Author: Charles Frank

Helping Someone with a Drinking Problem

how to support an alcoholic

Alcohol-related problems—which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often—are among the most significant public health issues in the United States. It’s probably not going to be easy to have the conversation, but preparing yourself in advance can help. Writing down your concerns in a list can help you organize your thoughts and feelings. It can also be useful to refer to your list during the conversation to help you stay on track. It’s also a good idea to wait until your friend isn’t under the influence. Otherwise, they will probably be less willing to hear your concerns.

how to support an alcoholic

The emotional impact of helping a loved one stay sober can take a toll. Seek help from a therapist or a counselor if you feel stressed or depressed. You can also participate in a program that’s designed for the friends and family members of alcoholics, such as Al-Anon. Instead, seek emotional support from those around youYou’ve taken up the challenge to help a loved one become sober. There are others who have been through what you’re experiencing.

Loving Someone With Alcohol Use Disorder—Dos and Dont’s

SMART Recovery – Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a program that aims to achieve abstinence through self-directed change. Women for Sobriety – Organization dedicated to helping women overcome addictions. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – Learn more about AA’s 12 steps and find a support meeting in your area. BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you to licensed, accredited therapists who can help with depression, anxiety, relationships, and more.

  1. A support group such as Al-Anon Family Groups may also be a helpful source of support when you have someone in your life with a drinking problem.
  2. Some of your actions, although with the best of intentions, will backfire and fuel an addict’s alcohol abuse.
  3. Recovery from alcoholism or a drinking problem can be a bumpy road.
  4. These medicines are designed to help manage a chronic disease, just as someone might take drugs to keep their asthma or diabetes in check.

Lean on the people around you, and, if you need to, reach out to a mental health professional to speak about your stress and what you’re going through. Don’t succumb to pressure and start drinking yourselfAgain, it seems like a no-brainer, but don’t seek unhealthy stress-escape routes. Remember that an alcoholic is choosing the drink before his family and friends, and you’ll quickly find yourself repulsed by drinking yourself. As shocking as it sounds, caring about yourself is as important as caring about your loved one facing an alcohol use disorder.

If you know of no one to reach out to, try 12-step programs, like the Al-Anon, which are designed for family members and friends of alcoholics. Lower your expectationsYour first meeting is likely to produce no results. Alcoholics are highly unlikely to admit their problem and seek professional help right away. Instead of hoping for an immediate solution, start with opening up communication channels with your loved one.

You may be worried that if you bring up your concerns the person will get angry, defensive, lash out, or simply deny that they have a problem. Your loved one’s drinking isn’t likely to get better on its own; it’s more likely to get worse until you speak up. Caring for a person who has problems with alcohol can be very stressful.

If your loved one is truly dependent on alcohol, they are going to drink no matter what you do or say. It’s common for someone with AUD to try to blame their drinking on circumstances or others around them, including those who are closest to them. It’s common to hear them say, “The only reason I drink is because you…” Avoid Becoming codependentDon’t get so involved in the process that you find yourself being dragged along the same road the addict is taking.

Tips for talking to someone about their drinking: Things that can HELP

Take the assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. She’s also currently working on her dissertation, which explores intersections of disability studies and literacy studies. When she’s not researching or writing, Cherney enjoys getting outdoors as much as possible. Talk therapy (or play therapy for younger children) can also help you all work through the challenges AUD can present to a household. Pay attention to your loved one when he or she is doing better or simply making an effort.

how to support an alcoholic

Make sure that you are not doing anything that bolsters their denial or prevents them from facing the natural consequences of their actions. For those who love someone living with an addiction, it is very difficult to sit back and let the crisis play out to its fullest extent. You may tell yourself that surely there is something you can do. But the reality is that not even the person dependent on alcohol can control their drinking, try as they may. Take the assessment and get matched with a professional, licensed therapist.

When addressing drinking problems, it’s important to also seek treatment for any accompanying medical and mental health issues. Standing by your friend or family member’s progress during and after treatment is important, too. Even after recovery, your person will be in situations they can’t predict.

Groups for family and friends

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications for treating alcohol dependence, and others are being tested to determine whether they are effective. Certain medications have been shown to effectively help people stop or reduce their drinking and avoid relapse. Some are surprised to learn that there are medications on the market approved to treat alcohol dependence.

They likely don’t even realize they’re behaving this way, and they may not remember once the effects of the alcohol wear off. Someone with AUD may also become angry or irritable when they don’t have access to alcohol because they’re experiencing withdrawal. When your loved one drinks or is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, their mood can become unpredictable. They might be friendly one moment, only to become angry and violent the next. According to the Foundations Recovery Network, up to two-thirds of cases of alcohol-related violence occur in close interpersonal relationships. Such instances can put you and your household at risk.

It’s vital that you stay safe, take care of your own health, and get the support you need. Behavioral treatments include individual, group, and family therapy sessions. Your role doesn’t end when your loved agrees to seek help. Recovery is an ongoing process, requiring time and patience.