When someone you care about has a drinking problem, it’s only natural that you want to help. But are you doing the right things? Or are you enabling the person to continue? Here’s how to help an alcoholic and maintain your sanity at the same time.
Professional Help is a Necessity
Professional alcoholism treatment is vital. You can’t help your loved one end the drinking problem on your own. You’d like just to wave a magic wand, cook some good food, and have the problem go away. However, that’s not how it works.
An alcohol use disorder has deep roots in a person’s behaviors, genetic predisposition, and social conditioning. No amount of love and caring can overcome it. Rather, learning how to help an alcoholic starts with becoming an informed friend or relative. Understand what’s going on.
How to Help an Alcoholic from a Position of Strength
Alcohol use disorder develops gradually. It might start with binge drinking. From there, it progresses to frequent alcohol abuse and excesses. As the body builds up a tolerance, someone drinks more to get the same effects.
When the addiction’s in place, your loved one no longer has a choice. If s/he doesn’t drink, there are physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. S/He’ll drink just to feel normal. What he or she needs now is detoxification.
Your best option is to help your loved one enter a rehab facility that offers detox as well. Doing so cuts down on the risk of early relapse. Similarly, educate yourself on what the rehab center provides. When you discuss the programs from the point of knowledge, you might persuade her/him to check out the facility. This is the best way to help an alcoholic in your life.
Possible treatments include:
- Trauma therapy that assists individuals with backgrounds that could trigger substance abuse
- Family program participation that encourages open communication and support network creation
- Behavioral therapy as a way to develop coping and life skills that address stressor responses
- Lifestyle counseling that includes nutritional advice and the development of an exercise regimen
Best Ways to Help An Alcoholic
It’s not possible to check in your loved one if s/he doesn’t want to go. At this point, it’s wise to consider an intervention. It involves the assistance of a therapist who helps your loved one think through the advantages of treatment. Your loved one’s dignity is paramount at all times of the process.
However, if they’re not yet ready to enter rehab, consider withdrawing some support. Specifically, don’t enable the person to continue the alcohol abuse without consequences. For example, if s/he relies on you to cover up, clean up, and make up excuses, stop doing so. It’s vital that s/he experiences the consequences of the actions first-hand. This help for an alcoholic can be counter-productive if they do not respond well.
Similarly, do not financially enable the drinking problem. When your loved one asks for money, present the admissions paperwork instead. Now that you know how to help an alcoholic, contact the Silver Pines Treatment Center at 866-345-2147 for more details.