loved one

How to Help a Loved One With a Drinking Problem

Having to help a loved one with a drinking problem can be very challenging. People whose loved ones struggle with drinking often complain of the emotional trauma that comes with it. While the alcoholic may not realize it, you are left to deal with the negative impact. Therefore, the need to know how to help with a drinking problem becomes essential. 

Alcohol abuse, like any other substance abuse, harms the health of the alcoholic. Their families are laden with medical bills to pay. As a result of this, they put so much strain on their finances. Also, excessive drinking or alcoholism affects the jobs of the alcoholic. Although, there are some alcoholics who despite their problem perform extremely well at work. Notwithstanding, the families of the alcoholic still bear the brunt of their actions — whether financially or even physically.

Wondering how to help with a drinking problem? In this article, we give you tips for helping an alcoholic. Additionally, we discuss how to recognize your loved one has a drinking problem. 

How to Recognize Your Loved One Has a Drinking Problem 

Not everyone who drinks has a drinking problem. Drinking problems range from mild to severe. However, most alcoholics will deny they have a drinking problem. Recognizing the signs of alcoholism precedes knowing how to help with a drinking problem. 

Your loved one may have a drinking problem if they,

  • Prioritize their drinking above you or their relationship with others.
  • Lie about their drinking habit or cover it up
  • Resort to drinking as a means of dealing with mental health issues e.g. mood disorders, paranoia, depression, etc.
  • Drink more than usual or than they plan to

When you notice some or all of these signs of drinking, take the necessary actions. You may want to get them to seek alcohol addiction treatment

Steps To Help a Loved One With a Drinking Problem

For alcoholics, dealing with a drinking problem isn’t always an easy ride in the park. Many struggle to get sober on their own but end up failing. Some even seek alcohol addiction treatment services but stop mid-way. With your constant support, you can get them to conquer drinking.

Also, when helping with a drinking problem, consider talking to the alcoholic while they’re sober. This ensures that they’re in the right frame of mind to have the conversation. Additionally, involving people they love and respect can help.

Getting them to the phase of recovery requires some effort on your part. Here are steps on how to help with a drinking problem.

Be informed 

Informing yourself is the first step in helping someone with a drinking problem. By this, we mean getting to know all you can about alcoholism. With proper knowledge, helping the alcoholic becomes easier. Also, it helps you to understand their moods, attitudes, and behaviour better.

However, knowing all about alcoholism should not excuse the alcoholic’s bad behaviour. They still should be responsible for their actions and their consequences. Rather, this knowledge should allow you to see alcoholism as what it truly is, a disease. Just like every other disease, alcoholism has symptoms. Also, it has something responsible for kick-starting it. By acquiring knowledge, you understand that alcoholics suffer too and are in need of help.

Additionally, when you get knowledge, you know how to help with a drinking problem. You know things to do and not to do. You are aware of the things you do that aren’t helping your loved one. Finally, you’ll know how to react and deal with their moods. 

Talk to them

Another effective way to help with a drinking problem is to talk to your loved one about it.  They may not be aware of the effect their heavy drinking has on you. While it’s not unusual for alcoholics to deny or reject help, still, talking helps.

Talking to them when they’re sober yields better results than when they’re drunk. While they are drunk, they may react violently or become defensive. Start calmly. The last thing they want is for you to raise your voice at them. Here are a few tips to help you talk to them.

  • Don’t in any way try to threaten them. It often doesn’t end well.
  • Use the sandwich method. Praise, correction, then praise. They already feel bad about their addiction. They don’t need you to make them feel worse.
  • Be patient when talking to them. Try to explain how their alcoholism is also affecting you.
  • Don’t bring up past events. Let the conversation be free of their past actions but the most recent ones.

Following these tips prevents outbursts of anger or violence from your loved one. More importantly, it gives you the calm necessary to pass your message along.

Don’t enable their behaviour

Enabling the behaviour of your loved one is the same as being codependent. This makes you lose yourself while worrying too much about your loved one. Your mental and emotional health is as important as theirs.

Other than forcing them to get treatment, focus on how you can help yourself during this phase. An alcoholic is the only person who can decide to get treatment. The earlier you realize this, the less emotional stress you go through.

In addition to this, codependency causes you to place your loved one’s happiness above yours. The recovery process is a long one. Your loved ones will need you to be healthy to help them through that process.

To help with a drinking problem, you can take a strict decision not to enable their behaviour. Worse issues tend to come up during alcohol addiction treatment. If you continue enabling their behaviour now, it’ll affect you later on. Sometimes, allowing a crisis to happen is the wakeup call your loved one needs. This helps them to admit they need addiction treatment. If you always rush to help them during crises, they may decide to forego treatment.  

Involve others

Another way to help with a drinking problem is to involve others. Invite people they love over and be honest about your loved one’s drinking problem. Hiding the truth won’t do the alcoholic any good. 

While involving others, discuss alcohol addiction treatment options available for your loved one. Discuss how to get your loved one into alcohol rehab. Also, talk about the consequences of your loved one’s drinking problem. 

Some consequences can be as bad as getting a divorce or getting a restraining order. The consequence should be able to get your loved one to agree to seek treatment. Coupled with the tips above, you can decide to get a therapist to help you talk to your loved one. They’ll be able to tell your addicted loved one what they need to hear!

Encourage and support your loved one

Encouraging your loved one is a good way to help with a loved one’s drinking problem. By encouraging them we are not saying you should enable their behaviour. During this phase of their lives, they need to know they aren’t alone. You can encourage them by acknowledging their efforts to become sober.

Also, by encouraging them, you’re showing support. You can show support by doing the following:

  • Taking them to the therapist for their appointments.
  • If they are in a rehab centre, visit them often. Doing this makes them know that you care.
  • Work out with them.
  • Attend support groups with them

FAQs About Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

Here are answers to some common questions. These answers will help you guide your loved one to making the right choice.

To reduce drinking or quit totally?

If your loved ones can control how they drink, then they may not need to quit. It’s possible to drink and not affect your health. However, when it becomes unhealthy, they may need to quit.

Does setting drinking goals help?

Yes, if they plan on cutting down on drinking, you can help by setting goals. Set realistic goals. Also, don’t try to rush the process.

How can I take care of myself during this process?

You can start by attending to your own needs. Also, talk to a therapist. Dealing with a loved one’s alcohol addiction on your own may lead to a major breakdown.

How do I know I’m enabling their behaviour?

You know you’re enabling their behaviour when

  • You cover up for them.
  • You make excuses for them.
  • You always come to their rescue.
  • You continue accepting their bad behaviour.
  • You always conform to their wishes

To Sum It Up

The addiction recovery process isn’t always easy. Knowing how to help with a drinking problem can make the process less tasking. After recognizing signs of alcoholism, it’s important to ensure your loved ones get treatment. However, the decision to seek professional help is solely theirs to make.

In this article, we discuss steps to help your loved one with a drinking problem. Also, we give you tips on how to talk to them about their alcoholism. Essentially, this article is your best guide on how to help with a drinking problem.

Still wondering where to get the best alcohol addiction treatment services in Canada the USA? Addictions CA offers experienced therapists and custom treatments to help guide your loved one back to sobriety. Contact us today!


Write us right now to get professional help


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