How to Help an Alcoholic


It’s hard to watch a relative, friend or colleague struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). You may wonder if your loved one wants help and what you can do. Although everyone’s situation is different, there are a few guidelines on how to help an alcoholic.

Steps for How to Help an Alcoholic

When someone needs your help with alcohol abuse, you need to be able to recognize the signs. For example, your loved one might express concern about how much he or she drinks. The person might want to cut back but fail at each attempt. He or she could feel guilty about drinking or drink to relieve hangover or withdrawal symptoms.

Most of the time, though, people with AUD try to hide their alcohol consumption. They might lie about it or deny that they have a problem. Because of that, they’re less likely to seek treatment on their own. Fortunately, you can help by following these steps.

Practice What You Want to Say

Before you approach your loved one, know what you want to say. Going into the discussion without practice could lead you to say things that you don’t want to say. In general, let your loved one know that you care and will be a shoulder to lean on.

Rather than use negative, smug comments, prepare positive, supportive statements. You can be honest and compassionate at the same time. Also, try to be ready for a negative reaction, and roll with the resistance.

Choose a Good Time and Place

A critical part of how to help an alcoholic is to have this conversation the right way. For instance, you don’t want to talk about this issue in front of strangers. Make sure that each of you has the other’s attention and that the area is private and quiet. Also, your loved one needs to be sober for this discussion.

Hold an Intervention

Conducting an intervention takes planning and can include others who express concern about your loved one. During the process, you and they share feelings, present an alcohol addiction treatment center option and give consequences for not getting help.

Keep in mind, though, that you can’t force your loved one to go to rehab. He or she needs to want to recover and make that decision. Otherwise, they’ll likely go through the motions and relapse as soon as treatment ends.

Continue to Be Supportive

Helping someone with AUD doesn’t end with getting him or her treatment. During rehab, it’s important to continue offering support. If your loved one is open to you joining a family addiction treatment program, for instance, get involved. After treatment, you can avoid alcohol when you’re with him or her.

We Can Treat Alcohol Use Disorder

At Kemah Palms Recovery®, we can help your loved one live without drugs or alcohol. Our alcohol rehab Houston program includes a variety of recovery services, including:

Don’t wait any longer to have a heart-to-heart with your loved one. Follow the above steps to begin the conversation. Find out more about how to help an alcoholic by calling Kemah Palms Recovery® at 855-568-0218.