Alcoholism can be devastating to family members and loved ones. Ties, relationships, and even the entire family can fall apart due to alcohol use disorder. ”Alcohol use disorder “is the term DSM-5 uses to recognize the dependence on alcohol, which can be classified into mild, moderate, and severe form. However, the disorder is a family problem collectively rather than the individual's problem alone.

You may get confused or scared about the fact that alcoholism has crawled into your family or relationship, but these steps will guide you on how to cope with it.

How to Help an Alcoholic to Quit and Recover


The first step in the journey is to recognize the situation

Some alcoholics recognize that they have a drinking problem, but they won’t admit they need help. They hide behind excuses and wash your concerns by a simple “it just was a rough day” excuse. Other alcoholics are completely oblivious about their alcohol dependency. In this situation, you need to help them recognize that it’s in fact a huge trouble and they may need help.


Educate yourself about alcohol use disorder

Once you have recognized the drinking problem, you need to educate yourself about it. You should learn what the symptoms of alcoholism are. Also, you may pick up these symptoms from them and evaluate the severity of their situation. Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • High tolerance to alcohol

  • Aggression

  • Cravings or dependency

  • Loss of physical coordination

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Loss of interest in activities that the alcoholic was once engaged in

Moreover, you can start weighing the options available to deal with alcoholism and reach out to experts and therapists who treat alcohol addictions.


Confrontation is not easy, but it’s necessary

This is not a problem that can go away by itself or just by mere denial. You have to face the addict you are concerned about and talk to them. However, you have to pick the right time and place so that both of you can communicate effectively. Never open the conversation when the person is intoxicated as their judgment is impaired and irrational.

In addition to the right time, pick the right place to bring the issue up. Go to a place that can provide privacy and have no distractions so that both of you can give your full attention.


Give your loved one a chance to change

Some alcoholics realize and admit their alcohol dependency. Although alcohol use disorder treatment essentially needs willpower, it can’t be enough. If it’s the first time your family member has suffered from the addiction, you may give them a chance to change and get their act together. However, don’t feel relieved if they promise you to quit. Act on actions and not words.


Assemble an intervention

Talking alone is not an effective effort of help. You need to get involved. An intervention is a great involvement step in how to help an alcoholic. Invite friends, colleagues, and other family members to attend the meeting. Your goal is to get your dearest person to accept treatment. If you face resistance, invite a professional counselor. During the intervention, all the attendees can face the alcoholic and tell them about how their addiction is affecting others lives. Also, they can mention past experiences with similar ordeals and suggest their solutions.

During the intervention, the professional counselor can give advice on how to get into treatment, suggest and explain the treatment options, and find the appropriate programs in your area.


Cut their finance

One of the downfalls of alcohol addiction is financial instability. Addicts probably lose their jobs and savings pursuing the relief alcohol provides. It is horrifying to see a person you admire so dearly struggle to pay their mortgage and you may offer some financial support.

This is one of the traps family members fall into. By providing money, you enable them to continue their addiction further. Another reason to abstain from giving money is that they may use the money to buy more alcohol. So, don’t provide any help concerning any rent, mortgage, or even a loan. Instead, you can buy them the supplies they need to sustain themselves such as food and water.


Ask for help: You shouldn’t be alone in this journey. It needs the collaboration of all your friends and family members to get out the alcohol addict from their misery. Gather constantly to discuss ways and issues concerning how to help an alcoholic. You may take turns in helping them through detoxification and rehab.


You are not made of steel, take care of yourself: Living the turmoil and emotional chaos of dealing with addicts can take a toll on your health mentally and physically. If you are depressed or exhausted, talk to a close friend or relative and share your struggles through the treatment. If that is not enough, there are professionals and experts in supporting alcoholic’s family members and partners who can provide a good advice on how to stay healthy.


Offer full support and know when to say no: After rehab, alcoholics need to maintain abstinence from alcohol or else they relapse. Although it’s not an easy job, family members or close friends need to show full support by maintaining a positive attitude towards that person. Some positive attitude practices include not inviting them to social events involving heavy alcohol use and never drinking with them.


Don’t feel guilty or blame yourself: Family members or close partners may feel guilty and consider that their loved one's addiction was their fault. Keep in mind that everybody is responsible for their own actions and it is not your fault if your loved one has fallen into the trap of alcoholism.


Don’t make excuses for them: You may get tempted to cover their actions out of love. You may make excuses to their boss or colleagues or you may try to take some of their responsibilities. This only exacerbates the addiction. One of the steps of how to help an alcoholic is to make them take their responsibilities and duties.


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