If you have recognised the signs of alcohol dependency in another person, you may be wondering how you can help them. This may appear an extremely difficult task, especially if the person with the problem is not accepting they need any help.
If the person is an alcoholic, they are going to need support and assistance to in order to regain control of their life.
This will require time, patience and knowledge and may require the help of an expert.
The first step to helping a person dependent on alcohol
The first stage of helping someone is to reach out to them. This is going to involve talking to them, but this needn’t be confrontational. A direct approach is usually best, as alcoholics are generally very good at hiding the problem.
Don’t judge them or accuse them as this may serve for them to distant themselves from you. Ensure they know you care and that you are concerned, and you have their best interests at heart.
Keep it simple
It’s best to avoid arguing about the subject or presenting moral judgement. Instead, stick to facts. Facts about their habit, possibly how much they are drinking if you know, any consequences it has had, for example missing family events, letting someone down.
Tell them how you feel when these things happen. That you are worried for their health and safety, as well as your own wellbeing around them. If you have children, explain how it’s affecting them.
It’s an illness, not a choice
It’s important to remember at this time, the dependency is more to do with an illness rather than bad choices. Expressing this to the person can help. Don’t blame them or tell them they are weak.
The chances are they are struggling and given the chance this isn’t how they would choose to live. Remember they may feel lost and unsure, or they may just be in denial. It’s not personal against you, they are just at a difficult point in their life and coming to terms with that may take time.
Present a choice to overcome the problem
It can be useful to present the person with a choice to encourage them to seek help to break their habit.
It’s very important that you do this right. Don’t make threats or give ultimatums as such, but present clear choices. For example, an employer might offer someone the chance of seeking treatment in exchange for remaining in their job.