10 Ways to Help Someone Fight a Drinking Problem


Alcoholism is a disease that affects the entire family. The family’s finances, dynamic, physical and mental health, as well as the overall stability can be affected by the drinking habit of one person. The home environment can become unpredictable and tense. Family members can try to deny the behavior of the drinker and come up with excuses for it. However, the best approach is usually to try to control or even stop it.

Fighting a drinking problem or alcoholism is not easy. There are times when the drinker or their loved ones feel like it’s impossible to beat alcoholism. Perhaps, you’ve even heard people say that nobody can make an addict stop unless they are ready to stop. Well, this is true to some extent. However, there are ways via which loved ones can help an alcohol addict fight their drinking problem. Here are some of those ways.

1. Talk to them in a Non-Accusatory Manner

Start by talking in a non-accusatory manner to help a loved one stop drinking alcohol (AddictionResource provides more info). Alcohol problem is generally a touchy subject. But, though the conversation may feel uncomfortable for you and the drinker, it is necessary. Therefore, plan how you will confront them in advance. Focus on bringing attention to the drinking habit of the person and making them understand why you are concerned. If you succeed in doing that, you will be a step closer to helping them achieve sobriety.

2. Understand and Talk About the Underlying Issues

In most cases, there are underlying issues that lead people to excessive drinking and eventual addiction. Research has shown that alcohol dependence and mood disorders tend to co-occur. Some people that drink more often and become alcohol addicts start by drinking to self-medicate for depression and anxiety symptoms. Therefore, acknowledge the fact that there could be underlying issues that may have led to the drinking problem. However, don’t sound accusatory when talking about the issues especially if your loved one doesn’t know about the issues. Instead, ask the person whether they think their drinking could have underlying causes in a gentle manner. Proceed with their response in mind.

3. Explain Why You Are Concerned about their Drinking

Before you confront a person regarding their alcohol use problem, think about your reasons for being concerned. Denial is very common among people with alcohol use problem when confronted. Therefore, have reasons that you can use as examples to show that drinking is a problem they need to deal with. You are likely to be taken seriously by your loved one if you confront them without solid reasoning.

4. Offer Advice Instead of Ultimatums

It’s easy to issue ultimatums to a person with a drinking problem because you might not understand why they can’t control their habit. However, this is not a good approach. Though it might be obvious that the person should quit drinking, they will choose the other option. This will cause more frustration and stress or even hurt. To avoid this, give the person you want to help fight a drinking problem advice instead of ultimatums. Take time to conduct some research in advance. Find out more about programs that you can refer the person to for assistance.

5. Don’t Shame or Judge

A person with a drinking problem can feel ashamed or have low self-esteem about it. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects a person and their loved ones. But, if you’ve not battled addiction, don’t judge a person that is facing it. Since you might not understand the problem firsthand, you may hurt the alcoholic more when you judge or shame them. Therefore, show love and understanding instead of judging or shaming them.

6. Don’t Enable Drinking

You don’t want to be harsh on the person trying to fight a drinking problem but this doesn’t mean you enable their behavior. When a person is fighting a drinking problem, enabling them can mean having behaviors that allow them to continue using alcohol. Examples of such behaviors include bailing out a person with the problem from bad situations or making excuses for their habit. Though tough love is not easy to practice, it is beneficial for a person that wants to fight a drinking problem.

7. Provide Resources

Some people want to fight their drinking problem but they don’t know how to stop drinking. Recovery and sobriety can seem less daunting for such people if they know where and how to start. Therefore, conduct some research and direct your loved one accordingly. There are many online resources with information about alcohol addiction and recovery. Use them to help your loved one fight the problem.

8. Reach Out to Other People

Perhaps, you know a person that has stopped drinking successfully. In that case, it might help to talk to them about the drinking problem of your loved one. Such people can tell you how they approached the problem and how you can help your loved one. It’s however important to note that what worked for them will not necessary work for the person you want to help fight alcoholism. Nevertheless, the information they provide might help in some ways.

9. Avoid Drinking Around Them

It is counter-effective and inconsiderate to drink around the person you want to help fight a drinking problem. If you drink around them, you make them yearn for a drink. You even make them assume you were not genuinely or seriously concerned about their drinking. If you must drink, don’t do it in the presence of the person you want to help stop drinking alcohol.

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