Alcoholism is a family disease. It doesn’t just affect the person with the Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The family’s dynamic mental and physical health, finances, and general stability are affected...
The home environment is often tense and unpredictable. Family members may try to deny the drinker’s behavior, find excuses for it, or try to control or stop it. These are all common reactions to domestic life that feels out of control.
What can i do to make them stop?
If your loved one has an alcohol use disorder, it is natural to wonder how they can tell they need help. If you are asking this question, it is likely that your loved one has gotten to the point where they continue to drink despite obvious problems caused by their drinking.
Personal, social, and even legal issues that would lead most people to conclude that their alcohol use should be reduced or eliminated typically do not affect people with an alcohol use disorder in the same way.
It is important to understand that this is not a weakness – rather the drinker is psychologically and physiologically addicted to alcohol and needs professional help...
The challenge with this is that many people with alcohol use disorder deny that there is a problem. Regardless of how obvious the problem may seem to others, the alcoholic may loudly deny that drinking is the cause of their problem and instead blame the circumstances or those around them...
When people ask how they can help the drinker in their life, the answer they usually get is, “Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done by anyone until the person with an alcohol use disorder admits they have a problem.”
While it is true that your loved one is actively seeking sobriety and wanting to change, there is no need to sit back and watch them self-destruct in hope and prayer that a lightbulb will go out in their head. There are several ways you can step in, show your concern and support for your loved ones, and protect yourself from getting too involved in their addiction.
Learn more about AUD
The first step for family members and loved ones of a problem drinker is to learn about AUD..This will help you understand the behavior of your loved ones and it will help you stop blaming them.
While a person with an alcohol use disorder must take responsibility for their actions in order to recover, alcoholism is a chronic illness, has defined symptoms, and is often triggered by genes and living conditions. Most of all, being informed can help you realize that your loved one is sick and suffering and is not trying to hurt you.
As a family member, you can attend Al-Anon meetings or join an online group to learn more about the disease of alcoholism and the emotional and psychological burden it places on you. In Al-Anon you learn to detach yourself from the person Problems– not necessarily to be solved by the person. You will likely hear your own story in the stories of those who share with the group, which creates a sense of solidarity and support.
You will also learn about the unhealthy roles you may be playing in the life of someone with an alcohol use disorder and whether your actions actually allow them to continue their behavior without you noticing.
Confront the person in a non-accusatory manner
This is a difficult conversation. Plan ahead what you are going to say. Wait until your loved one is sober and relatively emotionally stable. Make sure that you are also feeling calm as it is important that your loved one does not feel attacked..Avoid accusatory language like, “You’d better get help or otherwise.”
During this initial discussion, it is important to show how much you care about your loved one. Be honest and honest about your concerns, including the effects of drinking on health and the family as a whole. You can mention a specific problem that arises from drinking, such as financial or relationship problems.
Let your family member know that you want to help them stop. Offer to help them find a treatment program such as a 12-step program or rehab facility, and possibly do some of their home duties while they take time out to relax.
Expect a pushback. The person can be in denial. If not, they may suggest that they can stop on their own. That rarely works. However, you may be discussing a time frame and when you can expect behavior to change...
Consider the CRAFT method
If that first attempt isn’t effective, which is often not the case – even if your loved one is advocating change, it may take several rounds of treatment to really stop – the next step you may take is intervention...
Instead of traditional confrontational intervention as portrayed in films, many addiction professionals now recommend community strengthening and family training (CRAFT) as the preferred way to get help for a loved one. In fact, studies show that CRAFT interventions have between 64% and 74% success rates when it comes to bringing a loved one with a substance use disorder into treatment...
CRAFT provides those affected with tools to:..
- Identify triggers for substance use
- Break patterns that allow drinking or using
- Develop and improve communication skills
- Practice self-care and reconnect with their values
- Identify triggers for violence
- Develop a plan to protect yourself (and your children)
Avoid code dependency
After all these measures, remember that you cannot force your loved one to seek treatment. You have to make this decision yourself. All you can do is come up with options, offer support, and follow the consequences you presented..The only person you control in this life is you.
It is common to overly focus on the drinker’s actions and behavior, and to become obsessively concerned about what is taking the focus off of your own life. This is defined as codependency and is devastating to your own mental and emotional health. A central tenet of Al-Anon is to stop trying to change your loved one and get the focus back on yourself, the only one you can really change.
A word from Verywell
Even if your loved one steps into treatment and recovery, there will likely be a lot of bumps along the way. Without alcohol as a coping mechanism, deeper problems emerge and require treatment.
Your loved one needs to keep practicing sobriety, and the changes they are going through will affect you in big and small ways. It is helpful to keep attending Al-Anon meetings, learning to distinguish between your problems and those of your loved ones, and to only take responsibility for your own. And don’t forget to take care of yourself – including your physical and mental health.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency’s National Helpline (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-4357 Information about support and treatment facilities in your area.
Additional mental health resources can be found in our National Helpline Database.