How To Help An Alcoholic

To learn that someone you love is an alcoholic can be a devastating discovery, but there are ways you can help that person as well as helping yourself come to terms with the situation.

Empower yourself:

This may seem like a strange way to help someone else, but unless you gain knowledge on what alcoholism is, how it affects the person concerned, their manipulation tactics and the effects drinking can have on those around them you will not be in a position to give the most positive help possible.

Information can be gleaned by reading articles on alcoholism and addiction in general and speaking with professional counsellors at a local or inpatient rehab establishment to understand the way forward.

You will also benefit from attending self-help group meetings. A good example being the Alcoholic Anonymous Family Group meetings. Attendance will help you come to terms with your current predicament and allow you to meet others in a similar position.

Do not empower the alcoholic:

Another point which may seem harsh, but at times “hard love” is necessary. Under no circumstances should you give money to an alcoholic, no matter what their excuse for needing it is.

The ONLY reason they want this money is to purchase more alcohol. If you relent and give in to their demands then you are indirectly helping to fuel their addiction.

By all means enquire as to what is needed with the money, and if they are valid requests then go out and purchase these items on their behalf. That way you are sure the money is not being channeled to the local bar or bottle store.

The other thing to ensure is that there is no alcohol whatsoever in the house. Get rid of it from drinks cabinets and other usual storage places.

It would also be wise to regularly check places that bottles could be hidden. Secret drinking is a common trait of alcoholics. Make sure to look in places that would seem unlikely for alcohol storage. This includes garages, old electrical equipment such as washing machines or fridges that no longer work and garden sheds.

You cannot save the alcoholic:

It is not possible for you to save the alcoholic from destroying their physical and mental health without their “buy-in”.

You must keep calm, talk to them, explain what their illness is doing to them and the heartbreak it is causing those closest to them. Let them know why this situation is so unfair and why their current denial must be ended in order for professional help to be sought.

Tell them how much you love them, how much you want to help them and that you will support them in any way possible, but make it clear that for you to help them they must help themselves.

Be prepared:

With constant discussions and care it is possible for you to help a loved one suffering from alcoholism. Explain the damage being caused, encourage them to seek help and offer your full support.

Alcohol negatively affects a person’s brain in terms of thoughts and actions. Firm reasoning and patience are key to making them understand that professional rehab treatment is a must.