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How to help an alcoholic

Watching a loved one become controlled by alcohol can obviously be a painful experience. Offering help can be extremely difficult, especially if that person doesn’t acknowledge they have a problem or refuse to accept

your assistance. If you’re feeling helpless and want to understand how to help an alcoholic then hopefully this guide will point you in the right direction to take first steps and see them through.

How to help an alcoholic

  1. Educate yourself
  2. Find the right time
  3. Work together (include no alcohol at home in this bit)
  4. Look after yourself
  5. Seek expert help and advice

1. Educate yourself

The first step to being able to help your loved one is fully understanding the problem, so ensure you carry out your research. Before you approach the person, make sure you’re armed with a good level of knowledge so you’re able to offer informed support.

What you may find when looking at how to help an alcoholic is that in pre or early stages of alcoholism, they are extremely good at downplaying or hiding the problem. This will clearly make identifying an issue tricky for you, so being as knowledgeable as you can will ensure you are best placed to help.

If you’re looking for information, there’s guidance on our blog to help you understand what an alcoholic is and also the complexities of alcoholism.

2. Find the right time

Excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt chemicals in the brain and this means the decision-making abilities of the person you’re looking to help will be affected. Due to this, you probably feel a responsibility to take action.

However you decide to approach the conversation, make sure the person is sober and you’re not in a place where alcohol is easily accessible. This will likely be a stressful or upsetting conversation for them, so considering the environment you’re in will be key. Make sure you’re in a place where you can openly talk and listen and invest time in them.

You also need to brace yourself for a negative reaction – give the person time and be as gentle and understanding as you can.

3. Work together

If and when your loved one has accepted that they need help, this needs to be a situation you work on together. Admitting that alcohol addiction help is required is an enormous step, so doing everything you can to support them at this point is key. Be compassionate and invest time in them and also be patient.

As we’ve previously touched on, make the home an alcohol-free zone. Have a thorough look around for any secret supplies of alcohol and remove anything you think could incite temptation. Work on being as aware and supportive as you can to make this recovery a team effort.

4. Look after yourself

While you need to be a support system for your loved one, you also need to feel well enough yourself to be able to do so. In order to fulfil your promise to invest time in your loved one and help them through their recovery, so you also need to look after yourself. If your time is consumed by helping them, then call on the assistance of a friend yourself. You may even be able to delegate tasks such as grocery shopping or cooking meals to someone willing to offer you a helping hand.

5. Seek expert help and advice

You will need to seek the help and advice of experts. We’re here to offer expert alcohol addiction support at Port of Call – speak to our team today to help your loved one take steps towards recovery.

Once they are undergoing treatment, the working together and looking after yourself steps will be vital. The work doesn’t stop when your loved one is in treatment or even when they have finished treatment. Upholding your promise to support them continues during and after treatment, so attend appointments and meetings, carry on with your no alcohol policy at home and continue to be open and honest.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with where to start, hopefully, these steps will give you guidance with how to help an alcoholic.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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