Proven 15 Ways to Help Your Alcoholic Family Member Get Recovery


It’s very challenging to have a family member struggle against alcohol use disorder. Also, it’s emotionally draining.

The good news is that there are ways to help them during alcohol use disorder treatment.

Let’s see these ways so that you can ensure your loved one is on the right and healthy path.

1: Educate

First, understand what alcohol use disorder precisely is. It’ll help you see things from your family member’s viewpoint. For this purpose, you can:

  • Go through books
  • Watch documentaries
  • Speak with a professional in addiction
  • Visit reliable websites like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

2: Be Compassionate!

When you talk about their alcoholism, do it when they’re sober and calm.

You can start by talking with care and concern. Don’t make any accusations.

Prefer using “I” statements to show your feelings and prevent blaming or shaming them. For instance, say, “I feel worried when I see you drinking because…”

3: Establish Communication

Let your addicted family member know that you’re always here to listen and support. Avoid giving lectures because nobody likes them.

This way, you can grow a foundation of trust—a crucial element for effective recovery.

When they talk, actively listen to them and be responsive with a positive note.

4: Appreciate Their Efforts

Once they seek help or make changes, be the first to be their cheerleader. It involves:

  • Help find an alcohol use disorder treatment programs
  • Accompany them to doctors and counseling sessions
  • Always be there to remind them of their schedules

These simple acts show that you care about them and their recovery process.

5: Discourage Enabling

There’s a difference subtle difference between supporting and enabling.

Enabling prevents one from experiencing the damages caused by their addiction. Enabling behaviors include

  • Calling in sick when hungover
  • Lending money to buy alcohol
  • Making excuses for their bad habits

Instead, let them face the natural outcomes of their addiction. However, be there to provide necessary support.

6: Set Boundaries

This step is crucial to make all the efforts effective. Define your limits about their behavior, particularly when they’re around alcohol use.

For instance, tell them you won’t bail them out of financial or legal problems due to drinking.

7: Encourage Healthy Habits

Help them engage in physical activities like walking, biking, yoga, painting, and gardening, among others. These activities reduce stress and promote good mood.

8: Be Patient!

Recovering from alcohol addiction is a time-consuming process, and there’s always a risk of relapse. Thus, practicing patience is essential here.

Show them that you realize how tough it is, and you will stand by their side, no matter what.

9: Go to Sessions with Them

Ensure that you tag along with them for their therapy sessions or visits to support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous.

It’s great to offer them moral support, which they badly need. When you go with them, it brings them a sense of peace and security. So they’ll stay highly motivated and work harder to get rid of this issue.

10: Help Them Avoid Triggers

A recovering alcoholic tends to indulge in drinking again. At such times, discourage them and ensure there are no triggering points around them.

11: No Alcohol at Home

Remove every drop of alcohol from your house. Make it absolutely free of alcoholic beverages. This will make a safe and supportive environment with no triggers.

12: Have Fun with Their Achievements

Recovery is challenging, so recognize and celebrate the successes along the way. You can celebrate milestones like a week or a month of sobriety.

Also, appreciate it when they attend therapy and go to AA meetings. Your appreciation will boost their morale and strengthen the positive impact.

13: Relapse

Be ready to deal with relapse. Why? Because relapse can occur without warning. And it does in many cases.

If and when it occurs, handle the situation with understanding as well as supportive behavior.

Identify why it happened and develop coping strategies.

14: Your Own Mental Health Also Matters!

Helping a recovering alcoholic is emotionally draining. So, you must ensure that your own mental health is not compromised.

At times, it can be very stressful and irritating. During such times, engage yourself in relaxing activities.

15: No Negative Speech

It goes without saying that words have great power. And during sensitive situations, your words can make or break.

So, when you talk to your affected family member, avoid using negative and discouraging words.

These steps help in setting a supportive environment for your loved one’s recovery from alcohol addiction.

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