If you think loved ones may have a problem with drinking, you're probably wondering what you can do to help. It can be a difficult, overwhelming position to be put in, but the less time you spend denying or minimizing their troubles, the sooner they can be helped. Don't wait — the first step is reaching out to let them know you're there for them and that they have your support. You may be met with resistance, even anger, but it's important they understand that someone else recognizes the struggles they're having and that they're not alone. Here are some tips for how to have the conversation:
- Have the conversation when they're sober and ready to listen. Ask them when a good time to have a talk would be.
- Be prepared to offer specific examples of when they've gone too far with drinking and how it has negatively affected themselves, their relationships and their life.
- Don't lecture, preach or threaten them. Keep it as positive as possible and focus on your willingness to help and support them.
- Let them know how their drinking has been affecting you, but try to avoid placing guilt or relying on emotional appeals.
- Don't let them give you excuses or rationalize their behavior and don't make excuses for them.
- It can help to illustrate how far their drinking is from the norm with some facts about average drinking behavior if they don't recognize that they have a problem.
Then, even once you've expressed your concern and support, don't expect them to stop without help. Connect them with the right people so they can get the treatment and professional support they need. While there are a number of alcohol treatment centers available, few offer the resources and proven success of Fairwinds Treatment Center. Spearheaded by nationally renowned expert M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, M.D., Fairwinds Treatment Center's highly capable and experienced team can get your loved ones the most effective treatment. Be sure to stay connected with them as they're undergoing treatment.
Even after treatment, know that your role isn't over. Recovery is an ongoing process, and there will still be a long road ahead. The risk of relapse is high, but if you remain involved in their recovery, it can be defeated. Support their participation in continuing care and treatment groups, or even join them yourself. Don't minimize any successes they have. Celebrate them! Together you can ensure their problems with alcohol are long behind them.