How to help an alcoholic: Once you've admitted that alcohol is a problem for your loved one, or once your loved one is getting help for their alcoholism, the next question is: "how to help an alcoholic?" Before the alcoholic is in recovery, the focus of helping an alcoholic is on getting the alcoholic treatment; once the alcoholic stops drinking, helping an alcoholic involves supporting the alcoholic through the recovery process.
How to Help an Alcoholic - REHAB
You cannot make an alcoholic stop drinking. Only the alcoholic can do that for himself. However, you can help an alcoholic seek rehab. Seeking treatment is the first step in recovering from alcoholism.
Most alcoholics are in denial in that they will not admit they have a problem with alcohol. One way of helping an alcoholic is trying to make them see the harmful effects their drinking is having in their lives. When the alcoholic is sober, help an alcoholic by discussing as calmly and rationally as possible, their actions and their consequences. Helping an alcoholic involves using specific examples of actions and how they affected others.
The alcoholic may not agree that these behaviours are due to drinking, but addressing problem behaviours is still helpful. In helping an alcoholic, it is important to make clear that you still love the alcoholic.
Helping an alcoholic then involves making an action plan to address their behaviours and the negative consequences. It may help the alcoholic to be given an ultimatum or time limit. For example, "if you do not agree to treatment I will move out on the 13th." Any ultimatum made needs to be real and needs to be stuck to in order for it to help the alcoholic. Ideally, this will help an alcoholic accept rehab but an alcoholic can only accept rehab when he admits there is a problem.
How to help an Alcoholic in recovery
Once an alcoholic begins the process of recovery through an alcohol rehabilitation programme, helping an alcoholic turns to supporting the alcoholic's recovery. Understanding the process of alcohol rehab and recovery is the first step in helping an alcoholic through the recovery process. Make sure to attend all recovery-related meetings or appointments whether the alcoholic attends or not.
Helping an alcoholic in recovery may also include:
- Removing all alcohol from the home
- Not serving alcohol at social gatherings
- Not drinking in front of the alcoholic
- Asking the alcoholic what he needs
- Getting your own counselling or support for the effects alcoholism has played in your life
- Doing something for yourself rather than obsessing over the alcoholic's drinking