What Can You Do When Your Loved One Is Addicted to Alcohol?
You watch them drink all of the time. They have a drink in their hand no matter when you see them. Sometimes you think they go to work just so they have the money to buy alcohol. Perhaps your loved one is pulling away from you, and it seems like all you can do is watch as alcohol use disorder takes over their mind and body. What can you do?
It’s common to feel overwhelmed and helpless at the same time. The easy thing to believe is that all they have to do is put down the drink, and everything will improve. That’s not likely to be the case, though. People who have an alcohol use disorder struggle to be able to control how and when they drink, how much they consume, and whether or not they can stop using.
What You Can Do to Help
From your vantage point, you know your loved one needs help to stop drinking. How can you get them that help? What steps can you take?
Create Boundaries and Make It Hard
It’s not true that people have to hit rock bottom before they will begin to take their addiction seriously. You can help at any time. To do that, you first have to create boundaries. That may include:
- Not allowing them around you or your children when they are intoxicated
- Not providing rides for them
- Eliminating any financial support for them
- No longer making excuses for them to family and friends
- Not allowing yourself to feel mentally or physically abused by them
When you create a situation where it is hard for your loved one to continue to get support from you, it’s harder for them to continue their habit. Without the money to buy alcohol, it’s harder to use. In addition, they will be forced to confront their responsibilities if you stop covering for them.
Be Open About What You See
The next step is to have a frank, honest, and open discussion with your loved one. Use only facts and be open about what you are experiencing. Here are some examples that could help you:
- They don’t do what they say they will, such as being there for family events or dinners.
- When they are intoxicated, they are abusive physically, mentally, or emotionally. Provide examples of this.
- Discuss the financial impacts of their continued use.
- Showcase to them what has changed for them physically, such as changes in health.
While this can easily become an emotional appeal from you, make it very fact-focused. That way, it’s hard for them to deny the truth in what you are saying.
Offer a Way to Help Them
If it’s safe for you to do so, offer help that you’re willing to provide. Only make promises you can and will keep, though. The help you offer cannot be codependency or enabling behavior, such as providing money to them or making excuses for them. Instead, consider these ways to help:
- Seek out a treatment center for alcohol use disorder. Talk to the treatment center in advance of speaking to your loved one to find out if they may be able to help. Then, talk to your loved one about this opportunity.
- Don’t engage in drinking or other activities involving alcohol or drugs with your loved one. Show them you’re serious about eliminating these substances from your life together.
- Find a local addiction recovery group. Ask your loved one to go and take them if they need a ride.
- Try to keep the lines of communication open as much as possible.
- Work to create a drug- and alcohol-free environment for when they come home.
Be sure, too, to provide your loved one with the encouragement they need. For example, let them know that you understand how hard this will be and that you’ll support them throughout the process. That could include helping them with recovery efforts as long as they agree to stop using substances. Be sure to encourage them only to the level you are most comfortable with.
Recognize the Pain It’s Causing You
You can help your loved one by recognizing just how much this disease has impacted you, too. You’ve suffered emotionally and mentally from it, and that often means that you need treatment, too. Ensure that your loved one sees that you’re working hard to see improvement and encourage them to do the same. In every situation, put yourself first. You cannot help them if you are struggling to manage your own health and well-being.
Let Our Team Guide You Every Step of the Way
Victory Addiction Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment plans for people facing a wide range of addictions. Let us help you with your loved one’s needs. Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Share This Post: