10 Ways You Can Help An Alcoholic Friend or Family Member


Seeing someone you care about struggle with alcohol addiction can be a heart-wrenching situation. Addiction usually causes serious problems both in one’s professional and personal life. It’s common for family members and friends to want to support an alcoholic, but it’s easy to make mistakes as you try to help an alcoholic friend or family member. Sometimes, the best of intentions can enable an addiction instead of helping someone get sober. At White Sands Treatment Center, we offer a customized approach that enables us to effectively assist patients with drug and alcohol addictions. Our highly qualified staff at our private facility offers high-quality, individualized recovery programs, and we also specialize in supporting and teaching loved ones how to help someone with alcoholism.

10 Ways to Help an Alcoholic Friend or Family Member

1. Be Honest: The stigma of alcohol addiction can be strong, which often leads people to deny, ignore, or hide symptoms and issues. When you have concerns about someone’s addiction, facing the concerns and being honest about them is the first step in getting them help.

2. Avoid Enabling: Looking the other way or ignoring symptoms does not help alcoholics. On the contrary, ignoring or even helping someone hide repercussions from drinking usually enables the behavior and could even make it worse.

3. Confront Carefully: As you strive to help an alcoholic friend, you will need to have an open and honest conversation about their addictive behaviors. Choose the time for this confrontation carefully, however. Do not attempt to have a conversation about addiction when the alcoholic has been drinking or when the person is under stress. Early in the day is the best time for many alcoholics. Remember to remain calm, even if the alcoholic becomes upset.

4. Consider Other Options: If your first conversation about alcoholism does not go smoothly, don’t give up. You may need to have several conversations about your concerns.

5. Involve Others: Gather other family members and friends to help you support an alcoholic. Ideally, this support group should consist of people the addicted person respects and trusts.

6. Suggest Rehab: Helping alcoholics often involves the suggestion of getting professional help to overcome their addiction. Recovery through customized rehabilitation programs can be extremely effective for helping alcoholics detox and get sober.

7. Intervention: An intervention with a professional interventionist may be necessary. In this situation, you and other people close to the alcohol addict engage the help of a professional who has experience helping alcoholics. The interventionist will engage with your loved one to facilitate agreement to get help.

8. Stay Involved: Your involvement won’t end after your family member or friend enters treatment. This is the time for you to learn about the illness, common symptoms, timeline for recovery, and what happens after release from a rehabilitation program.

9. Avoid Codependency: Family members often become consumed with worry and concern for an addicted person. With a desire to help alcoholics, people may become so emotionally invested that they engage in destructive behaviors not unlike the alcoholic does.

10. Take Care of Yourself: Helping alcoholics can be stressful for anyone, so pay attention to your own emotional health. When you feel anxious or sad, talk about your feelings with someone. Therapy for family members can be very helpful.

While it’s never easy to know exactly how to help someone with alcoholism, White Sands Treatment Center offers an individualized treatment approach and has a track record of success. Our team will assess the needs of the patient and family, offering the treatment necessary for recovery. Call us today or fill out the form to get help for someone you care about.