Alcoholism: How to Help

When a family member, friend, or colleague is struggling with alcoholism, we often feel the gamut of negative emotions, which can color our judgment when it comes to helping them. It is normal to feel ashamed, angry, sad, and overwhelmed by the toll alcoholism is taking on the people around you. Your loved one needs help, and everyone can benefit from some healing.

Spotting the Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

A problem drinker who binges or drinks regularly to the point where it is impacting their life and that of others in a negative way has an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism.

Learn to recognize the signs so you can help the person in your life who is on this path:

  • They drink more than they usually intend to.
  • The person has tried to cut back on their drinking, or stop completely, but can’t.
  • Calling in sick to work or not engaging in regular activities could be a sign that they are drinking too much.
  • Engaging in dangerous behavior such as driving under the influence or acting out in an erratic way.
  • They have blackouts and don’t remember what they said or did the previous night.
  • Alcoholics who stop drinking will exhibit withdrawal signs such as the shakes, sweating, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, moodiness, and agitation. These symptoms can start as early as the next morning or happen days later. People in severe withdrawal may have hallucinations or seizures.

How You Can Help

You can’t help someone else when you are falling apart. As a family member or friend of an alcoholic, you need to take care of yourself first. Alcoholics often lie to themselves and others about their drinking. They may not think that they are addicted. Here are some tips for how to help the alcoholic in your life:

  • Be honest with the person. First, let them know that you love them and that you want them to be the best that they can be, but you have noticed that they are drinking too much or too often.
  • Try to be aware of your own co-dependent behaviors, especially when you make excuses for their behavior. If the alcoholic won’t get the help they need, you need to establish a bottom line of how much of their behavior you will tolerate. Stick to it.
  • Attend an Al-Anon meeting to learn who you can help your loved one and cope with their alcoholism.
  • If you find that you aren’t getting through to your loved one about their addiction, plan an intervention. Friends, family, and colleagues will gather and work together with a certified interventionist to help move the alcoholic to go into treatment for their addiction.
  • Do your research and contact a recovery program that specializes in alcoholism,  medically supervised detox, and offers a comprehensive range of treatment options.

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Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

You’ve done your best to provide your loved one with the information they need to get help. You’ve been there and loved them during the difficult times. You’ve urged them to seek professional assistance for their addiction to alcohol. Now it is up to them. Sometimes no matter what you do, an alcoholic won’t be ready to accept help, or they may relapse more than once. Realize that this is part of the journey. One day, they will take that first step forward to sobriety, and you can be there to support them in their challenges and victories along the way.

Please contact us today to learn more about alcoholism and our recovery programs. Our compassionate staff is here for you and your loved one.