Having a loved one for family member struggling with an addiction can be very difficult. You don’t know how to help them and it can be devastating and frustrating. There are a few ways that you can try use to help them, but you have to understand that they have to make that decision to quit their addiction and you cannot do it for them.
First, you will not be able to change their behaviour. Manipulating or threatening an alcoholic is not going to work. The importance here is that you change your behaviour – how you interact and with an alcoholic. By doing this, you are putting yourself in control. Show your support for them as best you can and let them understand that you will support them if they choose to quit drinking. You cannot directly convince an alcoholic to quit drinking, but you can influence their behaviour and decisions, without threats, manipulations and intimidation.
You cannot force an alcoholic to go for treatment. A recovering alcoholic will tell you that they reach a point where they are ready to seek help. If they have not yet reached this point, they are not ready for treatment and there is nothing you can do about it. They will ask for help when they are ready, and it will be on their terms and not yours. This is when you offer to take them to treatment and then they will more than likely cooperate.
It is important to let an alcoholic know that you care and have shown them that help is available. An intervention may work in some cases and in others not. It is not a switch that can be forced on and off in an alcoholic, but it can be a way of guiding an alcoholic towards recovery. You need to understand what the goal of the intervention is and make sure that your expectations are not set very high, and that you continue to show support the whole time.
It is also important that you do not deny an alcoholic the consequences of their drinking and their behaviour. They should take responsibility for their behaviour so that they can learn from it. It is also vital to be able to separate the person from their disease. Their behaviour is not necessarily who they are as a person but it is just a representation of their disease.
It is difficult to stand by and what someone fighting a disease like alcoholism, but it is important to understand how to deal with it. Ask a counsellor or someone at a treatment centre to guide you in the most appropriate way of helping an alcoholic deal with their disease.