How to Help Someone Who Is an Alcoholic
How to make someone stop drinking alcohol
While you cannot forcibly make someone quit drinking, you can play an influential role in their transition away from booze and toward sobriety. You will do so by confronting the individual you are concerned about, speaking to them in a respectful, loving manner and offering your support in whichever way they decide to get help.
Below are the steps you can take when speaking to your loved one about admitting a problem with alcohol and moving forward from it.
How to get an alcoholic to stop drinking
Look out for the signs
Before you jump into any serious conversation, observe your loved or friend to make sure you see the signs of a drinking problem. If you haven’t yet considered the idea of drinking being a problem, you might also want to take a step away from your relationship and observe as a non-related third party.
Some of the most commons signs of alcoholism include:
- Craving alcohol upon waking up
- Blacking out frequently
- Legal problems because of drinking escapades
- Showing up late to work or functions due to drinking or hangovers
- Harm to self, others or relationships because of drinking
Rehearse the dialogue
Before going into a confrontation conversation, plan out what you will say. Think of the key points you want to address: behavior you have observed (e.g. driving drunk), how its made you feel (worried, threatened), what you would like to see change (no more drinking before driving), and how you can help. Practice confronting with a friend or even to yourself and try to keep the conversation loving, supportive, and as non-accusatory as possible.
Find the right time to talk
Speaking to a loved one or friend when they are drunk or hungover is not going to get you very far, so look carefully for an optimal time to speak. Maybe you can plan for a midweek day after work before they get home to make a cocktail. When you speak to the person, try to keep the conversation in the light of how it affects you and your days. The person will likely be defensive, and coming off as judgmental will not help.
View the situation from their perspective
Can you put yourself in this person’s shoes long enough to understand one or some of the factors that might be driving them to drink? Maybe you can offer solutions to problems such as stress, social anxiety or lack of self-confidence.
Offer support instead of forcing the person into rehab
An alcoholic is not going to take steps to recovery until he or she recognizes the problem and wants to change it. That said, you will not likely succeed at forcing someone to quit drinking. Instead, help them see how life could be better without alcohol, point toward next steps and assure them of your support.
Support their decision
If your loved one has a drinking problem, don’t drink with them! Don’t even drink around them. At the start, being supportive includes not drinking with or around this individual to help make it easier for them not to want to indulge, either.
If possible, encourage your loved one to work with a professional, whether it is a service such as Alcoholics Anonymous or seeing a counselor to provide additional support in quitting drinking.
Put your health first
Helping an alcoholic recover will be emotionally, mentally, energetically and financially taxing. Always put yourself first, and be overly cautious with your health habits during this trying time.
To learn more about how to help someone who is alcoholic, reach out to our support team at United Recovery Project.