Witnessing a loved one struggling with an alcohol use disorder can be isolating, exhausting, and heartbreaking. Trying to figure out how to help an alcoholic can feel equally difficult, as part of the disease deals with deeply entrenched denial. However, there are certain tactics you can use to help an alcoholic family member.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 15 million Americans overconsume alcohol according to United States standard guidelines for moderate drinking. According to the NIAAA, women should drink “no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. For men, it is defined as no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week.”
One standard drink is equal to:
- 12 fluid ounces of beer at 5% alcohol
- 5 fluid ounces of wine at 12% alcohol
- 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits at 40% alcohol
How to Help an Alcoholic Family Member
The first step in helping someone who struggles with alcohol is to educate yourself as much as possible. There are a plethora of myths and stereotypes circulating the internet and social settings. It’s important to cut to the truth.
Having a solid understanding about alcoholism will allow you to form a compassionate approach.
There’s a fine line between helping and enabling. One of the first things you must do if you want to help, is take a step back, and try to observe the situation from an objective point of view as much as possible. Is what you’re doing helping or harming? Compassion is one thing, but it’s a whole other thing to be pulled in as an accomplice. There’s a common saying in recovery communities: addicts don’t have friends; they have hostages.
Create Boundaries and Stick to Them
Are they asking you for money, again? Are they lying? Are they sneaking around and keeping secrets? It’s time to set boundaries. Regardless of whether this is your father or husband, daughter or friend, establishing boundaries is critical. As long as you’re giving in to the situation, handing over five dollars, or letting them take the car—it’s time to say NO.
Break the cycle. Giving to their needs as long as they are not helping themselves is only perpetuating their denial of reality. Putting your foot down can be the thing that gets the momentum going.
Find a Support Group
Check your community for Al-Anon or Codependent meetings. These are sessions for family members of addicts and/or alcoholics in order to help you further educate yourself and learn coping mechanisms in order to help an alcoholic.
Organize an Intervention
In some cases, helping an alcoholic understand the state of their condition requires professional help. Utilizing an intervention specialist can greatly benefit efforts toward recovery.
In general, interventions pull together family members and other loved ones in order to address the negative consequences of the person’s drinking. Interventions should always be well-planned and never thrown together at the last minute.
Find Treatment for Your Alcoholic Family Member
In many cases, checking into a drug and alcohol treatment facility is necessary in order to ensure a safe detox and successful recovery. Addiction goes beyond the act of drinking. Addiction is a complex disorder of the brain’s reward system, according to the NIAAA, and is often co-occurring with one or more other mental illnesses. In this case, finding a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment can be the best option.
In addition to offering dual diagnosis treatment, First Step Center of Arizona also specializes in dual diagnosis treatment and trauma-informed therapy. With a small clientele base, First Step Center’s all-male residential treatment facility is designed to create custom treatment plans for each client in order to meet individual needs.
Coming soon, First Step Center will also offer:
- Partial Hospitalization Program
- Intensive Outpatient Program
- Relationship counseling
- Outpatient Program
Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. First Step Center is committed to helping men get back on track and start living again. To find out how to help an alcoholic or an alcoholic family member, call us now at 8668326398. Also, check out our video for more information: