Watching a loved one struggle with a drinking problem can be a crippling endeavor. While you’re probably eager to help them get sober as quickly as possible, you may not know how to go about it. Even if you aren’t confident of how the person is going to react, it’s best to act quickly. Left untreated, substance abuse will only get worse and could cause serious harm to your loved one. Keep these practical tips in mind when assisting the person you love on the road to recovery today.
Recognize When Alcohol Is a Problem
Determining whether someone has a drinking problem can be tricky. One way to identify if they do is to evaluate how alcohol affects their life as well as those around them. Someone might have a drinking problem if they:
- Need alcohol to function or have fun
- Often drink too much
- Get in trouble at school, home, or work because of alcohol
- Have trouble in their relationships because of drinking
- Have been arrested for drinking and driving
Addiction is a complex condition. Because of this, it’s important that you take the time to learn about it before confronting your loved one. Reading books, researching online, or talking to a doctor or therapist can give you a better understanding of what the person is experiencing. Finding a support group, such as Al-Anon, is another proactive step in learning about the disease while establishing a healthy outlet for yourself. You need to see that you aren’t alone.
The Keys to Effective Communication
When you’re ready to talk to your loved one about your concerns, a little preparation can go a long way. Be sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Decide what you’re going to say ahead of time.
- Talk to the person when they’re sober.
- Do your best to stay calm.
- Be honest. Let them know what your fears and concerns are, including how their drinking is affecting others.
- Point out a specific problem that was a result of their drinking.
- Reassure them that you are willing to help them however you can.
It’s likely that the person will not want to hear what you’re telling them, and will disagree with you or deny things completely. You may have to have a few talks before your loved one comes around. No matter how they react, though, remember that you can’t force someone to stop drinking.
Plan an Intervention
If you’re unable to convince your loved one that they need help with a simple conversation, an intervention may be necessary. If the person is willing to go to therapy with you, a counselor can assist you in conveying your concerns to your loved one. Meeting with a therapist on your own can also be beneficial in planning out your intervention approach. If you choose to go through with an intervention, be sure to provide the person with treatment options as well as remind them of the consequences that could come from continuing to drink. These could include divorce, loss of child visitation, and not being welcome in your home until they’re sober.
Learn to Let Go
Whether your loved one decides to get help or not, it’s essential that you stop enabling their bad behavior. Allowing the person to experience the consequences of their actions will hopefully encourage them to get the help they need. For example, if your loved one gets arrested for drinking and driving, you may feel compelled to bail them out of jail and drive them everywhere until they get their license back. Don’t! Solving all their problems for them will only motivate the person with the drinking problem to continue behaving as they do. The best thing you can do to help them get healthy is to let them fail. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Learn More About Helping a Loved One With a Drinking Problem
If you know someone who has a drinking or substance problem, know that there is hope for their recovery. Fairwinds Treatment Center is committed to helping people struggling with addiction regain their health and freedom. With these practical tips, you can take the first step in helping your loved one have a second chance at life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support you both.