Living with someone who has a drug addiction is hard, and alcohol addiction is the same thing. It places you in an awkward situation – you watch them waste away, but you do not know exactly how to assist them. That is a frustrating feeling to experience. You even wonder if they want your help anyway, because you are afraid they will lash out at you and become defensive if you confront them with their habits.
Alcoholism is a complicated condition, just like drug abuse itself. It does not involve the loss of willpower alone, but also complex changes in the brain that make it very difficult for someone to quit; unless they get external help through alcohol abuse treatment. The person has many problems when they are trying to control their drinking, and they continue to consume the substance even when it is leading to problems.
The disorder can range from the mild forms, to severe addiction, and the mild cases can grow into serious ones. As long as the person receives early treatment, they will have an easier time overcoming the disorder – but you can also help them get there. Here are some ways to assist them.
Learn all you need to know about alcohol abuse
Before you start, you should know if your loved one or friend is actually suffering from an alcohol addiction, since this do9es not happen to everyone. It is more than simply frequent drinking from time to time; it also involves lack of moderation in drinking, even when they say they will have only one drink. The cases of using it as a form of social bonding and coping mechanism may seem like you are addicted, when it actually is not.
Make sure to educate yourself on what alcoholism is, and the symptoms that accompanies it. You can also use some health and government websites to give you some more information about it, as they will also give you tips on assisting someone with an addiction as well.
Practice what you will say
The most important thing is letting your loved one know that you care for them, and you are willing to help them recover. In this regard, do your best to not be presumptuous, negative or hurtful – the person might not trust you again, or they can give up on making the effort to get sober.
When explaining your position on the matter, avoid taking a passive stance because it is equal to blaming them for what is happening. Instead, use an ‘I’ stance to show you are an active participant, and reduce negative tones in your statements. Yes, you are hurt because of their addiction, but placing the entire blame on them is not going to help them recover.
In addition, make sure to prepare yourself adequately for all responses. Regardless of the reaction they will give you, it is important that you remain calm and firm, and they will eventually have your support.
Select the right atmosphere to talk
You cannot have the alcohol rehab conversation anywhere – it is important to select a good place that is free of interruptions. Even more important, the person needs to be as sober as possible.
If they do have a problem with addiction, then you need to be honest with them about the issue. Merely placing your hopes on them getting to their senses may not work, and it may lead you to desperation – never a good strategy to convince them to seek treatment.
In light of this, no one likes to be told they have some negative aspects of themselves, especially when it comes to addiction – so be prepared to get a negative reaction. This will help you formulate responses to the negative things they may say, so do not take their angry words to heart. Once you tell them how you feel, give them space to think about their choice, and also listen to their thoughts on the issue.
Give them your support
At the end of the day, you cannot force someone to go into treatment if they do not want it. You can only give them your help, and the decision to accept it is theirs. However, maintain an impartial mindset when dealing with the situation, and this will assure them you will not judge them.
They might tell you they will reduce their alcohol intake on their own, but actions are more important. Make sure to encourage them to consider and apply for treatment programs, and follow up on their decision – it is for the sake of their health.
If there are some family members or friends that can be involved in the problem, you can ask for their help. This depends on several factors though, such as how private the person is, and the seriousness of the problem.
This is more complex than simply encouraging someone to do something. It involves extensive planning, setting of consequences if the person does not follow through, sharing the options, and deciding on a treatment plan.
This will work if the person is resistant to get help, and it usually involves the help of several family members, friends and colleagues. The intervention is done through the help of professional counselors. Some treatment programs also offer their rehab services at little to no cost, so financial problems should not be an excuse for not seeking help.
Getting some help for you
It is very easy to forget yourself during the process of helping a loved one overcome alcohol addiction, also called codependency. However, this is dangerous because you do not have an objective viewpoint that is necessary to help them get the proper treatment. It even leads into obsessive behaviors, mental health issues and other problems.
It may be tricky to get through to a loved one suffering from alcohol abuse, but it is important to approach them with the correct mindset and strategy. Try understanding where they are coming from, and let them know that you are ready to support them in the journey to sobriety.