How to Deal with a Loved One Abusing Alcohol
Alcoholism affects millions of people and can wreak havoc on relationships, health, careers and lives. While alcoholism has many negative effects on the person struggling from it, watching a loved one deal with an alcohol abuse issue can also be difficult and draining. According to the University of Buffalo Research Institute study, approximately 7.7 million U.S. adults are married to or living with a partner who is an alcoholic. If your loved one is struggling with this issue, you may be wondering how to deal with the situation. There are certain strategies that work best when communicating and dealing with someone who is abusing alcohol. Here are
some tips to keep in mind:
- Offer Positive Communication Make sure the person who is struggling with alcohol knows the lines of communication are open to them. If you want to discuss how the alcohol abuse issue is negatively affecting different areas of his/her life, be sure to do it in a private and quiet setting. Make it a point to not be accusatory, negative or condescending. Exhibiting these types of tones will only cause the other person to shut down and stall the lines of communication. To have a more successful discussion, try to maintain a positive and uplifting attitude.
- Suggest a Plan to Help Even if your loved one is not ready to get help, make sure he/she knows you are ready and willing to help them when the time comes. If they know you support their efforts to heal and begin recovery, they are more likely to reach out when they are ready to take that step.
- Set Boundaries While setting boundaries can be difficult for some people, it is crucial when you are dealing with an alcoholic. Let them know that while you are willing to show support and love, you will not engage in any activity with them while they are under the influence of alcohol. In addition, set clear boundaries when it comes to loaning money, as you do not want to enable someone to continue their addiction. By setting these boundaries, you are letting your loved one know their negative behavior is not acceptable and will not be supported.
- Actively Look for Resources Take a few minutes to search online for treatment centers and support groups in your neighborhood that can help both you and your loved one. By working with experienced counselors and supportive organizations, you will learn vital coping strategies for all of the complex issues that surround alcohol abuse. Support groups can be invaluable in a variety of ways. While there are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups specifically for those struggling with alcohol abuse, there are also support groups just for family members and friends. These types of groups offer a great opportunity to connect with other people who are experiencing the same issues as you.
- Consider an Intervention If your loved one refuses to get help or acknowledge they have a problem with alcohol, you may want to reach out to a professional intervention program. These types of interventions are guided by experienced professionals who have dealt with all types of alcohol abuse issues and personalities. By gathering with family members and friends and staging an intervention, with the help of a professional, you can generate a wake-up call that can offer a much-needed push to get help.
Dealing with a loved one who is an alcoholic can be difficult and time consuming. By arming yourself with helpful strategies, patience and an open mind, you can be a tremendous pillar of love and encouragement to someone in their time of need.