How to Help An Alcoholic

When someone you know and love has a problem with alcohol, it can be difficult for everyone. You may begin to question your own relationship with that person. What you could do? Does the individual even want your help? Why couldn’t you stop them before it got to this stage? This guide looks at the different ways you can help someone who is currently having a difficult time with alcohol and how you should approach it.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is an old-fashioned and negative term that should no longer be used. The correct term now is Alcohol Use Disorder but it is taking time to get people to use this more modern name. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is used to describe a person who is having difficulty controlling how much alcohol they drink. The disorder takes different forms and can range from a person who struggles to stop drinking once they start but is then able to stop for weeks before the next drink to a person who has to constantly drink to avoid severe physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Use Disorder can cause severe medical issues, so it is important to intervene as early as possible. You can learn more about alcohol here and what an alcoholic is here

How to Approach Someone With An Alcohol Disorder

Step 1: Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Before approaching someone about the issues they are having with alcohol, you should first decide whether they have an alcohol disorder in the first place. 

As you can see from our About Alcohol page, an alcohol disorder is more than having a few too many drinks from time to time during a social event. Some people who have an alcohol problem constantly drink, others are unable to control how much they drink during each session.  There are many support networks available to help those with alcohol disorders, including Alcohol Home Treatment, who can provide guidance and support for those struggling and their friends and family

Step 2: Know What you Are Going to Say

The next thing you should do is know what you are going to say to the individual. You should let the individual know that you are available and free to help them whenever they need. 

You also should have statements that are positive and supportive and you should try to not formulate statements that could cause offense.

Using “I” statements can help you become more active in the conversations and you could bring up specific concerns that you may be having. This could include how alcohol may affect their behaviour or finances.

You should prepare for any response as this kind of conversation could spark an emotional response. You should remain calm when they respond and assure them that they have your support. 

you can get a better idea on how to approach the situation with our friends and family guide

Step 3: Pick The Time & Place

When you have decided what you are going to say then you should pick where you are going to tell the individual and when you are going to do it. 

You will want to do it somewhere with no distractions, so it should be a fairly private place and at a time where you can both have a clear conversation and the other person may not be preoccupied with other issues.

It is also better if you choose a time when the individual is not too intoxicated to participate fully in the conversation.

Step 4: Approach & Listen Honestly

When you approach the individual, then the best thing is, to be honest, and compassionate towards them. Leaving the individual to get better by themself makes the challenge a lot trickier and developing a support network around them makes the challenge seem more achievable. 

You should tell them that you are concerned about their drinking and that you want to be there for them. As mentioned earlier, you should brace for a variety of reactions. For example, the individual may get angry and be in denial of their current situation. If this happens, you should not take their reaction personally and you should give them time and space to make a decision. 

Step 5: Support Them

If they are unwilling to have treatment, then you should always offer your support to them. At the end of the day, it is down to the person themselves to decide when they need alcohol treatment. You should be empathetic towards their decision thinking about how you might react if the scenario was the other way around. 

If the person does decide to seek help, then actions do speak louder than words. You can actively support them in finding an alcohol detox programme that is best for them. You could also see if they want anyone else to join the support network, such as best friends or close family members. 

Step 6: Intervene

If you are wanting to do an intervention session, rather than express your concerns then there are a few key differences.

An intervention requires more planning, giving consequences, sharing more of your feelings, and presenting a treatment programme. 

If the individual is very resistant to getting help, then an intervention may be suitable. During the intervention, friends, family, and co-workers gather together to urge the individual to seek treatment. 

Looking For An Effective Alcohol Treatment Programme?

At Alcohol Home Treatment, we offer a suitable private alcohol detox programme that is designed around the individual and their personal needs. Paul Turner has 35 years of experience in dealing with people with mental health and alcohol-related problems. We also offer clients a treatment method called The Sinclair Method**- which blocks the endorphins released when drinking alcohol, reducing the problematic reward that occurs when people with AUD drink alcohol. 

If you are looking for an effective alcohol treatment programme, then you can contact us through our webpage or by phone. We offer around-the-clock support for individuals and their loved ones. If you are a relative or a friend of someone with an alcohol-related problem then you can check out our designated Friends & Family page.

There are some videos on the website which demonstrate that there is no judgment involved and the treatments do not involve shame and blame, both of which are extremely unhelpful in dealing with this medical disorder which is not the fault of the sufferer.

** Following a full medical assessment 

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