Roughly six percent of the population in the United States is believed to have an alcohol-use disorder. On top of that, it is believed that as many as 623,000 people between the ages of 12 and 17 suffer from the same issue. That is very disturbing, considering the legal drinking age in the country is 21. It seems that society has not done nearly enough to take care of its most vulnerable when it comes to people with alcohol abuse disorders.
Thus, it is long past time that we as a society started to do something to address these issues. On a personal level, it may seem like there is little that one can do to help someone who is in the midst of issues with alcohol, but that isn’t quite right. There are solutions that can help.
Recognizing the Problem
It is a common saying that “the first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one”. This is certainly true for alcoholics. Many people don’t even realize that they have a problem until things get really bad or out of control.
Even then, not everyone is willing or able to admit that they have started down a dark path. This is why it is important for loved ones of the individual who is suffering to step up and step in to help.
A few of the signs that are commonly seen among people who have a drinking problem include the following:
• Lying about or trying to cover up how much they are drinking
• Binge drinking regularly
• Using alcohol to self-medicate a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety
• Not taking care of responsibilities at home that should be attended to
All of these are potential warning signs that someone has a problem with consuming too much alcohol. Loved ones should be particularly mindful of these potential issues and keep an eye out for them developing in the life of the potential alcoholic.
Talking to Someone About Their Drinking
Speaking with someone about their drinking habits is not easy, and some people may be outright afraid to do it. They are often worried about how the person will respond and what kind of position this may put them in as far as their relationship goes.
Common fears about confronting a person’s drinking include:
• They may be addressing something that is not really a problem
• The person may lash out or act in anger
• They may destroy the relationship that they have with this person in some way
Any of these things may be reasonable to think about, but they are not valid reasons to avoid addressing the issue with someone struggling. As much as a person may want to avoid the discomfort that having a serious conversation about alcoholism may bring, they need to think about what the greater good is in these situations.
In reality, the best thing that a loved one can do for someone struggling is to ensure that they know that they are loved and cared for. Then, and only then, it is truly possible to say that the loved one did everything in their power to try to help the alcoholic.
Here are a few things that can make the situation more productive for all parties involved:
• Show Concerns in a Caring Way – There is a good chance that the alcoholic already feels a deep sense of guilt about their behaviors, and pressing on that guilt, even more, may have the opposite effect. Instead, loved ones should try to spend time letting them know how much they mean and how important it is that this person is happy and healthy.
• Speak with Them when They are Not Drinking – It is very challenging to have a conversation with someone when they are under the influence of alcohol that has done so much damage to their life already. Loved ones need to try to take some time when the alcoholic is not under the influence of alcohol (or anything else) and speak with them about the issue at that time.
• Think About Holding an Intervention – There is a time and place for holding an intervention, and it is important to consider working with the loved one to help them get the help that they need. Some people may want to make sure that everyone involved is prepared for the long road ahead that may come as a result of working with someone who is trying to combat an addiction to a substance.
The reality is that the journey to recovery is not always easy for the person struggling or their loved ones. However, the other outcome is simply unacceptable. One cannot risk having a loved one who is caught in the grip of a disease that is destroying their life and relationships all at the same time.
Promote a Healthier Solution
One of the things that alcoholics often report is that they feel isolated in their disease. They don’t know who to turn to or even who they can trust in some situations. It is a devastating place for them to be, and loved ones need to do everything in our power to ensure that this doesn’t happen to someone that they love and care about. It is best to let them know that you are there for them and support them.
At the same time, it is important to encourage them to seek help from a professional. There is only so much that an untrained individual can do, and it is safest to put things in the hands of someone who knows how to help those in need.
Once the loved one is able to see the professionals that they need to see, then the concerned party has done everything in their power to help promote the healthiest solution, and they can fairly say that they have made a decent effort at getting the alcoholic the help that they require.
We Are Here to Help
People who are struggling with alcohol use disorder will most likely need professional help to stop drinking. New Method Wellness is here to help those struggling find recovery. We work with all of our patients to develop individualized treatment plans. Our team of professionals promotes comprehensive recovery and stabilization.
At New Method Wellness, we work with those struggling and their families to learn healthy coping skills. It is our aim for all of our patients to learn to live happier and healthier lives. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help.