Is someone you love a problem drinker or a full-fledged alcoholic?

If so, you may be feeling a lot of mixed emotions. You are probably sad, worried about your friend or family member, perhaps a little angry and confused, and you likely want to find a way to help him or her.

Know, first and foremost, that you are never to blame for someone else’s alcoholism. Also know that you are not responsible for anyone else’s recovery. This isn’t to say, however, that there aren’t things you can do to help your alcoholic loved one through this difficult time and to encourage him or her to get the help that is so desperately needed. In fact, your support can be the linchpin in their recovery.

Is It Alcoholism?

Many families hesitate before seeking treatment for a loved one because they are unsure whether or not the problem is serious enough to warrant professional intervention and care. While some alcoholics are very good at hiding their drinking behaviors, you can usually spot the signs and symptoms of alcoholism if you watch closely.

Some issues that could indicate that someone you love has a drinking problem include:

  • Expressing guilt over drinking or behaviors that occur while under the influence
  • Lying about or minimizing drinking habits
  • Drinking in order to relax or unwind
  • Forgetting events that happened while drinking (e.g., blacking out)
  • Trouble at home, work or school due to drinking behaviors
  • Irresponsible behaviors, such as driving after drinking
  • Experiencing legal problems as a result of drinking and still continuing to drink
  • Experiencing relationship problems due to drinking and still continuing to drink
  • An inability to control drinking, including the amount of alcohol consumed and the frequency of alcohol use
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol (e.g., being able to drink more alcohol without feeling its effects)
  • Giving up activities or hobbies in favor of drinking
  • Expressing a desire to stop drinking but being unable to do so

Helping an Alcoholic Loved One

If you feel that your loved one has a drinking problem, a confrontation or formal intervention may be in order. Don’t be surprised if the person becomes angry or completely denies having an alcohol problem; this is a normal response from an addict. Express your love and concern for the individual and ask him or her to get help. Ideally, you should already have a good rehabilitation program lined up in case the alcoholic does agree to get treatment. Look for a qualified program that has proven success with treating alcoholism.

Other Tips

Dealing with and helping an alcoholic family member can be difficult. However, there are a few things you can do to make the process go more smoothly and increase their chances of a successful recovery.

  • Confront the problem with the help and support of others who are concerned about the person’s drinking behaviors.
  • Do not confront the alcoholic when he or she has been drinking. Wait for the person to be sober.
  • Calmly and clearly explain the negative effects of alcohol use you have seen in the person’s life.
  • Do not believe that the person can or will stop drinking on his or her own. Treatment is required for medical disorders like alcoholism.
  • Give the alcoholic consequences as to what will happen if he or she continues to drink.

Enrolling your loved one in an alcohol rehab problem that has the resources to offer uniquely personalized care and treatment is also essential to recovery. Contact us at Black Bear Lodge today to learn more about your options in alcohol addiction treatment.