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How to Help an Alcoholic

Discussion in 'Sobriety' started by Michael, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Michael

    Michael Administrator Staff Member

    It can be heart breaking to have an alcoholic family member, friend or coworker and watching them self-destruct. The good news for someone trying to help a struggling alcoholic is that there are many resources available to assist. Here are some tips to help the alcoholic in your life.

    Don’t deny the problem. If you think that you or a loved one have a problem with alcohol then most likely there’s a problem. Denying that there’s a problem or avoiding it will only make it worse. If drinking is left to remain a problem then that will only lead to more problems like ailing health, troubled finances and deteriorating family and social life. Only when you’re willing to shine light onto the problem can it be solved. Positive action is necessary to help the alcoholic in your life. You must wait for the window of opportunity and then be ready to take action to help the alcoholic.

    This window of opportunity can be after an incident where the alcoholic has suffered a negative consequence from their drinking. They may be more receptive to agree to some sort of help after getting into trouble. Unfortunately, sometimes it will take more than one negative consequence before an alcoholic will wake up. The important thing is that they have someone there to initiate the help if they are unable to do it on their own.

    Don’t Judge, Ridicule or Label. Someone who has a problem with alcoholism is most likely emotionally unstable and sensitive. If you want to help this person you shouldn't attack them, ridicule or threaten them. The last thing they want to hear is “You are an alcoholic!” Alcohol has powerful effect on the body and mind and this must be considered when approaching an alcoholic. Care must be taken during the approach. Compassion is necessary to reach through the addiction and connect with the human being that is struggling. You must let the alcoholic know that you care and in the case of yourself, you must realize that people care about you. Never threaten or ridicule the alcoholic, doing so will only push them further away, agitating them and intensify the problem. Some situations may require an aggressive approach however the help must be carried out in the most compassionate way possible.

    Be supportive. Be supportive, be available and be ready to take action. Let them know that you’re there for them. Let them know that you care. Let them know that there is help available. There’s always a better way to living life and you want to help them reach their best potential. Discuss what’s going wrong; discuss the negative consequences or troubles that are happening in their life. Shine light on the problem and do it in the most positive way possible. Seek solutions together, never force it on them. Give them a few options and let them decide.

    Following these tips can assist you with helping the alcoholic in your life. These are only tips and not set in stone. Each person’s situation is unique and will require different approaches. If you think someone’s life is at risk you should contact your health care provider, family counselor, church or authorities immediately. Unfortunately, some alcoholics must hit rock bottom before they will agree to help. If this happens you shouldn't feel guilty. As long as you were always there for the person and offered to help that’s all that matters.

    Is there someone in your life you wish to help? Have you tried helping someone but were unsuccessful? Do you think that you might be an alcoholic but feel that you're on your own?

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