Alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder. Substance use disorder. Alcohol dependence. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it is a tough row to hoe. Sometimes family members can feel as lost and confused as those struggling with the addiction and other accompanying disorders. Here are five tips on how to help an alcoholic family member.
1. Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand
Do not pretend the problem does not exist. Do not make excuses for them. Do not hide the problem from others. This is just enabling them to continue their destructive behavior. Acknowledge that the family member has a problem and figure out ways to help support them.
2. Show Concern, Not Judgment
Practice what you will say to them so that you are using positive encouragement rather than negative condemnation. Be supportive and show that you want to help them and not judge them. Most alcoholics find comfort in alcohol, this means they may need other forms of support. Be supportive and look for ways to help them in their time of need.
3. Practice Self-Care
Make sure that you are putting your health and welfare first. You cannot care for someone else if you are not well yourself. Find ways to improve your social, mental, and physical well-being before you try to help others.
4. Do Your Research
To be as prepared as possible, find out as much as you can about:
- Addiction in general
- Physical and psychological issues of alcohol addiction
- Co-occurring disorders
- Treatment options available: locations, types of therapies, cost, insurance coverage, financial assistance
5. Seek Professional Help
You may need to hold an intervention. It is strongly recommended that you have an addiction specialist guide you through this process. It is very important to:
- Gather your intervention team carefully
- Engage them in conversation or intervention when they are sober
- Have specific details and examples ready to illustrate need and concern
- Stay strong, persistent, and consistent
- Discuss and finalize options available to them, and be firm
- Establish consequences if their post-intervention decisions and actions
Contact Summit Malibu
At Summit Malibu, we know it can be hard to know how to help an alcoholic family member. We can help answer many of these questions and provide the information you need to help an alcoholic family member. Contact us to get more information and help your loved one find the peace and recovery they so richly deserve.