Families can support their alcoholic loved ones

By Staff Writer • Published: May 9th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Alcoholism is a disease. And American families are reeling from the sickness.

One in five families deal with alcohol abuse. It can be a scary time, but there are steps family members can take to support a loved one suffering from alcoholism.

The first thing families should realize is that an alcoholic is not going to recover without professional help. It’s also important to remember that no one can be forced into recovery.

Families should tell their loved ones they’ll support them if they seek counseling, but should not try to force the issue.

A family member can help their loved one by researching alcohol recovery programs. This way, when the alcoholic decides to seek counseling, there will be someone ready to give them guidance.

In the meantime, experts have several pieces of advice for those who are dealing with an alcoholic family member.

First, experts say family members should not feel guilty about the alcoholic individual’s behavior. Do not cover up for an alcoholic or assume any of his or her responsibilities.

Don’t join in while they are drinking, and never attempt to argue with them, while they are under the influence. It could be dangerous.

Remember, a dramatic confrontation won’t stop an alcoholic’s bad behavior. In fact, it might make them drink more. The best thing family members can do is show love and support to the alcoholic.

Once he or she decides to start recovery, family members can help by attending recovery meetings with them. They can also help their loved one avoid temptation by not drinking around them.

Finally, family members may want to seek counseling for themselves. Groups like Al-Anon specialize in counseling for family members of alcoholics.

Through love and understanding, alcoholics and their families can walk the path of recovery together.