There’s a fine line between enabling and helping someone with an alcohol use disorder. Frequently, this line blurs when you live with the person whom the addiction snared. Would you know how to help an alcoholic? Most importantly, do you fully understand the condition yourself?
Alcoholism is a disorder that often requires the intervention of loved ones to assist their family members in overcoming this problem. The answer to how to help an alcoholic depends on the willingness of each family member. Professional help is beneficial for breaking the cycle of alcoholism. Many treatment centers directly involve family members so that everyone involved can heal during recovery.
Family members are the most affected when one of their family members is an alcoholic. Alcoholism can lead to physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological distress, poor relationships, and financial hardships. A family therapy program provides resources and accountability for everyone involved.
Talking to an Alcoholic Family Member
When talking to an alcoholic family member, it is not recommended to confront them as this may make them defensive or shy away from discussing the disorder. Many people struggling with alcoholism already deal with shame and guilt. Instead, approach them courteously and with a caring attitude. It will show that you are welcoming, and the family member will tend to listen to you.
You can share with them how their drinking problem has affected all family members. This way, they can see things from your perspective. Always offer support, and you can even provide suggestions on the treatment options they can consider.
You can also empower them by explaining the rehab process and encouraging them to take action by instilling confidence in how they can overcome alcoholism and regain sobriety.
If they respond positively to the conversation, offer to help them explore addiction treatment centers to find a recovery program that best suits their needs.
What to Avoid During the Conversation
When trying to talk to an alcoholic family member, avoid things such as:
- Talking to them when drunk will make them not pay attention or take you seriously.
- Avoid degrading words or confrontational tone as this can make them defensive; they may already feel guilt which can add to their agitation.
- Avoid making excuses and giving reasons that may justify drinking behaviors during the conversation.
- Always avoid negative statements but try to help him see the negative consequences of alcoholism.
A Drinking Problem Isn’t a Moral Failure
An alcohol addiction treatment program benefits someone who can’t control their drinking. As such, it’s a condition that results in compulsion. Your loved one probably no longer derives enjoyment from alcohol consumption. However, failure to have drinks now leads to withdrawal symptoms.
How to Help an Alcoholic Without Enabling the Condition
Your loved one must face the full extent of the situation. You need to stop if you’ve been buying alcohol, cleaning up empties, or mopping vomit. Should s/he pass out on the front lawn, leave the person there to wake up. Most importantly, stop making excuses for the behavior.
Next, educate yourself on rehab. A drinking problem isn’t something you can help your loved one solve at home alone. Instead, it requires the intervention of therapists. Because the condition affects the brain’s reward center, psychological treatment is a necessity.
Work with a facility that offers alcohol detox, rehab, and aftercare. This represents a full continuum of care, which ensures the best chances for success.
Possible treatments include:
- Residential detoxification and rehab at a safe, clean facility
- Personalized rehab protocol development with client input overall
- Masters level clinical care and about 30 or more hours of counseling each week
- 12 Step recovery meeting participation that focuses on peer accountability and support
- Group activities, which enable the development of social skills in a sober environment
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Learning how to help an alcoholic also involves reading about new terms. Dual diagnosis treatment could be one of them. It refers to the care for co-occurring mental health conditions.
Frequently, substance abuse goes hand in hand with anxiety or depression. Unless both conditions receive concurrent care, there’s a chance of relapse. Therefore, most good-quality rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment. It empowers your loved one to manage the underlying condition while breaking the addiction’s hold.
Offer Support Throughout the Treatment
Detox and rehab aren’t comfortable. However, you might not encounter much of the struggle because it usually takes place at the facility. That said, there’s the rehab aftercare program. Then, finally, your loved one returns home.
During family therapy, you relearned how to communicate effectively. Similarly, you understand what s/he needs to do to protect early sobriety. Therefore, you can encourage compliance with the program. But, most importantly, don’t enable a relapse.
How to Help an Alcoholic Get the Information You Need
After talking to your loved one, explain to them about the recovery process. Advise them on seeking a rehab center that offers evidence-based addiction therapies. Addiction therapies target negative emotions and behavior patterns that contribute to the cycle of addiction. Your therapists and counselors will help you work on the long-term strategies and coping skills that will allow you to stay sober and thrive in your recovery.
Along with a family therapy program, other therapies can include:
- Day Partial Hospitalization (Day Program)
- Day Intensive Outpatient Program (5-Day IOP)
- 5-Day IOP for Professionals and Working Adults
- Outpatient Program
- Alumni & Aftercare Program
Are you ready to learn how to help an alcoholic? At AspenRidge Recovery center, we offer the best treatment option for alcohol addiction. Additionally, we help with the insurance verification process and rehab admissions process. Call us today at 719-259-1107 for a confidential consultation.