Studies show around 42 percent of American men and about 19 percent of American women have struggled with alcohol abuse or alcoholism at some point in their lives. These people often feel isolated or unloved, so your support can make all the difference in their recovery. However, starting a conversation about problem drinking can be challenging. Read on to discover four great ways to talk to your loved one about alcoholism.
When relationships are difficult, communication between both parties can suffer. However, conversations punctuated by threats, blaming, shouting, and negativity can actually drive addicts towards the bottle.
It’s important to learn ways to communicate effectively, without letting your frustration and disappointment in your loved one get in the way. Self-help books and counselors can provide tools for more effective communication.
Offer Support Without Enabling
There can be a fine line between supporting and enabling your loved one. When you support your loved one, you do things he cannot do for himself. Listening to his struggle with alcohol abuse and about his plans for recovery are good supportive behaviors.
When you enable your loved one, you do things that he can and should do for himself. Enabling behaviour sees addicts escaping the consequences of their actions and failing to learn from them. If you’ve ever called in sick for your hung-over loved one, made excuses for his drunken behavior, paid his bills because he’s spent his money on alcohol, or spent a boozy night out with your loved one, you’ve enabled his drinking. The good news is, it’s never too late for an addict’s enabler to become a supporter.
Encourage Your Loved One to Seek Help for Their Alcoholism
While you can support your loved one in their time of need, it’s important to remember that you don’t have the skills to treat their addiction. Rather than attempting to fix the problem yourself, you should encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Doing your research about local treatment options can help your loved one follow through. Doctors, therapists, support groups, and alcohol detox facilities are all good starting points.
Become Part of an Intervention
If talking one-on-one fails, an intervention may be a better option. This involves a collection of concerned family members and friends gathering to speak to your shared loved one about the addiction. Interventions are most successful when they’re led by a trained professional. An intervention conducted the wrong way can further distance an alcoholic from his loved ones. However, an informal poll from the National Association of Independent Interventionists Conference found that 90 percent of addicts entered a treatment facility following a professionally facilitated intervention.
Some interventions see participants reading prepared letters or sharing their feelings about the difficulties they’ve faced because of their loved one’s alcohol abuse. Sometimes participants will implore their loved one to enter a treatment facility or counseling. It can be confronting for an addict to hear these honest words from his loved ones, so carefully consider how you will respond to potential hostility or denial.
It can be daunting to raise the subject of alcoholism to your loved one, but opening up about the issue is one of the best ways to start the healing process.