How to Help a Relative with Alcoholism Problems?

The problem with alcoholism is that the victims seldom realize that they have a problem. Alcohol use disorder affects people by enhancing their psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. They are unable to resist the attraction of alcohol that leads to uncontrolled drinking habits, and despite the problems they face, they are unable to keep away from alcohol. The issues can affect their health and have implications on social relationships and interfere with their professional lives. 

More than 14 million people in the US are victims of alcoholism – a scary and crippling disease. Alcoholism can devastate people as they are unable to have any control over their life.  If alcohol abuse affects someone in your family, you must seek professional help by sending them to some alcohol rehab centers near you. Treatment options and support are available near at hand, and you can follow the professional recommendations given below to avail treatment options that can help recover from the disease.

The right treatment and support can help your family member get back their life on track, but remember that alcohol’s sobriety is a lifelong process. There might be instances of relapses, but there are ways to manage it and prevent a recurrence. This article should help understand its chronic nature and the need for treatment in long term alcohol rehab.

Understand alcoholism

Before you set out to help some of your loved ones get rid of alcoholism, you must understand well what alcoholism is.   Alcoholism is a chronic disease, has specific symptoms, and gets triggered by life circumstances, while it might be in the genes too. A proper understanding of the disease will help you to be compassionate for assisting the person in.

Do not hide the problem

The biggest impediment when helping anyone with alcoholism problems is to make them realize that they have a problem. The first step is to empathize with the person you would do for anyone suffering from any other disease. It will show that you care for the person that will be quite assuring and encourage the victim to come out in the open with their problems. However, resentment and embarrassment among family members about the problem might drive the victim into a shell and cut them off from the social circles. They do not want to face questions about the drinking habit. Hiding the problem does not help.Allow the victim to own responsibility for their behavior and be ready to face the consequences. The more negative effects they face, the more are the chances for the victim to seek a change of behavior.

Listen with honesty and compassion

When you intend to help someone in the family suffering from alcoholism, you must first gain their trust by showing your intention for helping and caregiving. Be open and honest with them about the problem, but never give the idea that things will improve on its own. Express your worries on seeing that your loved one is drinking too much and let know about being supportive. Be prepared for an adverse reaction, and try to gloss over any visible resistance to your suggestions smartly.  Besides the person being in denial, stay ready to face angry responses to your attempts. Instead of taking it personally, give them the time and space to take some well-thought and honest decisions and provide them with a patient hearing.  

When to discuss?

Choose the right time to have a meaningful conversation at a place that helps to maintain privacy besides having a quiet ambiance that gives enough opportunity for close and candid interaction. Never discuss when the person is under the influence of alcohol because the outcome would be completely different as the person might get defensive and even angry. Instead of being judgmental or angry when talking about drinking, establish your position as a well-wisher by showing love and compassion. It will require a few rounds of discussion to soften the person and bring them to a point when discussing the issue. If a series of discussions do not yield any positive results, then it is time for some intervention.


Discussing your concerns is an attempt to raise awareness and motivate the person to respond positively to your overtures. But intervention is quite different as it requires much deeper involvement with some planning and sharing the consequences of alcoholism while presenting a treatment option that can ensure sobriety. 

You should intervene only when the person shows too much resistance in getting help. To confront the person, get other family members, friends, and co-workers by your side to urge the person into treatment. During the process, seek help from some professional counselor to aid your efforts by providing advice about getting the person into treatment, explaining the available treatment options, and finding rehab programs in your area.

Since rehabilitation is a continuous process, your role does not end with the therapy but be with them whenever needed. 

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Ali Dino
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