How to Support a Family Member Dealing With Alcohol Addiction

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Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 85.6% of Americans 18 and older have drunk alcohol at some point in their lives. More than 14 million Americans have alcohol use disorder, and millions of others struggle with how much they drink.

But no one is alone with alcohol abuse. If your loved one is looking to recover from addiction, you can help them. The key is to figure out what exactly you need to do to be the most helpful.

How can you talk to your loved one about what they are experiencing? What resources can help your loved one make their recovery, and what are AA meetings like? How can you avoid feeling burned out or exhausted?

Answer these questions and your relative can make a complete recovery from alcohol abuse. Here is your quick guide.

Keep in Touch With Your Loved One

A common sign of alcohol addiction is isolation. Someone may separate themselves from their friends and relatives to drink alone. They may feel ashamed about their behavior, and they may not want to talk to anyone about what they’re doing.

Someone may continue to isolate themselves after they seek treatment. They may feel they’ve let their family down. It’s okay if someone needs a little alone time, but spending too much time alone can trigger a relapse, especially if a person stops seeking treatment.

You should initiate conversations with your relative during the recovery process. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything. Give them your phone number, email address, and mailing address so they know how to contact you.

You or they do not have to talk about alcohol abuse if you or they do not want to. Simple conversations about the weather or sports can keep a person’s mind engaged and away from alcohol. You can also do an activity with your loved one like cooking a meal or going out for a walk.

Attend AA Meetings With Them

AA meetings are opportunities for your loved one to discuss their experiences with alcohol. They can learn from other people, study educational materials, and go through the 12 Steps.

You are allowed to attend open meetings with your loved one, and you should consider doing so. It will show your support in a concrete way and let you learn more about alcohol abuse. It also lets you have conversations with your loved one about what they can do to improve their life.

Each group that runs meetings is autonomous. Each meeting can be different, so do your research with your loved one and see which ones work best for them. Some groups cater to specific demographics or people with backgrounds.

Closed meetings are only for people who have alcohol abuse disorder. You cannot attend these meetings unless you have alcohol abuse disorder as well.

If your loved one has addictions to multiple substances, they can attend NA meetings. They can get help for all of their substance use disorders simultaneously.

Create an Alcohol-Free Space

Many people who are early in their recovery process struggle to create an alcohol-free space for themselves. Their homes may be near liquor stores or bars where they used to drink. They may have roommates who drink and use drugs, which can trigger a relapse.

If you live with your relative, you should create a sober space for them to live. Remove all alcohol from your home. You can have a drink at a restaurant or bar, but do not drink in front of your loved one.

Store your prescription medications in a place you have access to and keep the labels on them so you know what their side effects are like. Your relative can be responsible for their medication, but you should keep an eye on them so they don’t abuse their medicine.

When your loved one goes out, you can walk with them or drive them so they don’t go near the places where they used to drink. You can also give them drinks like water so they don’t become thirsty.

If you don’t live with your relative, you can talk with them about moving into a sober living facility. Most facilities run AA meetings or have partnerships with rehab centers, so your loved one can continue to receive services.

Seek Support for Yourself

Helping your family member should not come at the expense of your mental and physical health. If you find your relationship stressful, you should speak to a psychiatrist or family therapist. You can go with your loved one, another important person in your life, or by yourself.

Al-Anon meetings are intended for family members of people who suffer from alcohol abuse. You can learn from other people how to cope with your relative’s disorder and get more information about drug abuse.

You should set boundaries for yourself and your loved one. It’s okay to give them rides to their AA meetings, but you should not be expected to pay for their rehab or therapy services.

Remain in touch with other people in your loved one’s life. They should create a support network so you are not entirely responsible for your loved one’s care. They should also give you support and switch out responsibilities with you so you are not overwhelmed.

Help Your Relative Recover From Alcohol Addiction

You can be part of the cure for alcohol addiction. Remain in contact with your loved one throughout their recovery journey and attend AA meetings with them. Feel free to do other activities to create structure in their life.

Keep their living space free of alcohol and keep them away from where they used to drink. If you find caring for your relative difficult, seek Al-Anon support and get help from others in your life.

Support is just around the corner. 12 Step Illinois offers a complete directory of AA meetings in Illinois. Look for great AA meetings today.

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