Living With an Alcoholic: Steps to Help a Loved One With Alcoholism
Effective Ways to Help an Alcoholic Loved One
Much like other types of addiction, alcoholism affects many more people than those struggling with substance abuse. Friends, partners, children, siblings, parents, co-workers, and anyone else who is part of an individual’s circle can be impacted. It’s hard to know how to help an alcoholic, especially if you’ve never experienced addiction firsthand.
In general, you likely want to help the person limit or eliminate the ways alcohol is affecting their life. When you’re living with an alcoholic, there are steps to help them get the assistance they need and support their efforts to enter recovery.
No one should ever have to try and make such a dramatic change to their life alone. Being part of their support system from day one can mean the difference between successfully becoming sober and not handling all of the hurdles they will have to get over as they begin a new, healthier lifestyle.
The first important step to help an alcoholic involves educating yourself on what it means to be an alcoholic. Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, is not when someone simply drinks too much once in a while. This may not be a good situation, and anytime someone binge drinks can put themselves into circumstances they typically wouldn’t while sober, but this does not make someone an alcoholic.
There are specific signs and symptoms you can look for regarding alcoholism to ensure it makes sense for you to approach the person in your life for whom you are concerned. It’s always good to look out for a friend or family member who you think might be drinking too much or using alcohol to cope with issues in their life, and it’s always better to err on the side of taking action versus doing nothing.
Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Wanting to help someone who you think is struggling with alcohol addiction can be challenging, but in the end, it will help more than just the person who needs assistance with alcoholism in your life. It often takes a long time to become addicted to alcohol. It may not be immediately apparent that a person shows signs or symptoms of alcoholism instead of just someone who drinks socially regularly. If you’re concerned, here are some things to look for in your friend or family member:
- A strong need or urge to use alcohol: This may become obvious if a person states they need a drink much more than would seem normal.
- Problems controlling how much they are drinking: This sign often presents itself when people are drinking in a social setting, and the individual in question is drinking much more than anyone else.
- Continue to use alcohol even when it causes problems: Getting into fights, being aggressive with people, not showing up for work, getting stopped while drinking and driving by the police, and AUD can bring on many other problems.
- Withdrawal symptoms when they rapidly decrease or stop drinking: Withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, headaches, nausea, and many more can set in just hours after an alcoholic has their last drink and are a sign of alcohol dependence.
Steps to Helping an Alcoholic
Whenever you’re going to address a serious issue with some, it is essential to be prepared. An excellent action to implement involves mapping out the steps you’re going to take to help the alcoholic in your life. These can include:
- Practice what you’re going to say: Be specific and don’t be accusatory. Please talk about your concerns, not their faults.
- Pick an appropriate time and place: You’ll want privacy and also someplace where they’ll feel comfortable.
- Honesty is the best policy: Be honest without being harsh, listen to their responses even if they seem like excuses at first, and above all, be compassionate.
- Offer support: Don’t just leave it at pointing out you’ve noticed a problem. Come with solutions and suggestions for them, like local treatment options.
Muse Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles offers comprehensive treatment to help an alcoholic with alcoholism. Our treatment programs include alcohol detox as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment options. To learn more, call Muse at (800) 426-1818 today. Our addiction treatment specialists are available 24/7 to answer your questions and begin the intake process when you’re ready to get started.