Most people know someone in their lives who has struggled with alcoholism. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that in 2021, 29.5 million people aged 12 or older suffered from alcoholism.
Watching someone you care about deal with this disease can be incredibly difficult. You might feel frustrated, scared, or even guilty about your loved one’s alcoholism.
When your loved one is struggling with alcoholism, it’s common to want to help them. But knowing how to help an alcoholic loved one can be difficult, especially when they are not seeking support for themselves.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to help your alcoholic loved one and convince them to go to rehab at the same time.
Educate Yourself on Addiction
The first thing you should do when your loved one struggles with alcoholism is to educate yourself on the disease. People who struggle with alcohol use disorder have a hard time controlling or stopping their drinking. This can be hard to understand, especially when you are watching them suffer as a result of their alcohol abuse.
According to the NIAAA, “Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” AUD is also referred to as a brain disorder, which means alcoholism affects the way your loved one’s brain functions.
Being aware of how alcoholism affects people can help you to better understand your loved one’s behavior and how you can help them recover.
Enforce Healthy Boundaries
The next step in helping your alcoholic loved one is enforcing healthy boundaries. Oftentimes, when you love someone with an addiction, you may unintentionally enable their behavior by allowing things to slide that you normally wouldn’t. While you might think of this as supporting them, it enables them to continue abusing alcohol without facing the consequences necessary for them to recognize that they have a problem.
Examples of healthy boundaries for an alcoholic loved one include:
- Not providing them with money
- Refusing to do things for them that they are capable of doing themselves
- Not allowing them into your home while they are abusing alcohol or drugs
- Refusing to pay for lawyers or bail them out of jail if they get in trouble
- Not allowing them to see the kids when they are under the influence
- Requiring them to seek treatment for their alcoholism to be in your life
When you set a boundary, you must stick to it. If you allow your alcoholic loved one to cross a boundary, they will not take them seriously in the future.
Seek Support for Yourself
You must seek support for yourself while you are helping an alcoholic loved one. Alcoholism is often described as a family disease because it affects the individual’s loved ones as well. Support groups like Al-Anon to help the families of loved ones recover.
When seeking support for yourself, consider trying the following:
- Support groups for the loved ones of alcoholics
- Individual therapy
- Group counseling
- Self-care techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga
If you are not healthy yourself, you will not be equipped to help your loved one. With that being said, if you cannot seek support for yourself, do it for the person who is suffering from alcoholism.
Stage an Intervention
One of the best ways to convince an alcoholic loved one to attend rehab is by staging an intervention. Interventions allow loved ones of an alcoholic to read impact statements to show the alcoholic how their disease has affected everyone around them. Interventions can be incredibly effective at convincing the alcoholic that they have a problem and need professional help.
When staging an intervention, it is best to seek help from a professional. Because these family meetings discuss sensitive topics, emotions can run high. Professional interventionists are trained to deal with high emotions, and confrontation, and know how to avoid explosive behaviors. Additionally, they can set up placement in an alcohol rehab center that begins at the end of the intervention to ensure that your loved one does not have a chance to change their mind.
Understand That Recovery is Not Linear
Lastly, you must understand that recovery from alcoholism is seldom linear. Oftentimes, people who are recovering from an addiction deal with highs and lows. People may have an extra hard time staying sober or even struggle with multiple relapses before they achieve lifelong sobriety.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the addiction relapse rate is between 40 to 60%. While it is possible to avoid relapse completely, you should never make your loved one feel bad for experiencing one. If they struggle with a relapse, all you can do is remain hopeful and try to convince them to seek further help.
Get Connected to a Top-Rated Alcoholism Rehab Center in California Today
If your loved one suffers from alcoholism, you are probably looking for the best possible alcohol rehab program you can find. While there are tons of options out there, it’s important to choose one that will provide them with an individualized treatment program that suits their specific needs.
At Arise Treatment Center, we pride ourselves on providing each patient with a highly individualized treatment plan to ensure that everyone’s needs and goals are met.
To learn more about our top-rated alcohol rehab program in Southern California, contact Arise Treatment Center today.