other hand, if you’ve already approached them about their drinking problem, drinking alcohol around them won’t encourage them to stop.
It will affect the trust they have in you and discourage them from seeking your advice. You should also avoid putting them into triggering situations like:
Making excuses for an alcoholic or bailing them out when they get in trouble isn’t helpful. Giving your loved one money when you know that they will use it to buy alcohol makes the problem worse.
Practicing some tough love is necessary. Let them handle their troubles. Even if they feel unloved, it will benefit them in the long run.
Don’t give up if you’re not confident about your ability to help. Recognizing the problem and having the will to help is good enough.
If you know someone who has successfully quit alcohol, you can learn a few things about their experiences. Then, see how it applies to your loved one.
If they’re okay with it, have them talk to your loved one about recovery. Other family members can also help by encouraging or funding treatment.
When discussing recovery, show your loved ones that you’re willing to support them through recovery. This will encourage them to pursue the recovery journey without relapsing.
Set goals with them and even come up with rewards for achievements made. Remember, recovery is a continuous process, and it continues beyond treatment.
Knowing both treatment and aftercare programs will help you prepare for the process, especially in case of relapses. As an affected person, you may also need to get some form of support, such as family therapy.
Addiction therapists, physicians, and counselors can provide effective detox and treatment. They can also help your loved one manage unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
You can enroll your loved one in an inpatient or outpatient program. Your choice can depend on the extent of addiction and the availability of resources.
Outpatient programs allow them to attend treatment while continuing their daily lives. However, inpatient or long-term recovery programs require them to stay in an alcohol-free facility during treatment.
Alcoholism is a disease that can ruin relationships. It can affect everyone around the addicted person and cause significant damage.
Children are the most affected when a family member has a drinking problem. If alcoholism leads to divorce, children get frustrated by the separation. They may even become alcoholics themselves when they grow older.4
Friends may drink together for social reasons. However, alcohol dependence can ruin great friendships if the alcoholic proves to be a burden, nuisance, or embarrassment.
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If you’re wondering if alcoholism can be treated, the answer is yes. People with AUD can benefit from some treatments and therapies available in alcohol rehab centers across the U.S.
Available treatment options for alcoholism include:
Caring for someone with an alcohol problem may be difficult. Consider seeking support from other people, such as friends or family.You can join a support group like Al-Anon and Alateen as a family member.5 These are groups focused on helping family members and young people living with an alcoholic.
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