loved one is an alcoholic

What Can I Do if My Loved One is an Alcoholic?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Most alcoholics will deny having a problem. Most alcoholics will not go out and seek help without an outside influence to help push them to make a change. If you leave an alcoholic to make a change using only their own free will, chances are that change will never happen. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule but it not a chance worth taking. This can be some hard news to handle if you have a loved one who is struggling with alcoholism.

You can make a difference in your loved one’s life, you can help them make the right choice. It will take some work and planning but your actions can help save their life.  The strong and deadly grip of alcoholism is nothing to play about with, you should view it as your responsibility to step in and have an intervention with them. It’s hard to see your loved one cross the line from a heavy drinker to an alcoholic, when their entire life is consumed by alcohol you need to step in.

women passed out with bottle of alcohol

Know the Signs of Alcoholism

There are some tell tale signs of alcoholism that you should keep an eye out for. Knowing these signs will help you understand where exactly your loved one stands.

  • Neglecting Responsibilities – They are showing up late for work or missing work entirely. They have been skipping out on commitments, their work performance has declined, or they have lower grades in school. They put everything on the back burner except
  • Drinking and Driving – You have heard of, or seen your loved one get behind the wheel of a car when they shouldn’t have. They continue to drink and drive even if they have already received a DUI.They have faced other legal repercussions due to their drinking.
  • They Drink Even Though it Has Caused Problems – Their drinking has negatively impacted their life in more ways than one. Whether it be personal/professional relationships, their health or legally it has done damage to their life. Even with these consequences they continue to drink.
  • Drunk on a Daily Basis – This can be the easiest one to spot, what started as a way to wind down at the end of the day has become a daily issue. They drink to get drunk and they get drunk daily. This will eventually lead to a physical dependence on the alcohol.

How to Step In

There are some things that you want to stay away from doing:

  • Don’t try to bribe them to get help
  • Don’t help them take care of responsibilities while they are active in their alcoholism.
  • Don’t help them hide or dump their bottles, keep the sad truth there to them to see
  • Don’t try and argue or approach them while they are intoxicated
  • Don’t blame yourself

Planning an intervention is a stressful thing to do, but it is much better to be prepared than to go into it blind. Remember you can not force someone to go get help, all you can do it explain to them how you feel and offer them help in seeking a new way of life. An intervention is best done with others, going at it alone can be difficult, dangerous and your chances of success are minimal. Try and get at least two other loved ones together to help with the intervention.

Before approach a loved one you should try and have a treatment center lined up for them to enter if they are willing to get help. Make sure you write down your thoughts, it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed with emotion when in the moment. You want to write down three key things:

  • What your loved one is doing and how it is affecting you
  • How their alcoholism is affecting their lives
  • What will happen if they refuse help.

If they refuse help you must stay strong. You need to let your loved one know that you will not just sit by and watch them kill themselves. Of course you cannot force them into a treatment center,
but you need to lay down some ultimatums. You
WILL enforce these if they refuse help. If you are helping them out financially let them know that is going to stop. There will be no more money for gas, for food, for cigarettes; chances are that money is going to alcohol anyway. Don’t invite them over for the holidays, don’t let them see their kids. Cut them off completely. You want to make it as hard as possible for them to continue their drinking.

Let them know you are only doing his because you loved them and care for them. Remind them that you are always there for them if they are willing to get help.

Are You or a Loved One Struggling?

If you or a loved are struggling with alcoholism please reach out today.  At First Steps Recovery, we never give up on residents. Alcoholism causes too much pain and heartbreak in our country, help stop the pain today. Please call us today if you or a loved one are struggling, 1-844-BIG-STEP (1-844-489-0836).

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