It’s an awful truth that alcoholism can devastate lives and families. If someone you love is addicted to alcohol, the effects and consequences spread far wider than the individual. Alcoholics can be highly secretive in covering up the true extent of their addiction. Relationships are put at risk as honesty and trust break down, and erratic, antagonistic and aggressive behaviour can be commonplace.
Living with a loved one’s alcoholism is incredibly tough. It’s only normal to feel isolated and helpless – and it can be very difficult to know what to do for the best. You might feel that the person you love isn’t really there anymore, that you’ve lost them to alcohol. But there are things you can do to help you regain some control and take care of both your loved one and yourself.
Taking the first step
It’s not easy admitting to yourself that a loved one is addicted to alcohol. Give yourself some credit for making the realisation and recognize how powerful that knowledge is. Supporting your loved one in giving up drinking and going through alcohol detox is the next natural step. This can be extremely challenging – denial of a problem is common for people living with all kinds of addiction. If you can, speak to your loved one when they are not drinking. Be open and honest, but bear in mind that getting sober is often much harder than it sounds.
It’s certainly worthwhile looking at rehab options before you talk to your loved one. You don’t need to be alone – there are high-quality recovery centres throughout the UK including London. Often, the experience and impartiality of a professional rehabilitation team can help an alcoholic begin their journey to recovery in a way that often eludes a friend or family member.
Support when you need it most
Don’t be disheartened if your loved one won’t listen or consider the idea of giving up drinking. Some rehabilitation centres, including Step One Recovery, provide intervention to help ease admission into rehab. This support is particularly important if you feel that your loved one is a danger to themselves or other people.
Our therapists can arrange an intervention over the phone, or we can meet in person to talk through the situation with your loved one and family members. Sometimes, the realisation that they don’t have to cope alone anymore is enough for a loved one to agree to admission.