Helping a Loved One Overcome Alcoholism

Helping a Loved One Overcome Alcoholism
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Alcohol, or indeed any kind of substance addiction, is horrific for the addict but is also highly distressing for the addict’s loved ones. Parents can wonder if they’ve done something wrong along the way, spouses can feel absolutely helpless, and friends often don’t know what to do. Addiction impacts on the addict as well as everyone close to them. We instinctively want to help, and yet we often don’t know the best way to go about doing it; whether friendly words of advice are too little, and whether extreme interference does more harm than good. But of course there are many ways that we can help, and it’s usually a combination of various methods that will lead to the most effective result.

Be Available

Your loved one should always know that you’re available to talk about the problem, and you should always try to have constructive, non-judgemental conversations (although this is far more difficult than it sounds). Many addicts can also feel ashamed of their problem, and you might want to reinforce the point that whether they want to have a chat over coffee, or if they need to call at 4am when they’re feeling low, that you’re just a phone call away.

Getting Professional Help

Professional counselling, whether it’s private therapy or a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous seems like a logical step. Getting your loved one to actually attend these sessions is perhaps the most difficult part of the process. Do as much of the work for them as you can- research therapy options and find out the times and locations for meetings in your area. You can also actually go with your loved one to the meeting, and wait until they’re finished. Therapy can be a vulnerable, troubling experience, and it can help to have a friendly face waiting for them at the end.

Safety in Numbers

Many of us have only ever experienced an intervention through film and TV, but the act of an addicts friends and family confronting their loved one about his or her alcoholism can be helpful. It’s not suitable in all occasions, so perhaps discuss the matter amongst yourselves, and whether or not your loved one will react positively. It’s important to prepare as much as possible, so that you can clearly and non-judgmentally list the reasons detailing why your loved ones’ alcoholism is having a negative effect on both themselves, as well as you.

Don’t Forget Yourself!

As mentioned, addiction has a huge impact on your life if your loved one is suffering through alcoholism. Don’t go through your problems alone- it can help to talk it through with a sympathetic listener, perhaps another friend or family member of your loved one.

There are many resources available for those who might be struggling with the alcoholism of a friend or family member, and a site such as is an excellent place to start. Getting a loved one through their issues is never going to be easy, but of course we want to do all that we can.

This is a guest post by Marianne Ross, a freelance writer who is deeply interested in social topics.