How to Spot an Alcoholic Family Member

How to spot an alcoholic family member

Friends often come and go, but family is something we can never overlook. This makes watching a loved one experience alcoholism that much harder. Recognizing the issue is the first step in helping someone with recovery, so knowing how to spot an alcoholic family member is imperative. The following signs could indicate a problem, and by identifying them, you can take steps towards helping fix it.

Their Social Life Revolves Around Drinking

Does your loved one bypass social activities that don’t involve drinking? Avoiding activities and places that don’t allow alcohol consumption could be a sign that someone can’t go without it. In some cases, they’ll agree to events where drinks aren’t allowed but then want to hit the bar right after.

Drinking should typically be a social activity, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for social events. This is an important issue to notice when learning how to spot an alcoholic family member. It likely shows a dependence on these drinks.

If You’re Comfortable, Ask Questions

There are several signs that indicate a person may be an alcoholic. One of the most important, though, comes straight from an individual’s own thoughts. If you’re comfortable with doing so, simply ask your loved one if they’ve ever considered cutting back on drinking.

While some may disagree on the definition of alcoholism, whether or not they’ve considered cutting back is pretty straightforward. If you get a ‘no’ as a response, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If your loved one admits to considering cutting back, though, there’s a good chance they suffer from alcoholism.

When a person feels uncomfortable with the amount of alcohol they’re drinking, it’s probably because they’re aware on some level that they have a problem. Other problem drinkers may have not reached this stage, but those who have may soon recognize they need help.

Alcohol is Being Used as a Crutch

A direct relationship between depression and substance abuse exists. When learning how to spot an alcoholic family member, though, it’s important to remember that some people drink to deal with issues that aren’t clinically diagnosed. If someone drinks in order to deal with life – good or bad – there’s a chance they may have a problem.

For these types of drinkers, there’s an emotional connection to alcohol. They use it to celebrate positive situations, but it’s also there to cope with negative issues. Alcohol should not be someone’s coping mechanism, and if it is, they may be experiencing serious issues with drinking.

Failing to Fulfill Responsibilities

One of the most obvious steps in how to spot an alcoholic family member is simply looking at their responsibilities. Individuals with a drinking problem will often partake in more than they anticipated, and this often results in failing in work, family, school or relationship responsibilities.

There are also people who will simply say they love to drink and then cancel obligations prior to beginning. This gives them the idea that they’re drinking responsibly – because they let someone know they wouldn’t be available beforehand.

Lost productivity due to alcohol costs the economy around $179 billion every year. This shows that failing to meet their obligations is one of the most obvious, frequent and serious signs of alcoholism.

Other Tips for How to Spot an Alcoholic Family Member

There is an abundance of telltale signs that a family member may have a drinking problem. The following are additional red flags you should keep an eye out for.

  • Interest in hobbies has waned.
  • Frequent inability to contact family member.
  • Secretive behavior to hide how much they’ve drank.
  • Being drunk at unusual times (e.g. morning, during certain events).
  • Being late to events without explanation.

Help Start Recovery

Finding out that a family member suffers from alcoholism is a difficult realization. Sometimes it can blindside you when you’re visiting loved ones for the holidays, but in other situations, it could be a slow and painful recognition on your part. In either situation, knowing how to spot an alcoholic family member could literally save a life.

You’re not alone in dealing with alcoholic family members, and your loved ones don’t have to be either. Contact Summit Detox today for help.


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