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How to Help an Alcoholic

Legacy Healing Center Blog

The Most Effective Ways to Help an Alcoholic

If someone you care about has been struggling with a drinking problem or suffering from alcoholism, you may be wondering how to help an alcoholic. Still, you may also think no amount of nagging will convince them to get the addiction treatment they need. You can set ultimatums, talk about the damage their drinking inflicts on their loved ones, and discuss the better life that lies ahead, but these options may not have the impact you imagine.

When it comes to knowing how to help an alcoholic, you need to start with a thorough education. This process will teach you about the unique nature of alcohol dependency, the dangers it poses to the alcoholic and society, and which methods are most likely effective at getting the individual into addiction treatment.

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Get Educated About Alcoholism and Addiction

You may think you know about alcohol and alcoholism, but you may not be as educated as you believe you are. If you want to learn how to help an alcoholic and convince them to get the addiction treatment they need, you need to start with your own lack of education.

The first aspect you need to know about alcoholism is that it is a disease just like any other. And just as you cannot talk a person with diabetes out of their high blood sugar or convince a cancer patient to make their tumor shrink through sheer willpower, you cannot expect your loved one to overcome their illness without the proper medical intervention.

As you approach the individual in question, you should bring your sense of empathy while holding your sense of judgment. You may think you know what the alcoholic in your family is going through, but you will still be at a loss until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

There are a few resources you can draw on as you seek to get the person into treatment. Here are some potential sources of education as you move down the learning curve:

  • Community support groups
  • Professional alcohol recovery groups, including alcoholics anonymous
  • Online resources, including professional blogs and websites
  • Direct support from the family of other alcoholics, including those in recovery

All of these resources can be invaluable as you move down the learning curve and learn more about the disease of alcoholism. The more you know, the better the resources you will offer the person you care about.

Plan Your Conversation Ahead

If you plan to stage an intervention to convince the alcoholic in your life to seek treatment, you need to plan the process carefully. Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for this critical confrontation:

  • Who should attend the intervention?
  • Where will the meeting be held?
  • How will you convince the alcoholic in question to come?
  • Who will lead the conversation?
  • How will you overcome the inevitable resistance and denial?
  • What kinds of resources will you be able to offer if the individual agrees to seek help?
  • What are the next steps in the process? How will you set up the treatment?

As you move through this list of questions and continue planning the intervention, be sure to educate yourself about local alcohol detox and rehab resources, including those offered by Legacy Healing Center.

Choose Your Timing Wisely

Timing is everything when it comes to getting an alcoholic into treatment. If you wait until the individual is drunk, your chances of getting them to accept help may drop almost to zero, so plan carefully and be ready to change your plans as circumstances dictate.

Think about the individual in question, including what you know about their schedule and when they are likely to be sober and most receptive to your messages. Flexibility is the key here, and you should not be afraid to change your plans when necessary.

Be Honest and Compassionate

Honesty and compassion are vital components when trying to help an alcoholic. Lying will not get you anywhere, and it will only make the individual distrust you even more. Be honest about what you are doing, including why you want them to seek help with their drinking.

At the same time, you should be compassionate and understanding about what they are going through. No one sets out to become an alcoholic, and understanding that alcoholism is a disease will help a lot.

Offer Support While Maintaining Boundaries

Offering support and maintaining firm boundaries go hand-in-hand when trying to help the alcoholic in your life. You want to be there for the person you care about, whether that means providing financial help for their recovery or providing a place to stay when they are getting sober.

At the same time, you do not want to cross the line into enabling behavior, and the last thing you want to do is make the alcoholic comfortable in their alcoholism. Offering support without enabling can mean walking a fine line, but the staff at Legacy Healing Center can give you the tools and advice you need to help you walk it.

Encourage Them to Seek Addiction Treatment

The process’s entire goal entails encouraging the alcoholic to seek treatment, and hopefully, those efforts will be successful. It can take several attempts to convince a problem drinker to seek the help they need with their sobriety, but once they say yes, you need to be ready to act.

If you are worried about the drinking of someone you care about, we encourage you to reach out to Legacy Healing ahead of time at 888.534.2295, so you will be ready to move when the time is right. Our expert staff can give you the guidance you need to intervene in the right way, so you can worry less about your loved one and share in their recovery when they are ready to come back home.