One thing about alcoholism is that you can never get someone to stop unless they want to. They are the only ones with the power to say enough is enough and take a turn to the sobriety path. They will stop when they are ready to. As a friend or a loved one, the only thing you can do is influence them positively until they change and overcome the disorder. On this note, there are some steps you can take to help them battle their addictive behaviors. Here are seven important things you can do to help your alcoholic friend or loved one.
Sometimes the addict is so lost in it that they can’t see its effect on their life. More often than not, all they lack is your voice or that of someone close to them. You need to create an open line of communication with them so you can talk about the issue. This is a conversation that none of you will feel comfortable talking about but it’s the first step in getting them to recover. Help them understand where your concerns are coming from and from there, they will decide whether to change or not.
2. Help Them, Find Professional Help
It isn’t that easy to get back to being sober after becoming a hardcore alcoholic. In addition to time and resources, it takes effort and all the help one can get. More so, alcoholism is a disease and may require the intervention of health professionals. The folks at CoastlineBehavioralHealth.com highlight getting professional help as one of the first steps to helping a friend or loved one in need. It may also involve trying to make them understand the essence and importance of treatment. It is even more effective if you accompany them to the treatment facility. Show some effort and they will respond in appreciation. The worst thing you can do to an addict is to despise or reject them.
3. Help Them Out with the Issue Leading to the Drinking
Most people don’t drink for the sake of drinking. The majority often have underlying issues that they are struggling with and drink as a way to self-medicate. Most of the time, the issue is depression or anxiety. At times, the person with the drinking problem may not know they have a problem. You need to approach them in a non-accusatory manner and try and figure out the underlying issue that could be causing their drinking habits. With some help, they could overcome the pressing issues and won’t have to self-medicate with booze.
4. Avoid Passing on Judgment and Shame
As earlier mentioned, you need to approach the issue in a non-accusatory manner. Making an addict feel more shame or lowering their self-esteem will just drive them more into drinking. Needless to emphasize, you need to know that alcoholism is a disease and the person you are trying to help is struggling with it already. You do not understand what they are going through underneath and therefore you are in no position to judge them. Once you have done this, you ruin every chance there ever was of making them sober again.
5. Avoid Enabling Them
The goal here is to make sure your friend or loved one quits drinking entirely. This won’t happen if you are the same person giving them reasons to drink. Bailing them out of bad situations or supporting their excuses for drinking won’t be beneficial. Enabling them includes doing for them things they are very capable of doing. Helping them towards sobriety means letting them become self-sufficient, which won’t happen when you are always there to answer when they call. Sometimes tough love will slap them into the reality of what alcohol is doing to their lives. This however doesn’t mean neglecting them.
6. Avoid Drinking Around Them
As the same person who is approaching an alcoholic over their drinking issues, it would be very counterproductive of you to drink in their presence. This makes you look less serious in the concerns you may have raised, possibly causing them to want to drink. This doesn’t mean you can’t drink. Just don’t drink in their presence or at least not just after voicing your concern over their drinking habits.
7. Be Supportive of Them Throughout the Road to Sobriety
Addicts don’t become sober overnight. It takes the completion of several milestones before they can become sober completely. Most importantly the love and support they receive throughout the recovery process play a major role in it all. Since you are the one who voiced the concern, it would be great if you stick with them to the end. Once they realize you no longer care, they will most probably go back to their old habits. This is why your concern and support need to be consistent.
Alcohol addiction is a messy dip that no one deserves to be in. It becomes worse when one becomes dependent on booze. Luckily, recovery is possible. If you want to help your alcoholic friend or loved one, these tips should prove instrumental.