It can be very difficult to look after a friend or family member with an alcohol problem. You may wonder what you could do to help the person, or whether they even want your help.
A person with an alcohol-related disorder is known as "alcoholism". Alcoholism refers to a person who is dependent on alcohol for both psychological and physical reasons. They might have difficulties controlling their drinking habits, or they may choose to continue drinking even though it causes problems. These problems could impact their professional, social, and healthy relationships and even their health.
Alcohol abuse disorders can range in severity from mild to severe. Some milder patterns could lead to more serious complications. Individuals with an alcohol use disorder may benefit from intervention and early treatment. Your support can be as helpful as your willingness to assist the person in resolving to drink. Continue reading to learn how you can support your friend, family member, and loved one.
Step 1: Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder
Before you do anything, find out if your friend has an alcohol addiction. Alcohol use disorder or alcoholism can be more than just excessive drinking. Although alcoholism may appear to be a coping strategy or social habit, it isn't. People with an alcohol use disorder won't drink in moderation even if they have only had one drink. Learn more about alcoholism and its symptoms.
Step 2: Practice What You're Going To Say
Let the person you care about know that it's okay to be absent and that you still care. Make positive, encouraging statements. Avoid being negative, hurtful, or presumptuous.
Preparation for every response is key. No matter what reaction you get, you need to stay calm and assure them that they are loved and supported.
Step 3: Choose The Right Place
It is important to choose the right time for this important conversation. Talk in a quiet, private place. It is important to make sure you are not interrupted so you can give your full attention. Your partner should not be distracted or upset about other issues. Most importantly, they should be sober.
Step 4: Listen With Compassion And Honesty
If they do have an alcohol problem, it is important to be open and honest. You can't expect the person to get better by themselves.
Tell your loved one that it's worrying you that they are drinking too much. Let them know you are there for them. You can expect to get a negative response. You can accept any resistance to your suggestions. You might find the person in denial. They may even be angry at your efforts. Do not take it personally. Listen to what they have.
Step 5: Offer Your Support
It is impossible to force someone into treatment. All you can do to help is offer your assistance. It's up to the individual to decide if they accept it. Be sincere, empathetic, and nonjudgmental. Imagine yourself in the situation. What would your reaction be?
It is possible for a friend or loved one to vow to make some changes on their own. However, actions speak louder than words. Forbid the person from avoiding a formal treatment program. Get concrete commitments from the person and then follow through.
Also, you might want to check with other relatives and friends to see if they want to participate. This depends on many factors, including how serious the situation is and how private the person may be.
Step 6: Intervene
Talking to someone about your concerns is different than an intervention. An intervention has more involved. It involves planning, sharing, deciding on a treatment plan, and giving consequences.
If the person resists seeking treatment, then intervention may be the best option. Friends, family, or co-workers may come together to confront the person, urge them to get help and encourage them to do so. Interventions are often made with the assistance of a professional counselor. A professional therapist can:
- Offer advise about how you can get the person to treatment
- Please explain the different treatment options.
- Locate programs in the area
- Some agencies and organizations offer services at no charge.
Be sure to take good care of yourself. Being a support person for someone you love can cause emotional damage. Feeling stressed or depressed? Talk to a counselor, therapist, or psychologist. You may also be able to participate in a program for family members and friends of alcoholics at altacenters.com.