How to Help an Alcoholic

Man struggles to find someone who will help an alcoholic.

Witnessing a loved one struggle with problem drinking is painful beyond measure. Alcoholism puts one’s health and safety at risk and creates problems in personal and work relationships. It’s understandable to feel a sense of urgency if someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse. The question is, what’s the best way to provide help?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Alcohol alters a person’s judgment and behavior. They’re not seeing things straight and it’s normal to worry that your interference might make things worse. But your willingness to help someone with alcohol use disorder, perhaps by guiding them to alcohol detox, could be the difference.

The best way to help an alcoholic? Show you care and help them find their way back by getting them enrolled in treatment that involves alcohol detox.

The Signs of Alcoholism

Your first concern may be making sure that you don’t interfere unnecessarily. The signs of alcoholism aren’t always easy to spot and are often hidden. Some of those signs include:

  • Increasing isolation as your loved one focuses on alcohol rather than relationships
  • More instances of missing work or school
  • Organizing life’s events around alcohol
  • Failing to carry out family obligations
  • Vowing to limit their drinking, but failing

One point to remember as you evaluate how to help an alcoholic: an alcohol use disorder is not based on how much a person drinks. It’s measured in how much disruption drinking causes. If your loved one is experiencing significant difficulties, yet still continues to drink, you may well be seeing the signs of someone who needs alcohol detox.

How to Help an Alcoholic

Your willingness to help speaks so much about your character. It shows deep love. However, your loved one has to be ready for change. Here are some other tips to consider as you decide how to help an alcoholic:

  • Don’t preach and don’t argue. You want to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Choose activities that de-emphasize alcohol — a walk in the woods, for instance.
  • Know when to step away. Only when someone with substance abuse realizes what they have lost, do they then also recognize the need for help.
  • Set boundaries. Make sure your loved one knows when they have crossed the line.
  • Be ready with resources to help. Know the facts about alcohol use disorder and how and where your loved one might get help.

The impacts of alcohol on individuals, families, and society can be severe. Your willingness to step up on behalf of your loved one can make all the difference.

What to Know about Treatment

As you learn about how to help an alcoholic, it may be useful for you to have a working understanding of treatment. Offering context can set a person’s mind at ease.

Treatment begins the same place for everyone: with a thorough medical assessment. This information will help doctors and counselors develop an effective treatment plan.

The first phase of recovery, for most people, is detox. You have to flush the toxins from your system in order to succeed in treatment. After detox, your loved one will participate in individual therapy and group therapy. Once that’s complete, they move into aftercare — follow-up counseling and participation in 12-step anonymous groups designed to reduce the risk of relapse.

Rewrite Your Story with Summit Detox

The best way to help an alcoholic is to encourage them, gently, to seek professional help. Alcoholism is a strong disease, and it’s hard to break its grip all by yourself. The first step in treatment is usually detoxification at a facility such as Summit Detox. Our staff operates a nationally accredited 20-bed medical facility that provides for safe alcohol detox and drug detox. Located in South Florida, our site provides assistance in an environment that is safe, scenic, secure, and private. Through compassionate and caring detox and treatment support, we can help you or your loved one step down from their addictions. Start your way back today. Call Summit Detox today at 866.341.0638 to speak to an intake counselor.

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