When you see someone you love struggling with alcohol use or alcoholism, it can be challenging to know how to help them. This is especially true if you have never gone through addiction yourself or never knew someone previously who has. It is a delicate subject, and you don’t want to approach it improperly and risk the person pushing you out of their life or their situation getting worse. However, there are proper ways to help a loved one who is struggling with alcohol use, from educating yourself to finding the right treatment center.

Educate Yourself

Before taking any concrete steps, the first thing you should do is educate yourself on alcohol use, dependency and alcoholism. There is a stigma concerning addiction, and it is crucial to have the facts before you try to help your loved one. Learn how addiction is not a matter of willpower, but it is a disease that causes the person to actively seek out the substance that is harming their life. Learn about the risk factors, warning signs and what treatment will look like. You should also read up on the physical, emotional and social changes that many individuals struggling with alcoholism go through, as this will give you better insight into understanding your loved one. Once you have a solid foundation, you can begin making plans to approach them about the subject.

Investigate Potential Treatment Facilities

After approaching your loved one, they may choose to enter treatment for their addiction. You can research facilities with the person once they have made this decision as a gesture of support, but it is also essential to have some already in mind that you can suggest to the individual. These can be close by or farther away, depending on the person’s needs and financial situation.

Talk to an Intervention Specialist

To approach the person, you may need to stage an intervention. An intervention is when friends and family come together to approach their loved one about their concerns surrounding the person’s drinking or drug use. It should focus on the positives, such as treatment and hope for the future, but the family and friends should make their concerns known and let them know how their addiction has affected those around them. 

If you have no prior experience doing this, it is best to contact an intervention specialist. This person is specially trained in helping those struggling with addictions break out of their denial and keep the communication during the intervention moving. This person can help you have a successful intervention.

Have the Intervention

With the help of the intervention specialist, choose a time and place to hold the intervention. This should be a non-threatening space known to the person, and it should be held when the person is not drinking. Try to set aside at least an hour or two for the intervention and include those close to the person, such as family and close friends. Discuss how the person’s addiction has affected you, as the person may be unaware of the impact of their actions. This can offer them insight into how their lifestyle is damaging their lives and the lives of others. Have goals set beforehand that you expect out of the intervention, such as encouraging them to enter treatment.

Find a Treatment Center

Hopefully, the person will see that they need help for their drinking and agree to treatment. When this happens, you can research facilities together or suggest the ones you researched prior. Make sure you consider your insurance, traveling and if the treatment center has what your loved one needs to heal. Read reviews, call ahead, and, if possible, tour the facility. This way, you can see the help they will be receiving to ensure it sets them up for long-term healing and sobriety.

Support Them Through Recovery

Remember that support shouldn’t end once your loved one enters treatment. They will need your love and support more than ever during this period, as your encouragement can keep them from relapsing. Actively listen to them as they tell you about their experiences, thoughts and feelings to show you are there for them. Be patient and try not to make assumptions, as this can leave you disappointed. Healing doesn’t occur overnight, so stand by them even if their healing process takes longer than you expected. The important thing is that they get sober and stay sober. After treatment, help them build an environment conducive to their recovery by removing all alcohol from the home and supporting them when needed. Sobriety is a lifelong venture, and your loved one will need your support long after the first step into a rehab facility.


Seeing someone you dearly love struggle with alcohol use or alcoholism can be heartbreaking and leave you feeling helpless. However, there are ways to help your loved one make it through this challenging period and find sobriety. At the Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford, a New Jersey rehab center, we have seen the devastation alcoholism can cause. We can help your loved one get help, get sober and find happiness in their newfound life. Call us today at (877) 557-5372 for more information.