Intervening in a Loved One’s Alcohol Addiction

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Struggling with substance abuse yourself is one thing, but watching your loved one deal with addiction can be another level of devastation. When you start to notice your loved one slipping into a routine of alcohol abuse, it is important to intervene. This can be a very scary proposition as you don’t know how they will react. However, your intervention may be the one thing that saves them from their habits. In this article, we will explore why it is often beneficial to intervene. Lastly, we will talk about possible options for addiction treatment.

Why Confronting Your Loved One’s Alcohol Use

When a loved one slips into a routine of drinking, it can be a worrisome situation for everyone involved. However, it’s important to address the issue and not ignore it. This is to ensure your loved one’s safety and health. Substance dependence can profoundly affect an individual’s behavior and well-being. It is best to take action as soon as possible to help them get the treatment they need.

You may not always recognize the signs that someone is struggling with addiction. This can be especially true if the person is very good at hiding their problem, as many people are. However, if you don’t act on small signs, then the problem may become much worse. Your loved one may be slipping further and further away from their former self. This is when they need intervention most to get them back on track. You may be their only hope of getting out of this destructive cycle of addiction. Giving them the gift of taking back control over their life may be the best thing you can do for them.

How to Confront Your Loved One’s Alcohol Use

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, effective interventions tend to involve expressing genuine affection, providing a sense of hope, and offering a sense of ongoing support. It also helps when the intervention is done by someone the person respects. Here are some tips to help make the process easier.

Find a Safe Place

It is best to have a conversation about their substance use in a safe place, away from distractions. Choose a location that is comfortable and private. Ensure you’re not rushed. Allow plenty of time for the conversation.

Be Open and Honest

Avoid blame and accusations. Focus on the facts. Explain how their addiction has been affecting you and your relationship with them. Then explain what you think they should do to get help.

Use Gentle Words

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), when discussing addiction with someone, always try to use person-first language (sometimes called “I language.”) Speak from your perspective and share what you’ve observed in descriptive language rather than accusatory language. This helps the person feel less defensive. You don’t want the person to feel attacked or judged. Most likely, they have not turned to substances to hurt you or themselves on purpose. Nonjudgmental and compassionate tones offer a sense of safety and hope to the person.

Express Your Concern and Empathy

Another way to effectively intervene is to show that you care by expressing your concern for their well-being. Communicate that you want them to feel good and happy. Additionally, empathize with their struggles. Let them know you can see that things are difficult for them. Convey you know it’s not easy to seek help or change.

Many people struggling with addiction feel isolated and lonely. When you express compassion and let them know you’re there to support them, they will feel less alone. This may help them become willing to seek help. Suggest specific resources your loved one can access such as support groups or therapy. Let them know you are there for them and willing to provide whatever assistance they may need.

Remain Calm

Even if your loved one responds negatively or denies the problem, try to remain calm. Although you may be intimidated by their anger or defensiveness, don’t give up. Let them know that you are there for them and will continue to support them no matter what. If the situation starts to seem volatile, remove yourself for a time for safety. You may both need time to regroup. You can address the situation again later.

Know that it is extremely likely that your loved one will deny their alcohol use or state that everything is under control. Be sure to convey to them that you are concerned and believe they are harming themselves. Someone usually begins to choose help when they realize their addiction is a problem. Gently conveying your worry and concern may help them recognize they are hurting those around them with their habits.

Where to Get Alcohol Addiction Help

Finding your loved ones a safe place for addiction recovery can sometimes be harder than anticipated. That is why we want to let you know that at First Steps Recovery, we have designed our treatment facility to provide rehabilitation that can lead to long-term success. We want to help you and your family work through the destruction of addiction and rebuild your foundation. We offer a tranquil environment surrounded by farmland and a variety of evidence-based services that truly work for promoting long-term sobriety.

Our staff offers comprehensive services that begin when your loved one walks into the door. They are met with trained professionals that guide them through detox all the way through in-patient recovery. We want all individuals to have confidence in their treatment and safety. Beyond that, we want our patients to reclaim their lives. Your family can and will be whole again.
Seeing the signs of addiction in someone you love can change your whole world. Knowing when to intervene and how to address the issue can be difficult. That is why at First Steps Recovery we understand the workings of addiction. We want to help you and your loved one break free from the grip of addiction and we have the knowledge to do so. At our facilities, we help with detox, in-patient treatment, and outpatient programs. We have every step of the journey toward sobriety covered. All we need is the commitment and understanding of our patients. If you are looking to help your loved one with their addiction, please contact First Steps Recovery at (844) 489-0836 for more information. 

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