For anyone that has seen a loved one battle alcoholism, they will tell you – without hesitation – it was the worst time of that person’s life. It doesn’t matter what else they have been through. There are so many layers of pain, none of which anyone else can quite comprehend as each experience is unique. So, how can you help an alcoholic?
When you want to help an alcoholic but feel helpless
For you, watching the person who is in pain, you might feel like banging your head against the wall in frustration. It’s the hurt of seeing the shell of a person you love, knowing that it isn’t them inside. It’s the pain of not knowing who will greet you when you wake up tomorrow. And the devastating realization that it feels like there’s nothing you can do; you have exhausted every option, spend every ounce of energy, and come up short. That is a horrendous feeling.
Unfortunately, you can’t grab them by the shoulders and shake their demons out. You can’t force them to stare their monsters in the eyes or make them admit that they need help. That has to be a personal decision. They have to reach a point where they want to change.
But that doesn’t mean you have to just sit by and watch as life pulls them apart from the inside out. There are ways you can help the alcoholic you love, and the suggestions below might be helpful.
Understanding what this disease is, and what it is doing to your loved one, is vital. It is also gut-wrenching to learn about the truths and severity of this illness.
But it is so important that you arm yourself with as much sympathy and knowledge as you can. Learning why alcoholics can’t stop drinking is the only way you’ll be able to stop hitting your head against that concrete wall and start to really be in a place to support your loved one.
Knowing how to communicate
Walking on eggshells isn’t fun for anyone. It’s exhausting.
Learning how to communicate with someone who is battling alcohol addiction is a delicate learning curve. You need to stay calm while being honest, showing that you are doing this out of love.
Show that you want to support the friend or family member, without them thinking you are forcing them into recovery. That’s the balance to try to reach and maintain.
To help an alcoholic, know the options
They have a serious drinking problem and you want to help them. It is ultimately up to them to embark on a recovery plan. But by doing research, you show that you care and understand, and that could help break down their walls. It could help them get to the point where they want help.
So, help them understand their options. For information on rehab, click here.
There are also detox options, outpatient treatments, counseling, and support groups. Perhaps also look into holistic methods for any comorbid conditions, such as depression. The more clearly you can explain the options, the more your loved ones will get to know the types of help that are out there.
Know when it’s not the time to talk
One of the most damaging things you can do is try and speak with your loved one while they are under the influence. When they are drinking, they are at their most vulnerable and most troubled state. It’s not going to be useful to try to discuss anything seriously when they’re drunk.
Instead, try and talk when they are sober. As for encouraging them to open up to you, and to have them listen to what you have to say, try to approach them in a private tranquil location. Life is all about timing, and this circumstance is no different.