Supporting a loved one through alcoholism

Supporting a loved one through alcoholism-2

Table of Contents

It’s complicated to help a friend or family member through a difficult time, and it is emotionally taxing to support an addict in recovery.


Understanding Alcohol Addiction: Foundational Information

There are certain items you must have on hand before you begin supporting your loved ones during therapy. The very first step towards it is understanding the basics of alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorder. This basic understanding will help you to move forward in supporting the individual with addiction. It is also essential to make pregnant ladies understand what the Fetal Alcohol spectrum is and the associated disorders.


Basic Knowledge about the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are various indications displayed by an individual with addiction at different stages. The signs of alcohol dependence due to heavy alcohol use, displayed during the initial stages, may change subsequently. You should understand when an addicted individual displays particular signs of their various stages of addiction.


The individual may start by ignoring his responsibilities towards society and the family. The individual may show his desire for alcohol and his favoritism towards the alcohol-consuming community. In later stages, the tolerance to alcohol will increase, which will result in increased consumption of alcohol.


Though the individual may try to break free from the claws of alcoholism by showing the withdrawal symptoms but is pulled back in t the cycle of addiction, This basic understanding with the ability to identify various signs and symptoms can help the supporting individual to take necessary steps at the right time during the treatment.


Impacts of Alcohol Use Disorder on Relationships

The supporting individual should be aware of the various impacts of alcohol consumption on the health condition of the addicted individual. The impact starts with reduced communication between the addicted individual and family members or friends.


Since the individual’s concentration has now deviated towards alcohol, the individual will make maximum effort to drink, ignoring all other issues. With reduced communication, family members or friends are now unaware of what the individual is going through and start slowly ignoring him. This will reach its peak when there is no communication at all.


In any relationship, the foundation that strengthens is the trust between individuals. Once the trust is broken, recovering to its old good state is not easy. The individual may tend to break this trust when under the influence of alcohol. The individual, even without knowing, breaks the foundation of the relationship by drinking alcohol. Over some time, this repeated action of trust-breaking will result in a brokenhearted relationship.


Under the influence, an individual may resort to domestic violence towards his family or friends. Excessive alcohol use will make the individual the importance of relationships and the respect to be displayed towards them. Substance abuse and binge drinking have now made the individual a slave of alcohol due to the various chemical reactions which has happened in the brain.


During the alcohol withdrawal state of the cycle, though the addicted individual tends to break away from the cycle, the individual may not be able to achieve it. This will result in the individual becoming isolated from society, friends, and family members due to the feeling of guilt.

Supporting a loved one through alcoholism-1

Compassion towards Individuals Undergoing Treatment for Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder

The supporting individual should be able to display empathy towards the addicted individual. Clear support for helping the individual recover should be communicated, which can give the addicted individual a sense of positivity.


Do Not Judge: Listen to the People with Alcohol Use Disorder

It is important to listen to what the individual says about the condition. The individual may explain how the alcohol and drug usage was stated, the pattern of alcohol use, and what efforts were made to stop or control alcohol use. Various situations that lead to dependence on alcohol and the complications of alcohol can be best explained by an addicted individual. The individual may also explain how the individual was able to seek help for alcohol addiction from problematic alcohol use.


Listening to the individual and paying proper attention can help him extract many details regarding his condition and the mental strains he is suffering. The professional can then design a better treatment plan for a smart recovery based on these details.


Show Love and Support While Under Treatment for Alcohol Dependence

While showing empathy, it is also important to display the love and affection of the individual addicted to alcohol. The love and care extended to the individual create a confident belief that he can recover from the strong claws of alcoholism and stop drinking. The problems associated with drinking too much alcohol can be easily conveyed to an individual once the individual gets a feeling of love and care from his family and friends.


Define the Boundaries

While providing love and care to the addicted individual, it is important to establish a boundary. This is the boundary until you can extend the care to the individual. This will also help you maintain a safe distance from the addicted individual. It should be done on a healthy and clear agenda when setting the boundary. The supporting individual should be able to support the addicted person even if the behaviors cross the boundaries at times.


Encourage the Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Someone with an alcohol addiction should be encouraged to take the treatment even if the individual ignores it. It is important during his journey towards sobriety for a fast recovery. The individual should be educated regarding the risk of alcohol use disorder and the various impacts caused by alcohol on the individual. Proper education on what constitutes alcohol content and how to tackle the problems with alcohol consumption that happened is to be explained to the individual.


Educate on the Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol misuse can result in multiple issues for the addicted individual. It is important to make the individual understand the effects due to alcohol intoxication. The individual should understand various chemical reactions that happen in the brain due to increased blood alcohol levels.


Inspire Them for a Life Free from Alcoholism

Various real-life examples of successful recovery from the claws of alcoholism can be explained to the individual. Their current lifestyle of bringing joy to their family and friends will inspire the individual to break free and lead a good life. Seeking professional help in counseling can help the individual understand the importance of a sober life.


Achieving the Milestones

It is a long journey from the addicted state to a life free of alcohol. Every successful step should be celebrated, creating a positive impact on the addicted individual. Every milestone celebration will give the addicted individual the courage to move ahead in the treatment path and successfully reach the podium of an alcohol-free life.


Celebrate each Achievement during Alcohol Treatment
  • A simple acknowledgment from family members and friends for the successful completion of each step can be a morale booster to the addicted individual.
  • A reward system may be set up in concurrence with the professional for reaching the milestones of his treatment.
  • Celebrations made with the community can create a sense of support from many people for the journey towards a sober life.
  • The celebrations may be small, but the impact on the individual will be much higher.


Emotional support can be provided by showing love and care toward the addicted individual. Empathy can boost the individual's confidence in continuing treatment.

The signs include aggression, increased tolerance to alcohol, and evading responsibilities. Displaying a very high desire to consume alcohol and mood changes are also symptoms of addiction.

Consumption of alcohol may cause a decreased ability to judge things. This will result in an improper understanding of behavior and response towards it. In addition, the increased blood alcohol concentration causes chemical reactions in your brain, which will result in changing priorities and breaking relationships.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

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