If you have concerns that someone you love is addicted to alcohol, it’s challenging to know if they do have a problem, how to approach them, what to say, and how to help.

Warning Signs

Some signs are easily recognizable, while others are more difficult to interpret. The severity of the abuse plays a role in how a person behaves.

Signs and symptoms of moderate alcohol abuse might be overlooked. However, don’t ignore the early warning signs.

Some of the signs of alcohol abuse are:

• Mood swings and irritability
• Isolation from family and friends
• Drinking alone or hiding drinking from others
• Changes in appearance
• Short-term memory loss or blackouts
• Making excuses for drinking
• Becoming irritable
• Slurred speech
• Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed

When someone is suffering from alcohol addiction, it doesn’t only have the potential to ruin their life. It also is an emotional drain on those who love them.

What can you do to help someone you love who exhibits some of the above behaviors? You can’t cure them, but you can discuss your concerns to help them see more clearly and seek the help they need.

Let Them Know How Much You Care

Most people who have alcohol addiction will deny there is anything wrong with them. They will often make excuses for why they drink, such as needing to take the edge off a rough day.

Many alcoholics know deep down that they have a problem but aren’t ready to face it. Let them know you love them and are in their corner.

Help them understand they aren’t alone by:

• Being rational, compassionate, and understanding
• Planning what you are going to say whether you speak to your loved one alone or as part of an intervention
• Educating yourself on the biological and social reasons for addiction. This will increase your ability to empathize with your loved one
• Have realistic expectations that your first encounter will likely not produce results and keep communication channels open

Do Not Encourage Their Drinking

Even if you have the best intentions, if you encourage, support, or cover up for a loved one’s drinking problem, it will backfire and add fuel to their addiction.

Enabling or protecting drinking behavior will only lead to sustained and increased addiction.

Don’t Bail Them Out

Alcoholism doesn’t just affect health, friends and family. It can often involve the law, as in the case of a DUI charge.

Sometimes life’s natural consequences can teach valuable lessons. If your loved one gets arrested for driving under the influence, don’t bail them out.

Allowing them to suffer the negative consequences of their behavior will help them to see how their drinking has caused them to hit rock bottom.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon them. One of the things you can do is to help them explore DUI penalty alternatives to the possibility of jail time.

A judge decides the ultimate punishment. Some of the factors they consider include:

• Whether it is a first-time offense
• If anyone was hurt in the accident
• The blood-alcohol level

You can help find an attorney who can work with you and your loved one to suggest possible alternatives to extended jail time.

One option your attorney may suggest is going to a residential rehabilitation program. Not only will this reduce or avoid jail time, your loved one can start receiving the help they need.

Don’t Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Like the above suggestion, taking responsibility for one’s own actions will teach a valuable life lesson.

Parents understand how difficult it can be at times to let their children experience the consequences of their own negative behavior.

It’s human instinct to want to protect those we love. However, in the long run, we are doing them a disservice.

Don’t Speak with Them While They are Under the Influence

It’s difficult to think clearly when drunk. Be sure to approach your loved one while they are sober. Your conversation will be difficult enough.

Don’t make it more difficult when they are more likely to misunderstand your motivations, be defensive, and less able to control their emotions.

Don’t Play the Blame Game

According to the American Society of Addictive Medicine, alcoholism is a substance abuse addiction.

It is a chronic disease that can lead to social, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical manifestations for those struggling with it.

People don’t choose to be alcoholics, and others can’t cause them to be. In other words, no one is to blame.

Placing blame will only lead to hurt feelings and mistrust and not to any positive course towards healing.

Explain How Their Drinking is Hurting Them and Your Relationship

Approach your loved one in a non-accusatory manner. Let them know that their addiction is not only hurting them, but it is also causing those who love them mental and emotional stress.

If communicated with love and compassion, understanding how their drinking problem is affecting those they love will help get you to the next step.

Dealing with a loved one who is an alcoholic is a trying and challenging time. It is a struggle for all those involved but for the alcoholic, it can be a long and slow recovery process.

Relapses may occur so be prepared to confront them if they do. Kindness, love, patience, and understanding will go a long way in helping your loved one overcome their alcohol addiction.

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Success Coach, Business Development Consultant, Strategist,Blogger, Traveller, Motivational Writer & Speaker