One of the most painful experiences in life is watching a friend or family member with an alcohol problem. It's not easy to stand by and see someone you love destroy their health, relationships, and career.
It's also not easy to approach someone you care about and tell them that they need help. This delicate situation is something that can't be rushed into. Your family member is very likely to get angry and defensive, ignore you, or even deny that they have a problem.
It's a good idea to think things through before approaching your family member. Do a little research about alcoholism, ask other family members for support, and deal with the complex emotions you're likely going through yourself.
The following is a short guide on how to deal with an alcoholic member.
How to recognize that your loved one has a problem.
There are some signs to look for in the behavior and habits of your family member to determine if they have an alcohol problem and how serious it may have become. Before taking action, familiarize yourself with the common signs of alcoholism.
If you notice problems developing with your loved one's career responsibilities, finances, relationships, physical and mental health, or general behavior, it's very likely that they have a problem. If these problems have been building up over a period of time and alcohol is still being abused, your family member needs outside intervention.
How to get help and support.
Once you recognize that the family member has a problem, it's time to ask others for support. Staging a successful intervention can't be done alone.
Find a friend or family member that you trust and share your thoughts and observations with them. They may have the concerns as you do.
Decide what the best approach for getting your family member help is going to be. Depending on the situation, you may need to get in contact with an outside source like a counselor, doctor, or other addiction specialist.
They can take the process a step further by identifying your family member's problem and determining what the best course of action should be.
Talking with your family member about their problem.
When it finally comes time to approach the family member about alcoholism, you may be wondering how to bring it up, when you should do, and where along with a million other thoughts going through your mind. To get started, be sure to bring the subject up when the person isn't drunk or under the influence of any drug.
This makes it easier for them to respond calmly and rationally. Set aside enough time to discuss everything that's concerning you and to listen to what the other person has to say.
Be sure to have the discussion in a place where you won't get distracted or interrupted. Also be sure to emphasize that you're confronting them out of the love and concern you have for them.
Be aware of the tone you use and allow the person to speak for themselves so that they don't feel like they're being attacked. It's also important to know that confronting your family member is only the first of many steps that need to be taken toward getting them help.
How to get a family member into treatment.
Once you have the discussed the problem and expressed your concerns with the family member and they've agreed that they need help, it's time to decide what kind of treatment would be best for them. You can also help your family member with this. There are several options for alcoholism treatment out there, including inpatient treatment, detox, outpatient support, and 12 step groups.