Supporting loved ones: how to help someone struggling with alcohol and mental health - The Stratford Observer

Supporting loved ones: how to help someone struggling with alcohol and mental health

Stratford Editorial 13th Jul, 2023   0

Alcoholism is not just a personal issue but a problem for the entire family. It is hard to see someone you love suffering, and the worst part is that you might not be able do anything about it despite knowing about the deadly repercussions.

There are times when we confront the ones we love, but it doesn’t have any effect. The reason for that is our lack of understanding of the problem an alcoholic is facing and how to address it. Therefore, despite our best intentions, we start calling out their flaws and unintentionally force them to disconnect, which can be a huge mistake.

There are many things loved ones do intentionally or unintentionally that can worsen the problem, which is why it is crucial to learn how to help someone struggling with alcoholism and degrading their mental health support.

8 Tips to Help Someone You Love Struggling with Alcoholism

If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction, there are several ways you can offer support and help. Here are some suggestions:

1. Enhance your knowledge of alcoholism to connect with alcoholics in a better way

Many people just start lecturing alcohol addicts without realizing the depth of the problem. Therefore, their words fall on deaf ears most of the time, rendering their efforts completely useless. Therefore, one should learn about alcohol addiction, its effects, and available treatment options. Understanding the challenges and complexities of addiction can help you provide informed support.

2. Nothing beats empathy and concern

Approach the person with empathy and express your concerns about their well-being. Start your alcohol advice by letting them know that you care about their health and are there to support them without judgment. Once you find a way to connect, it becomes easier to guide an alcoholic back to a quality life devoid of alcohol.

3. Learn how to talk in a non-confrontational manner

A lot of times, efforts to redeem an alcoholic turn into mindless altercations that lead nowhere. Therefore, you should create a safe and non-confrontational environment where the person feels comfortable discussing their struggles with alcohol. Listen actively, validate their feelings, and be understanding.

4. Offer help on specific issues instead of taking a moral high ground and delivering a lecture

It is easy for a non-alcoholic to perceive an alcoholic as a person with the issue and start delivering lectures. It can be very patronizing and condescending, but most importantly – a complete waste of time. Such an approach can be counterproductive and might alienate you from your loved ones completely. Therefore, you should focus on providing meaningful help with alcohol. For instance, offer information about available resources, such as treatment centres, support groups, or therapists specializing in addiction. You can also offer to assist in finding appropriate treatment options or accompanying them to appointments if they’re willing.

5. Do not say things that provide an excuse for alcoholics to continue their addiction

Be mindful not to enable their addiction by covering up or making excuses for their behaviour. It is always better to encourage accountability and promote healthy choices by not participating in or facilitating situations that involve alcohol. Ask them to question themselves in a constructive way or relive anecdotes of past recovery of people you know instead of saying what they did was ‘right’ considering the situation they were in.

6. Always show patience and support no matter what happens during recovery

Recovery is a challenging and ongoing process. Offer your support and encourage their efforts to seek help or make positive changes. Understand that setbacks can happen, and it’s essential to maintain a non-judgmental stance.

7. Suggest healthy alternatives that actually work

Suggest engaging in activities or hobbies that promote a sober lifestyle. This can include exercise, pursuing creative outlets, joining recreational clubs or groups, or finding new interests to fill the void left by alcohol.

8. Encourage professional help

If your personal help does not seem to be working, suggest professional help from addiction specialists, counsellors, or therapists. Treatment options may include therapy, counselling, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or medically-assisted treatments.

Final Thoughts

Living a life along with a loved one who is an alcoholic is nightmarish. Especially if you are immediate family, you will have to bear the brunt of the struggles alongside the alcohol addict if you do not remedy the situation in time.

The first step to helping a struggling alcoholic is by widening one’s knowledge of the problem so that it becomes possible to offer the right alcohol advice. In case you are unable to convince the alcoholic to stop drinking, you can visit a private rehab in the UK with a proven track record and experienced staff.


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