Can I help my loved one with alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction is common and dangerous, and many loved ones become good at hiding their signs and symptoms from their friends and family members. They may only drink away from their family and friends, hide alcohol bottles, always carry breath mints, and become good at covering up when they have been drinking. As a result, it can be challenging to discover how serious your loves one’s alcohol addiction is. Sometimes family members will act in co-dependent manners because they feel they are helping their loved one and believe that with time, this alcohol addiction will go away. Helping a loved one fight an alcohol addiction can be a complicated process, but with the right amount of patience and compassion, you can do a world of wonder for your loved one.
Learn about alcohol abuse disorder and addiction
For you to lend a helping hand to your loved one, it is vital that you become educated on alcohol addiction by learning the signs, symptoms, complications, and treatment options. There are so many myths and false ideas behind alcohol use disorder and taking time to research this disorder so you can discern fact from myth is essential especially when you are in the process of helping a loved one with their addiction.
Practice what you are going to say to your loved one
What you say and how you say it are equally important. It is crucial to pick a comfortable setting and a time where both of you are not rushed or emotionally charged. Speak with compassion and avoid any blame, negativity, or potential hurtful statements. Using “I” statements reduces accusation and lets you be an active participant in the discussion. It may be helpful to bring up a specific concern. You may mention when alcohol caused an unwanted effect, such as violent behavior or economic problems. Rather than saying, “You’re an alcoholic, you need to get help now,” you can say, “I love you, and you’re very important to me. I’m concerned about how much you’re drinking, and it may be harming your health.”
Prepare yourself for every response. No matter the reaction, you should stay calm and assure your person that they have your respect and support.
Offer your support and listen
Your loved one is going through a difficult time, so it is important that you make it known that you are supportive of them, regardless of what happens. Offer your support in any way they need it. Offer to help them find a treatment center, offer to take them grocery shopping, or offer your listening ear. Active listening is also an essential component of helping your loved one with alcohol addiction. You may be full of advice, but listening to your loved one be a beneficial tool for him/her.
Do not practice these behaviors
Learning what not to do is just as important as learning what to do for your loved one who is battling an alcohol abuse disorder. Do not:
Drink around them, even in a social setting
Do not take on their responsibilities, clean up their messes, make excuses for them, or act in any co-dependent manner.
Do not provide financial support unless the money is going directly to their treatment.
Do not tell them what to do, or tell them what is best for them.
Come prepared with tangible solutions
If you are going to talk to your loved one about their alcohol abuse, it is vital to approach them with concrete ways for them to seek help. This may include reputable treatment centers, support groups, and well-known therapists in your area. Offer up these treatment options with compassion, as it is common for your loved one to become defensive. It could be wise to offer that you may go to a support group with them if they are nervous about going alone or you are willing to drive them to check out different treatment centers.