The Most Important Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic
Alcohol is one of the most widely abused legal substances on a global scale as a result of its ease of accessibility and the fact that it is legal for consumption to those of licit age. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a massive issue in the U.S. as it is in many parts of the world.
Watching anyone suffer from alcoholism is very difficult, but watching someone such as your very own family member or close friend struggling truly hits home harder. Many wonder what sort of steps are involved in helping those who need assistance for their AUD (alcohol use disorder).
Approaching Someone With AUD
Step #1: It’s important to know if the person you are looking to help is suffering from alcohol use disorder or alcoholism. AUD and alcoholism are much more than simply drinking too much now and then. AUD and alcoholism become a coping mechanism for those who have a problem with drinking. Those who suffer from AUD cannot consume alcohol in a rational and moderate manner; they consume numerous drinks per hour on a daily basis until they ‘black out’ or pass out. These individuals also suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they are not drinking.
For those who suffer from alcohol addiction, attending support groups such as AA meetings and Al-Anon meetings can help.
Step #2: Knowing what you are going to say once you sit down with the individual is an imperative step in dealing and helping a problem drinker. Let the individual know that you care immensely about them and their recovery and want to see them get better. Be as positive and supportive as possible during this time. Prepare for the likelihood of sensitivity and emotions and any sort of questions that may arise.
Step #3: Choosing the right time and place is a crucial part of confronting a problem drinker. Choose a place that is quiet and has privacy so that the individual, as well as yourself, can be comfortable during this time. It’s also important that you choose a time when the individual is sober and not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Step #4: Listening with compassion and empathy is an integral part of helping someone who is struggling with a drinking problem. Letting them know that you are there for them every step of the way will let them realize that you will be there for moral support and in times of need. Be prepared for an element of resistance when you tell them that you believe they have a drinking problem as this is a common reaction for those who are confronted about their drinking.
Step #5: You cannot force someone to get help, you must tell them the benefits of attending treatment as well as the repercussions if they do not seek help. Have a sense of urgency when you approach them about their drinking so that they understand the seriousness of the issue at hand. Be non-judgemental and let them know that you will offer a wealth of support throughout their entire recovery journey.
Warning Signs of an Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction affects everyone who is involved in the individual’s life; not simply just the addict. Alcohol addiction can affect anyone regardless of gender, income, or regional locality; this disease is non-discriminatory.
Some common signs of teens who are struggling with an alcohol abuse problem are:
- Becoming increasingly private and secretive
- Losing interest in maintaining a refined physical appearance
- Asking for money or depleting their funds
- Lack of interest in former hobbies
If your teen is showing signs of a possible drinking problem, it’s important that you confront this issue right away before it becomes more severe. Utilizing the five steps to dealing with a problem drinker, the issue can be brought up to the forefront. Offering help and options for rehabilitation to your teen will let them know that there are options out there that are available to help them get better.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.