Helping Someone With Alcohol Addiction
It’s hard to watch a sibling, parent, spouse, or friend struggle with alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, in Colorado, per capita alcohol consumption is just under three gallons per year; that’s enough to make our state one of the country’s ten “booziest” states. In light of this, it’s not surprising that the number of alcohol-related deaths in Colorado rose 57% from 2005 to 2017. It means that it’s likely you have a loved one who suffers from alcohol addiction. A problem that could very well end up adding their name to the list of drunk driving statistics compiled by CDOT every year. And, likely, you don’t know how to help. Fortunately, there are resources and suggestions available that can help get you started.
Understand That Alcoholism Is Both Psychological and Physical Dependence
Alcohol addiction is a coping mechanism. It’s a social habit. It’s a crutch that alcoholics lean into to ease pain and avoid suffering. Early on, the body and mind become dependent on the next drink to soothe a wounded soul. Over time, the cause of the pain and reason for drinking becomes unimportant; the body and mind crave the alcohol, and the addiction sets in.
Reach Out for Help
Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, SAMHSA, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have resources you can use to understand your loved one’s addiction better. They can also help you understand how your loved one is thinking and how alcohol is affecting their thought process, physical health, and behaviors.
Gather a Team
Make sure you have a supportive team that can keep you anchored as you extend a helping hand. If talking with the person individually and in private does not resolve the problem, do not hesitate to hold an intervention. It is not harsh; it is the ultimate display of love and concern. And, it is far better than visiting them in jail or mourning them in a cemetery.
During the intervention, have those present voice their concerns using non-judgmental language. Be sure to thoroughly explain your concerns and provide solutions, including treatment options, programs, and other support you can provide. The more people that help, the greater the likelihood of keeping a loved one out of danger.
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