How to Help an Alcoholic: What Is the Best Way to Help an Alcoholic?

how to help an alcoholic

Each year in the United States, approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths. 

If you know someone struggling with alcohol use disorder, this can be a very scary statistic. But, throwing scary statistics in a struggling alcoholic’s face isn’t the best way to go about offering help. 

Are you trying to figure out how to help an alcoholic? If so, keep reading to learn more about the best way to help an alcoholic.

Provide Them Judgment-Free Support 

The first step of helping a loved one overcoming alcoholism is to offer them judgment-free support. 

What exactly does that mean? In simple terms, don’t make them feel ashamed of their addiction. Promise them that you’ll listen to their issues without offering unhelpful advice. 

Tell them that you’re a judgment-free friend. This means you’re available to listen to them at all times, regardless of whether they’re sober or not. In addition, you can offer rides or your presence whenever they request it — no questions asked.  

This makes you a safe space in the addict’s mind and is the start of a healthy support system. 

Arrange for Non-Alcoholic Fun 

For someone struggling with alcoholism, being social and having fun can seem like an impossible task.

Every bar, restaurant, and party is full of temptation just waiting to derail their recovery process. This may cause a recovering addict to avoid people and isolate themselves — which can easily lead to a relapse. 

Instead, support them on their journey by arranging for non-alcoholic fun.

Invite them to watch a movie at your local family theatre and go for ice cream afterward. Or, get active with a competitive putt-putt game or a day at the local pool. You can even host a non-alcoholic party or game night at your own house and invite a whole group of friends to join the fun. 

Soon, they’ll see that a fun life is possible without drinking. 

Offer to Help Them Seek Recovery

Lastly, you’ll want to offer to help them seek recovery. 

You want to make sure you’re not forcing alcohol addiction treatment on them. Instead, offer to help them find alcohol addiction counseling or research medications for alcohol abuse. Make sure that this is a friendly offer and tell them that you will help them whenever they are ready. 

Be careful about giving an ultimatum. Given the choice between your friendship or alcohol, an alcoholic will always choose their addiction. Don’t take it personally, but also don’t continue to enable them. 

Now You Know How to Help an Alcoholic 

Using these three tips, you now know how to help an alcoholic. 

Start by letting them know that you’ll provide judgment-free support when they need it. Then, arrange for non-alcoholic activities to keep them from being tempted. Finally, offer to help them seek recovery when they are ready. 

If you want to provide the best help possible, start to learn more about the addiction process. Visit the Health section of this site for helpful articles full of addiction advice. 

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