Emotions often run high when a person you love is struggling with alcoholism. You can yell and aggressively command him to acknowledge his problem and stop drinking. You can offer comfort and solace in the hopes that your cares and concerns will convince him to get help. You might even buy alcohol for him as a way to calm him down while you try to decide what else you can do. Dealing with the problem emotionally can help you release your own frustrations over an alcoholic’s problem, but this approach will not offer real assistance to an alcoholic. If someone that you love is fighting alcoholism, you can follow a more effective and long-lasting path to help him recover his sobriety.
Real Help for Alcoholism
The first step toward providing real assistance for alcoholism is to acknowledge and accept the problem. Just as an alcoholic will deny his own problems, his loved ones will also steadfastly deny that his excessive use of alcohol is anything more, for example, than just a temporary respite from the stresses of his life or job. If someone you love is drinking an excessive amount of alcohol every day, you need to accept that he is a problem drinker and then move forward from that acceptance.
Learn as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism, including in particular why alcoholism truly is a disease. Neither you nor the person you love can control their decision to have a drink. When you accept and understand this aspect of the disease, you will be better able to identify the things that you can control in your relationship with a struggling alcoholic. You can help keep your loved ones away from the temptations and triggers that make them drink. You can keep alcohol out of your house, and you can offer to join your loved ones in alcohol-free activities. The things that you can control will not stop an alcoholic from drinking, but at least you will not be enabling his addiction and disease.
Control Yourself First
When you have gained control over your own participation in an alcoholic’s life, you will be better able to convince him to seek the treatment that he needs for his problem. An alcoholic might reject any suggestion that he has a problem and his own emotions will control his response. You will need to remain as calm and measured as is possible when you approach your loved ones with any suggestions that they should consider treatment for their alcoholism. This approach may require an element of tough love on your part, but in the end you will be providing the best help possible for the person you love.
If and when you are able to convince an alcoholic to seek therapy, you job will have just begun. He may emerge sober from a detox and recovery program, but his long-term sobriety will require constant vigilance by both you and him. You will need to continue to keep alcohol and other temptations out of your household. You will need to support and encourage him, and make it possible for him to attend regular group therapy and support sessions. You might also consider participating in you own support sessions with groups designed to help individuals cope with a loved one’s alcoholism.
Please call the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600 for more information on how you can help your loved ones in their struggles with alcoholism.
We offer treatment programs and suggestions for both alcoholics and their families to fight and overcome this disease.