how to help an alcoholic

How to Help an Alcoholic

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

It’s easy, and tempting, to gloss over the realities of alcohol addiction in people we love, but the stakes are very high. This is serious business. Before we start, here is a short list of some common dangerous behaviors exhibited by those with alcohol use disorder.

How Do Alcoholics Hurt Others?

  1. They commit emotional, physical, and verbal abuse
  2. They commit crimes including domestic assault, child abuse, sexual assault, and homicide
  3. They drive drunk
  4. They become aggressive and get into physical fights
  5. They practice irresponsible or risky sexual activity
  6. They can be physically and emotionally neglectful to family and friends
  7. They risk their own safety including cancer, overdose, and suicide

Sobering Facts

With this list, it’s easy to see why you would want to help someone with alcohol use disorder (AUD is commonly called alcoholism). This is life and death stuff.

And this list is far from exhaustive. There are more aspects to the dangers of living with AUD than can be easily summarized. But beyond the dangers, there is also the devastation it causes in family and friends. It is hopeless to watch a person you love continually pour their life and cares into the bottle. The question most loved ones and family members constantly ask is, “How can I help?”

A Big Job

For many people, trying to help a friend or family member with alcohol use disorder is not just a daunting task, it’s one that’s tough to consider at all. Often, there is the fear of an emotional outburst or losing the trust of the struggling individual. However, there are two important reasons to choose to help a person addicted to alcohol:

  1. Save your loved one.
  2. Protect yourself

Here are a few actions you can take to help someone you love with an addiction to alcohol.

Research Available Treatments

As many counselors and psychologists will tell you, addiction treatment is an individual process. Because not every kind of treatment works well for every person, a successful program will be custom tailored to the individual’s needs. It’s essential that those seeking a plan of action talk to an expert in the field. They should learn about how different treatment centers operate and their processes for providing individualized care. The best rehabs provide a comprehensive detox approach that purges all traces of drugs from the system then has an individualized treatment plan that includes evidence-based treatment as well as experiential.

Bring It Up

Once a person has done the research on treatment options and individualized programs for people struggling with alcohol use disorder, the next step is to see if that person is open to treatment. Some alcoholics may recognize that they need help, saying yes right away; others may be reluctant, scared, or in denial.

The term “intervention” is often used to describe this process of talking to a loved one struggling with addiction. Here are the 4 essentials of intervening:

  1. Have an overarching plan in mind with concrete steps
  2. Establish specific talking points before intervening
  3. Carry out an accurate information collection process
  4. Always have a follow-through plan

You can hire a professional if you believe it is necessary. They are specially trained to help friends and family respond to the loved one in appropriate ways, such as with firmness or understanding. The professional will help the family prepare and figure out what to say. This step is also why having a rehab connection already set up is a good idea.

Whether you use a professional or not, please call First Steps Recovery today. Our addiction specialist can direct you to an interventionist or simply give you the information and resources you need to make the best move in the direction of recovery: 844-489-0836.

Be Caring and Supportive

Making sure that the family member always feels love and support is vital in helping them to follow through with treatment options. If they know people are on their side, they have added incentive and the foundation to build lasting recovery.

But remember, you are in this for the long haul. Going to a treatment center is only the beginning for a person with alcohol use disorder. Management of this disease will continue for their entire life. It gets less rigorous over time for sure, but this is a lifelong road of recovery, and they will need your support for every aspect of their journey. Not only can you help carry their life-load while in treatment, your willingness stay sensitive to their daily struggle will be crucial for long-term sobriety.

Take Care of Yourself

You cannot save your loved one. It is up to them. Certainly, there are things you can do, such as go to Al-Anon meetings (support groups for family members of alcoholics). As well, here are 6 other resources for you to investigate to make sure you have all the information you need.

But you have spent enough time taking care of others. You need to take care of you. Make sure you are eating correctly, getting your exercise, and recharging your life by doing things you love. You cannot help others find wholeness and healing if you don’t have it in your life, as well.

Again, you can not cure your loved one; however, good treatment, support from loved ones, and a powerful program, such as the one available at First Steps Recovery, are instrumental in helping a vast number of people break the cycle of addiction.

You can give your loved one a very good chance at lasting recovery by calling us today. Let First Steps Recovery be involved in your process of helping a loved one. We can walk with you through the entire journey: 844-489-0836.

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